Monday, July 29, 2013

Remembering the music of the one and only JJ Cale

I'm a little late when it comes to saying goodbye to JJ Cale, who died of a heart attack Friday at a California hospital at age 74.  But, better late than never.

JJ Cale was one of those songwriters who was mind-boggling when it came to taking in the body of his work through his career, and the variety of artists who covered his work.  Of course, there was Eric Clapton with "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash and the Allman Brothers boogieing to "Call Me The Breeze," Waylon Jennings and Dr, John doing "Clyde," The Band handling "Crazy Mama," Santana with "Sensitive Kind," Freddie King and Captain Beefheart on "I Got The Same Old Blues," Widespread Panic jamming to "Travelin' Light" at show after show, Kansas rockin' to "Bringing It Back" ... on and on.

JJ Cale
Yeah, JJ Cale was one of those kinds of songwriters -- someone who had a gift for telling a story through music, someone who made you just feel so laid back, someone you felt like you could party to his tunes all night long, someone who could rip your heart out through his words.

Cale seemed to have a special kinship with Clapton, who helped maybe more than any single musician to bring Cale's music to the masses.

A later video of Cale and Clapton performing together at a Crossroads show was a perfect example of how JJ came across.  As they started into a rendition of "After Midnight," there was Cale waiting for Clapton to take the lead as Clapton nudged JJ on instead with just a look and a small gesture, shaking him off, as if to say, "No, this one's yours."  Cale took it from there, looking like he meant and lived just what he wrote and performed -- a guy with the kind of looks and mannerisms you might expect to find at a smoky barroom, sitting on a stool while downing a shot and a beer.

He was one of us.  In all those songs, he was one of us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What it takes to 'Be Alright'

A man becomes abusive in his home, leading his wife to hold a bottle of pills in her hand as she contemplates ending her life.

A family man sits at a table, agonizing over a stack of bills, worrying about how to pay them. A gun sits nearby, and he contemplates ending his life.

How do they make it through the desperation?

Bludgeon Muffin in their "Be Alright" video
These are the storylines involved in a new music video released over the weekend by Salt Lake City-area reggae/rock band Bludgeon Muffin. It's their first "official" music video, shot and edited by Eric Eschelbach. It features Misi Touhuni on vocals, Daniel Arellano on guitar, Nicolas Snarr on electric ukulele, Bruce Kamai on drums, and Michael Bailey on drums.

In the short time since its release Saturday night, it's moved up to No. 36 on the BEAT100 music video charts, where fans get to vote on what they like.

The quality of the video, the music, and the message behind it combine to make quite a statement.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What can happen while onstage and you say 'Trayvon Martin'

Unbelievable.  And, for me, too close to home last Saturday night.

Watch the video below all the way through to see what I'm talking about.

Read the story at my "sister blog" for more information at

Lester Chambers (center) is assisted after being attacked onstage Saturday night. (Photo courtesy Bobbi Goodman)

Lester Chambers waves to the crowd after being attacked Saturday night.  (Photo courtesy Bobbi Goodman)