Album cover artwork for Richard Clapton with yellow vinyl record popping outIt’s been quite a year, with Trump, COVID, the Black Lives Matter movement, the never-ending climate change debate and disturbing sexual allegations in Canberra. Then, as Richard Clapton was preparing to release his 16th studio album, his label boss and friend Michael Gudinski – who had been heavily involved in this record – died unexpectedly.

Thank God for music.

Forty-eight years after his first album, Clapton has issued his first covers collection, his take on the “hippie anthems” that shaped him, celebrating the pop stars who put poetry on the radio – Dylan, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. These are songs of healing and hope, songs the world needs now more than ever.

Clapton has crafted an album that honours its title. It’s a record that’s lovingly compiled – props, too, to executive producer Terry Blamey and engineer David “Chippa” Nicholas. “Love is but a song to sing,” Clapton declares. The message is timeless, and Clapton, with his enduring hippie look and soulful voice, is the perfect messenger. As he sings in the opening track, a cover of The Youngbloods’ Get Together: “Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another. Right now.”

Music Is Love by Richard Clapton is out April 9 via Bloodlines.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.