Remembering J.J. Cale

Remembering JJ Cale will always be easy, as the late singer-songwriter’s contribution of amaranthine anthems will never be forgotten. With a catalog of 16 albums and innumerable songs written for other musicians, JJ Cale’s songs were made to last. The signature laid-back style of his lyrics and grooves are like a sweet ride that’s so familiar and comfortable, one loses track whether they’ve heard the song a million times or never before. Often toted as a musician’s musician, the songs of JJ Cale were covered extensively by talents as disparate as Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia, Santana, Captain Beefheart, Waylon Jennings, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Widespread Panic. Earlier this year, Neil Young remarked that Jimi Hendrix and JJ Cale were the two best electric guitar players of all the musicians he had ever heard.

JJ Cale led a very private life outside of the amassed fame he earned from his work in the studio. “I’d like to have the fortune,” he said in his biography, “but I don’t care too much about the fame.” The shy Grammy-Award winning multi-instrumentalist rarely toured to celebrate his career. We were lucky enough to have him grace our stage on two different sold-out occasions. The first as an acoustic performance in March 2002 and the second show in April 2009. He should also be remembered for his support to local communities while on the road. As per his request, a portion of the ticket proceeds from his show on April 2, 2009 went to support Grateful Dogs Rescue, the oldest all-breed animal rescue group in San Francisco. What a guy!

Rest your body in peace, JJ Cale, and long live your music.

JJ Cale at Bimbo's 365 Club 4/2/09

Watercolor by Saul Levy (Bimbo's 365 Club's bartender & artist extraordinaire!)