Musician Profile: Stevie is God!

Steve Winwood performing live with Eric Clapton


A possible clue to what makes a guitarist or a band great can be found by looking at the career of Eric Clapton and some of the musicians who have played with him.
Clapton is God, was written in graffiti on walls for a time in the mid to late 1960s in England, and he has always been looked at as a great guitarist. When I hear his music I hear the whole of the experience, and know that he has constantly surrounded himself with other great musicians. By far my favorite artist who has been associated with Eric Clapton is Steve Winwood. Winwood was already well known and also considered a great musician from a very young age, having first preformed music live on stage at the age of eight.


The Spencer David Band, Traffic, and Blind Faith are some of his most accomplished bands. Anyone who knows about 60s and 70s rock will know these bands and the massive amount of influence they have had on music in decades since. What is less known is that Winwood himself is a great guitarist and can hold his own with some of the greatest axmen of all time, including Clapton.
One of the greatest concert experiences of my life was to see Traffic live for the, Far From Home, album. It was an amazing show, tied for the best live performance I’ve ever witnessed. The energy and enthusiasm generated on stage that night was nothing short of perfect. There were some new twists to old material and nothing dragged on. The new songs sounded great as well. If only I could go back in time and see them again that night.


Traffic is one of the bands that completely metamorphosed into something completely different from when they started to their last album. I think of them like the Beatles in that there was the early pop songs, and then later in their career came more creatively diverse lyrics and eclectic styles. Likewise, Traffic’s early stuff was mostly pop and psychedelic and then later their sound changed dramatically.
Steve Winwood had a winning formula of having great musicians in his bands with him, (such as the late Jim Capaldi), just as Eric Clapton has always had top talent around himself. It can’t be denied that people like Clapton and Winwood are talented, but when many good musicians don’t ever have any success, it seems it might take something else beyond talent and luck. Though Clapton and Winwood have both had much success in their solo careers, it has never reached the greatness of what once was, in the time of the superbands. Enjoy the music.


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