A brief appreciation of J.J. Cale

jj-cale-discobus41You may have heard about the passing of singer-songwriter J.J. Cale last Friday from a heart attack at the age of 74. And while you may not have been immediately familiar with his name, you more than likely were familiar with his music. Cale was the author of such classic classic-rock tracks as “Cocaine”, “After Midnight” (popularized by Eric Clapton) and “Call Me The Breeze” (Lynyrd Skynyrd). While it was those covers that provided Cale with the widest exposure, I was always partial to his own laid-back versions of those songs not to mention others such as the wonderful “Crazy Mama” and “Devil In Disguise”.  And not one of these aforementioned tracks was more than three-minutes long. Amazing things do come in small packages.

I highly recommend picking up 1998’s The Definitive Collection for a great overview of Cale’s legacy as well as 2006’s The Road To Escondido, the duet album he did with Clapton. Great stuff from a musician who will be missed.


My Saturday morning playlist. What are you listening to today?

springFinally. It’s finally starting to feel like maybe Spring will actually make an appearance soon. The last few days have felt more like late January than late March. Depressing weather. This morning the sun was shining, so I decided to take advantage of respite from the cold and head out for a walk. Stopped for a haircut along the way. Now I feel better. You’re wondering what I was listening to, right? Glad you asked. The last 15:
1. Born In The 50’s–The Police
2. Trampled Under Foot–Led Zeppelin (Celebration Day version)
4. Better Days–Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
5. Turn The Page–Bob Seger
6. Flesh And Blood–Solomon Burke
7. What If I Do?–Foo Fighters
8. 36 Inches High–Nick Lowe
9. Entangled–Genesis
10. Who Am I Telling You?–J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton
11. Sound of Your Voice–Barenaked Ladies
12. Erase/Replace–Foo Fighters
13. Hollis and Morris–The Trews
14. Wicked Rain–Los Lobos
15. Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves–Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin

More Rolling Stones shows in 2013? The rumours are starting to circulate.

stones-3So here’s the latest on more Stones shows for 2013: 

A concert business source confirms to Rolling Stone the band is planning 18 concerts in North America this year. Billboard has also reported the band will play “fewer than 20” dates in North America in the first half of 2013, with Australian promoter Paul Dainty and Virgin music promoting the tour (the team also promoted the ’50 and Counting’ run.) It would be the band’s first tour since 2005-2007’s A Bigger Bang, and, if the ’50 and Counting’ shows were any indication, the band is even more adventurous these days. Last year they performed with former members Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman, invited guests like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and played rarities like “Around and Around” and “I Wanna Be Your Man.”

It’s anybody’s guess where the tour will land but of course I’m hoping for a Toronto stop. I saw them a couple of times in the ’90s and based on some of the footage from the 50 and Counting shows I’d say they still pack a punch. Although if the tickets end up being priced like they were for those shows, I may have to settle for reading the reviews and watching clips on Youtube.

Here’s “Get Off My Cloud” from December 2012:

Happy (Long Weekend) Sunday. Here’s my playlist for this morning. #whatareyoulisteningto

coffeeAnd because it’s a long weekend…a longer playlist.

1. Hypnotized–Fleetwood Mac

2. Blaze of Glory–Joe Jackson

3. Water of Love–Dire Straits

4. Contact High–Allen Stone

5. I May Not Be Your Kind–Garland Jeffreys

6. Laughing Down Crying–Daryl Hall

7. Minute By Minute–The Doobie Brothers

8. Call Me The Breeze–J.J. Cale

9. Hard To Thrill–J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton

10. Say You Will–Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

11. How Did We Get From Saying I Love You–Great Big Sea

12. Stolen Moments–John Hiatt

13. Up On This Hillside–Bruce Cockburn

14. New Frontier–Donald Fagen

15. Everything Is Broken–Bettye LaVette


UPDATE (New Single): Slowhand’s back! Eric Clapton new album (tentatively) due March 12th

imagesJust ahead of his tour that launches March 14th (No Canadian dates. Yet.) comes news that EC will be releasing a new album on his own label, Bushbranch Records. The title: Old Sock.

The album is being distributed by Surfdog, home to Brian Setzer, Joss Stone and Dave Stewart among others. The website says the album is tentatively scheduled for a March 12th release.

The album will feature two new tracks – “Every Little” and “Gotta Get Over” – and covers of some of Clapton’s favourite songs. Some friends also dropped by during the recording: JJ CaleChaka Khan, Steve Winwood and Paul McCartney.

****UPDATE**** Listen to “Gotta Get Over” here.

In case you missed it , here’s a clip of EC at the 121212 concert in December performing the Derek and the Dominos classic “Got To Get Better In A Little While”:

The British Are Coming–Paul McCartney; Sting hitting the road. Also: frontman of classic rock band seeks guitarist to make beautiful music together.

Bunch of good stuff to report on today. First up is news that Sir Paul McCartney will be hitting the road this year. Tour details are just starting to trickle in, with only five dates announced so far:

Sunday 28th March Jobing.com Arena, Glendale AZ
Tuesday 30th March Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles CA
Wednesday 31st March Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles CA
Saturday 3rd April Sun Life Stadium, Miami FL
Monday 5th April Coliseo De Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico

McCartney hasn’t played the Hollywood Bowl since 1993. The Beatles of course played the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and 1965 and those shows were recorded for a live album that finally saw the light of day 13 years later. A posting on McCartney’s website says more dates will be announced soon. Hopefully there will be some Canadian dates in the mix.

Here’s a great clip from the Good Evening New York City DVD.:

And while we wait for word on Canadian dates for McCartney, Sting has announced he will be heading out on a world tour, backed by the 45-piece Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. The tour launches June 2nd in Vancouver. According to his website, Sting’s greatest hits will be reinterpreted with brand new orchestrations created especially for this tour. Selections will include fan-favorites such as ‘Roxanne’, ‘Next To You’, ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’, to notable songs from Sting’s enduring solo career – ‘Englishman in New York’, ‘Fragile’, ‘Russians’, ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’, ‘Fields of Gold’, and ‘Desert Rose.’ Toronto and Montreal are on the tour itinerary but dates have not yet been announced. Sting will also have a four piece band with him onstage. Could make for an interesting evening. Did you catch Sting on the recent Hope for Haiti telethon? I thought it was a pretty good performance.

And from the “this definitely has possibilities” file: With the future of The Who in doubt due to Pete Townshend’s problems with tinnitus, Roger Daltrey has stated that he would love to work with Jimmy Page. Daltrey has told the BBC that he’s a huge fan of Page’s and would love to form some kind of supergroup with the famed guitarist, maybe some kind of blues project.

Page’s bandmate John Paul Jones is part of another supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures, along with the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. And while Daltrey may have to wait and see if Page wants to do something with him, Daltrey will be hitting the road with another legendary guitarist. He’ll be touring with Eric Clapton for about a dozen shows in the U.S. starting Feb. 25th. But Daltrey and Page? An evening of Who Tunes, Zep tunes and classic blues tunes? Count me in.

The “Welcome to 2010” Shuffle Report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

A new year, a new shuffle report. Haven’t done one of these in a while, so I figured the start of a new year is a great way to get back into the groove. As my thoughts turn from the joy of sleeping in to the anguish of having to now get up on time, I spent part of the last of my extended holi-days organizing the house, cleaning up…you know, the fun stuff. Right.

As for the tunes, here’s the first ten songs of the first of many shuffle reports to come. And now, time to set the alarm for tomorrow. Let’s see..how do I work this thing again? It’s been awhile…

1. When The Lights Go Out–Bruce Springsteen (Tracks) (Always a good sign when the first song of the year is a Springsteen song. Always a good sign.)

2. She Didn’t Know–The Tragically Hip (Up To Here) (From the album that broke them wide open.)

3. Adult Education–Hall & Oates (The Very Best Of) (I have always considered Daryl Hall to be one of the best pop vocalists around. Can’t believe he’s 63.)

4. Trick or Treat–Robert Cray (The Definitive Collection) (A great blues talent.)

5. Up Around The Bend–Creedence Clearwater Revival (Chronicle, Volume 1) (Bet you didn’t know that these guys have sold 26 million records in the U.S alone. 26 million.)

6. Broken Down–Eric Clapton (Reptile) (More mellow Clapton than bluesy Clapton, but a decent tune nonetheless).

7. Finish What Ya Started–Van Halen (OU812) (From the post-Dave-then-pre-Dave, Sammy Hagar days. Glad Dave’s back in the fold, but Wolfgang Van Halen is no match for original bassist Michael Anthony).

8. Foreplay/Long Time–Boston (Boston) (Think CCR sold a lot of albums? Boston has sold 31 million, mostly of which is this album, a staple of classic rock radio.)

9. I’ve Been Waiting On You–Al Green (I Can’t Stop) (Great return to form from soul master.)

10. The Valley–Los Lobos (The Town And The City) (A new album supposedly in 2010? Can’t wait.)