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Tribute to JJ Cale

By D.K. Ross

Some people leave a mark when they pass. Others leave a void. Even fewer blaze trails while they are here. But all of that can be said of JJ Cale (December 5, 1938 – July 26, 2013), the man behind the music made famous by stars in the rock, blues, country and folk world.

Tribute to JJ Cale: A Musician’s Musician
Acoustic Blues Concert
Wed, Dec 18, 7:30pm
El Sindicato
Recreo 4
150 pesos
Tickets available in advance at La Biblioteca and El Sindicato

Cale, a songwriter from Oklahoma, was unknown when Eric Clapton covered one of his songs in 1970. Riding that wave of interest to produce and publish his first album, Naturally, in 1972, Cale said that being a recording mixer and engineer and creating his own album, allowed him to find a unique sound.

They called it the Tulsa sound and it drew on blues, rockabilly, country and jazz influences. A multi-instrumentalist, he also penned and played Americana, Cajun, blues, swamp rock and country-rock.

The iconic album, Naturally, established Cale’s solo recording career and his signature laid-back groove and included songs like “Crazy Mama,” “Call the Doctor,” “Clyde,” “Magnolia,” and Cale’s own version of “After Midnight.”

Clapton had another hit with one of Cale’s songs in 1977 when he covered “Cocaine.” “Call Me the Breeze” was covered by both Lynard Skynard and the Allman Brothers. Randy Crawford, Maria Muldare, Poco and many others covered “Cajun Moon.” Waylon Jennings had a hit with “Clyde.” Others who had success with his songs include Dr. Hook, Santana, Bob Seger, George Thorogood, Jerry Garcia, Kansas and John Mayer.

In 2008, Cale and Clapton won a Grammy for their collaborative blues album, The Road to Escondido.

When asked by Vanity Fair which living person he most admired, Clapton said JJ Cale. He has often said that he aspired to be more like him, trying to build his laid-back, minimalist sound into his music. And according to Neil Young, Cale (and Hendrix) were the two best electric guitarists he had ever heard.

Cale leaves behind some 20 albums during a recording career that spanned almost 40 years. A brilliant songwriter, extraordinary guitarist, and an inspiration to other musicians, Cale was an original and creative musician intimate with his own muse. He left behind a musical legacy that will continue to impact the industry and enrich musicians and audiences alike.

The concert will be presented by Kate Fowler (voice and guitar) and Rolando Gotés (guitar) with special guest Richard Webb (harmonica).

Fowler’s voice has been called sultry and when she sings the blues her voice is powerful and earthy. Gotés is a lifelong career guitarist and previous musical director for the renowned musical school Instituto de Música Santa Cecilia in Torreon in northern Mexico. Webb is a bluesman from North Carolina who specializes in Piedmont style harmonica.

Following Fowler and Gotés’ sold-out concert in March, ‘Wild Women Do Get the Blues’, one audience member said, “The concert was amazing. If talent is an indicator, you should be sold out again and again. Thank you for the history lesson and the great music.”

Don’t miss this special tribute concert to JJ Cale.


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