March 31, 2009, JamBase

JJ Cale kicked off his first solo tour in five years over the weekend, supporting his acclaimed new album Roll On (Rounder Records). The tour began with two shows at McCabe's in Los Angeles, on March 27 and 28. On the second evening, fans were treated to an unannounced appearance by Tom Petty and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, who sat in with Cale for the second half of his set.

AOL Spinner was on the scene and noted "Petty seemed suitably humbled to be up there alongside Cale." Read the full review here.

The initial thirteen dates of the JJ Cale tour sold out briskly, and three more dates have recently been added. Cale's backing band on this tour includes Bill Raffensperger (bass), Walt Richmond (keys), David Teegarden (drums/percussion) and James Cruce (drums/percussion). All but Cruce recorded with Cale on Roll On.

A portion of the proceeds from each show on the tour, which extends through April 15, will be donated to local animal shelters and rescue efforts.

CD Review: J.J. Cale “Roll On”

March 13, 2009, by Brandy McDonnell The Oklahoman

From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.

At 70, Oklahoma singer/songwriter/musician J.J. Cale continues to make masterfully earthy music, drawing on blues, folk, jazz and country to give his new album a richly diverse sound that is by turns laidback and mysterious.

Cale is mostly widely known as the songwriter behind the Eric Clapton hits “Cocaine” and “After Midnight.” For his last album, 2006’s “The Road to Escondido,” Cale partnered with Clapton and won his first Grammy.

Slowhand appears with Cale on the title track for “Roll On,” along with Oklahoman Steve Ripley on acoustic guitar. These skilled collaborators give a heady burst of guitar energy to the blues rock road anthem.

But for the most part, “Roll On” gives the notion of a solo album a whole new and quite literal meaning. Not only did Cale write and sing all 12 tracks, he also plays a range of instruments, including guitar, bass, piano and synthesizers.

The Oklahoma native opens the album in swinging fashion with the jazzy “Who Knew,” which features a jangly piano, rhythmic vocals and even a bit of scatting. He puts the jazz piano in the forefront but shifts to a bluesier sound for the introspective “Former Me.”

The funky “Fonda-Lina” matches an urgent synth groove with evocative gypsy guitars. The spacey and swampy “Strange Days” spotlights Cale’s formidable banjo-picking skills.

He uses a pedal steel guitar to give a mournful feel to the countrified “Leaving in the Morning.” He closes “Roll On” with the shuffling wryly funny “Bring Down the Curtain,” making it clear that “enough is enough” for one album.

“Roll On” isn’t showy or flashy, but no matter how easygoing the songs, they are clearly crafted by an expert.

Invitation à la paresse

March 9, 2009, by Alain Wais Femmes

Eric Clapton le considère comme un maître. Neil Young, Dire Straits, et même Bryan Ferry, le citent comme une référence majeure. A 70 ans et près de 40 ans de carrière, JJ Cale produit son 16ème album ("Roll On") qu’il sort comme à son habitude en toute humilité. Et comme à chaque fois, c’est déjà un classique.

J’avais 32 ou 33 ans quand j’ai sorti mon premier album (Naturally en 1972), et je me trouvais déjà beaucoup trop vieux », s’amuse JJ Cale, « alors, quand je me vois faire ça à 70 ans, je me dis que je devrais plutôt être allongé dans mon hamac » ! Tout est dit, résumé en un mot : son hamac, qui symbolise et image à merveille le balancement de sa musique cossue et cossarde, mais en apesanteur.

Dépositaire d’un style (surnommé le Tulsa sound, sa ville au cœur de l’Oklahoma) qu’il a initié et développé au fil des décennies, JJ Cale est le prince du laid back (cool, relax). Repris et popularisés par Eric Clapton à ses débuts, After Midnight (adopté à l’époque comme le morceau rock officiel de l’Etat d’Oklahoma), puis Cocaine et I’ll Make Love To You en sont devenus les hymnes du genre. Entre blues et country, sa voix caressée au soleil effleure à peine les rythmes qui lézardent en tempo moyen pour soutenir un piano boogie ou sa guitare vernaculaire qui sent si bon la terre.

Très peu enclin aux tournées, JJ Cale quitte rarement son ranch où il enregistre quasiment seul tous les instruments dans son home studio. Car étrangement, cette musique, qui sonne si naturelle, est le fruit du travail méticuleux d’un homme qui, par sa formation d’ingénieur du son, se passionne pour les nouvelles technologies. Renouvelant l’expérience de leur récent album en duo (The Road To Escondido), Eric Clapton est ici invité sur la chanson titre du nouvel opus. Outre les fondamentaux qui opèrent la magie de ses chansons, Cale s’est frotté au scat du jazz avec la même nonchalance miraculeuse. Roll On est, une fois de plus, une invitation à la paresse. A partager en toute liberté, à toute heure et sans mauvaise conscience.

JJ Cale

March 7, 2009, De Standaard

Nogal wat jonge artiesten duiden J.J. Cale aan als een belangrijke invloed. Dat verwondert niet, want Cale's vertragende bluesrock kan als blauwdruk gelden voor de weird folk die je dezer dagen hoort bij artiesten als Jack Johnson, Vetiver en Alela Diane. Roll on is het zestiende album van de zeventigjarige artiest. Het zou fijn zijn als de oude gabber nog steeds even vitaal klonk als weleer, maar helaas. Cale klinkt een beetje kwetsbaar, minder krachtig dan vroeger. Zijn stoffigheid is dit keer geen stijleffect, veeleer een menselijke beperking.

Het album bevat twaalf tracks en veel gasten, onder wie Eric Clapton voor het swingende 'Roll on'. De meeste songs bouwen op het typische shuffle-ritme waarop Cale een patent heeft. De productie is opvallend realistisch, met de dunne stem nogal ver in de muziek gemixt en de ritmesectie ver naar voor. De songs zijn mooi en laten geen twijfel over Cale's authenticiteit. (vpb)

JJ Cale Roll On

March 6, 2009, by Jon Lusk BBC

Multi-instrumentalist, speak-singer, producer and inventor of the 'Tulsa sound', a distinctively flowing boogie flavoured style, J J Cale is best known for Cocaine, a big hit when Eric Clapton covered it in 1977. The two collaborated most recently on the Grammy-winning 2006 album The Road To Escondido, and Clapton is back again here, on the title track. Though hardly groundbreaking, it's a pleasantly understated and undemanding album that reveals new sophistication and surprises with each listen.

Never one to play too may notes, Cale is a tasteful, restrained guitarist and still tends to half bury his voice in the mix. His modest but unmistakable vocal style blends the conversational manner of Guy Clark and the mumble of Mark Knopfler, who has acknowledged Cale's influence, perhaps equally as a guitarist and singer. Apart from his delectable twangings on guitar and pedal steel, Cale plays most instruments himself – a trademark ever since the early seventies. Most notable is his seemingly effortless piano, trickling away on many tracks, in particular lighting up the fluid, chooglin' chug of Cherry Street, a definite highlight. He even plunks on a banjo on Strange Days.

Who Knew is the first of several songs that employ the tried and frankly over-tested 12-bar format, here in a jazzy setting that features Cale tentatively scatting. Down To Memphis sounds like something Charlie Musselwhite might have written, or sung. The driving, funky Fonda-Lina celebrates sex in frank fashion (''A story as old as Jesus/Fonda-Lina has a void to fill''), though it's one place where Cale's penchant for programmed drums lets him down slightly.

Leaving In The Morning is the most stripped-down piece, with some lovely combinations of pedal steel and acoustic guitars. The production on the old fashioned R&B belter, Oh Mary, is oddly engaging, with the cymbals front-placed, and Walt Richmond's rollicking piano way down in the background. Old Friend has a lush, warm country feel and Cale's most confident vocal, nicely augmented in multi-tracked form. By the swampy closer Bring Down The Curtain, you get the feeling this 70-year-old master will roll on for some time to come.

JJ Cale Is Our Hero

March 6, 2009, Rolling Stone Magazine

A few weeks back we had the honor of interviewing legendary songwriter JJ Cale about his new album, Roll On. We wrote about it in the last issue of RS. Check it out right here.

Turns out that the man who wrote the awesome Clapton hits "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" is one of the most down-to-earth dudes we've ever met.

And Roll On is an incredible album. We've been listening to it nonstop!

As he has throughout his career, JJ played pretty much every instrument on Roll On, and his lyrics couldn't be more perfect and economical. On the album he sings about the old days, and he sings (a lot) about loose women, but our favorite song on the album, "Leaving In the Morning," which addresses mortality. (JJ is seventy years young!)

It's one of the most beautiful songs ever.

Please enjoy.

Then get your hands on the whole album.

Roll On Album Review

March 5, 2009, Grand Junction Sentinal

Iconic singer/songwriter J. J. Cale is back with one of his best CDs in a long time in “Roll On.” On this sparkling 12-song set, Cale utilized his unique style to cover country, rock, Southern blues and his trademark swampy boogie while playing all of the instruments on eight of the cuts. Eric Clapton and Jim Keltner guest on one track on this excellent CD. I think it’s a must-have for all his fans.

A Veteran Songwriter's 'Old Man' Music

February 25, 2009, All Things Considered

J.J. Cale released his debut album, Naturally, in 1971. Born and raised in Oklahoma, the singer wrote songs that became big hits for Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others, including "Cocaine" and "After Midnight."

"He recorded ["After Midnight"], and [it came] out about six months later," Cale says. "And I heard it on the radio, and I went, 'Oh, boy, I'm a songwriter now. I'm not an engineer or an elevator operator.' "

Those royalty checks keep coming in, so Cale doesn't have to tour or record much. But he has a new album out now, titled Roll On.

"I was a late bloomer in the music business," Cale says. "When I made [Naturally], I went, 'I'm way too old to be doing this. You know, 30 years old is really old.' So ironically, I'm doing it now — this last album, I'm 70."

Cale spoke with host Melissa Block about writing original music at 70.

"I write songs that kind of pertain to where I'm at now, and I guess it's good," Cale says. "I don't know, you know? I used to write more about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. I don't do that quite as much as I used to, and it's a little bit more 'old man' philosophy."

J.J. Cale rolls on

The Escondido-based musician releases a new solo album Tuesday and, in a rare move, has scheduled several local concerts.

February 24, 2009, By Richard Cromelin, L.A. Times

Reporting from Escondido -- J.J. Cale is enjoying his lunch in a corner booth at Olive Garden, cloaked in the anonymity he's taken pains to cultivate throughout his long career in music. But now it looks as if his cover has been blown.

A middle-aged woman approaches and introduces herself. He stiffens for an instant, then relaxes. "Oh, I've been talking too loud again," he says with a smile.

"Not really," she says. "My husband and I are big fans of Eric Clapton, and I think you co-wrote an album with him . . . . Could I please ask for your autograph?"

"I guess," Cale replies. "I can't sign Eric's name," he adds with a wink as he puts his neat signature on her business card.

These are the moments Cale has worked to avoid, but when it's over he has to laugh at the timing -- he'd just been recalling the week that his old pal Clapton spent in this northern San Diego County town to work on their 2006 duo album, "The Road to Escondido."

"Every restaurant him and I went to, we couldn't eat for all these people," says Cale, his Oklahoma twang still pronounced after decades in Southern California. "He's used to it, but I didn't really want that. I wanted to be able to play music, and then when I went out in my private life, my personal life, I didn't want to be famous.

"If you notice, nobody's coming over here in this restaurant and do what they do to Eric Clapton. So I pulled that off."

With an exception here and there, obviously. Still, Cale has stuck to his guns. He does few interviews, and most of those are by phone. He rarely performs live, and he didn't put his picture on his albums for the first 15 years of his career.

Cale considers himself semi-retired and expects every record to be his last. That includes his 16th album, "Roll On," out today on Rounder Records. Like most of them, it was prompted more by the urging of business associates than by any ambition on Cale's part.

Turning 70 in December has reinforced his reluctance to tour, but against all odds he's planning to play some West Coast dates in March, his first performances in almost five years. The Southern California shows are March 27-28 at McCabe's, March 29 at the Belly Up in Solana Beach and March 30 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.


JJ Cale Album Review

February 23, 2009 by Christina Pazzanese of The Boston Globe

They say the truly great musicians constantly grow and evolve. But when you're a masterful songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist like J.J. Cale, why grow when what you've been doing works so beautifully? Over a 50-plus-year career, Cale has had his biggest successes with others, such as Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd, covering his deceptively simple and authentically American songs. "Roll On" finds Cale back in vintage form. You can practically feel the tour bus hitting the open road in the title track. The classic Cale sound - sly, understated vocals buoyed by some tasty, judicious blues guitar licks and a shuffling boogie - is in full flower on "Down to Memphis," "Cherry Street," and "Oh Mary." Themes of mortality and loss permeate "Bring Down the Curtain," "Former Me," "Old Friend," and the elegiac, twangy "Leaving in the Morning." It's the experiments that just don't work here. The kiss-off "Where the Sun Don't Shine" is marred by some mechanical, Alan Parsons-style keyboards, while the Latin disco-flavored "Fonda-Lina" is an unfortunate, queso-y mess.

CD review: J.J. Cale “Roll On”

February 23, 2009 by Michael Corcoran of Austin American-Statesman

About a year ago an editor for a respected music magazine (no longer publishing) pitched me on writing about some artist I wasn’t so hot on. “How about J.J. Cale?” I suggested as a substitute. Long silence, as all he heard was that I wanted to write a big article on the guy who wrote “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” for Eric Clapton. Man, is Cale underrated. He’s Gatemouth Brown in a B.B. King world.

It’s impossible to write about this Okie without using the word “groove.” On his new album “Roll On,” which hits stores tomorrow, Cale gets deep on in it, as the listener’s sway becomes a given and part of the percussion. “Down In Memphis” and “Oh Mary” are what Bob Dylan was going for on “Modern Times,” but without the weight of being Dylan, Cale serves the blues rock like the best $1.99 breakfast you’ve ever had.

First time I played this CD I was surrounded by unmoving traffic without feeling stuck. This is Chuck Berry rocking on the porch with his foot keeping the rhythm and his guitar stirring the night air. It’s pure music that just knows what’s right.

Playing most instruments himself, Cale was able to get out the music in his mind here, with all its simple majesty intact. Nobody can hit it hard and soft at the same time, and still carry a melody, like this 70-year-old boogie minimalist.

JJ Cale Album Review

February 19, 2009 by Will Hermes, Rolling Stone Magazine

If JJ Cale is influencing a new generation (see M. Ward's country blues rock and Jenny Lewis' name-checks) maybe it's because, at 70, he's a model for indie-rock longevity. On his 16th record, the Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter-producer sticks to his low-key DIY guns, notwithstanding cameos from pal Eric Clapton and others. The songs are top-shelf: Most ride Cale's signature shuffle groove and are delivered in his barroom Zen-master growl while his bubbling guitar — as much a jam-band archetype as Jerry Garcia's — glints across the shadows. Supremely chill, utterly ageless, Cale's style fits him as perfectly as it did three decades ago.

Rolling Stone Magazine Article by Austin Scaggs (click image to enlarge)


JJ Cale – Who Knew?

February 22, 2009 by eartaste

The jazz bassist excites the way this album begins. JJ Cale is best known for his guitar skills, but here we get to focus on his writing skills. “Who knew our life would be so complicated? Who knew that we would be so automated? No time to think! On the brink! Who knew?” Good questions to contemplate and try to understand. Technology has automated most of my life, yet I’m busier than ever. Go figger. Trying to figure out ways to simplify even more has become more stressful than simply accepting it, but it is strange when I take time to think about it. But, like the man says, no time to think, we’re on the brink. I love the way he puts it because a brink can go two ways – we’re either on the brink of disaster, or the brink of a revolution. Of course, we won’t know till we’re on the other side, but these can be looked at as exciting days. “Be ready to fabricate and navigate your personal fate.” LOL! Great line that could mean many things, but to me he’s saying – be ready for a job change soon. And yes, the guitar does sneak in some tasty licks. Shoutouts for Strange Days (“there is no meaning”), Fondalina (“it’s a story as old as Jesus, Fondalina has a void to fill”), and Roll On (coulda been called Rock and Roll On – lots of tasty guitar duels & jerry lee piano licks).

New JJ Cale CD scheduled for Tuesday release

February 21, 2009 by Ken Utterback, Nashville Music Examiner

I had heard through the grapevine, and now have confirmation, that the long awaited release of the CD featuring new music by the seasoned artist JJ Cale is right around the corner. So, mark your calendar for Tuesday, February 24th. My friend, and musical co-conspirator, Gary Allen (former drummer with Charlie Daniels’ band as well as studio and road musician with Cale) had actually told me about this a number of weeks ago, and I just now stumbled upon confirmation on the JJ Cale website.

For those not totally familiar with this prolific musician and singer-songwriter, Cale is a long-time fixture in the music industry, who only relatively recently began to get the attention he has long deserved. With the releases of After Midnight and Cocaine, by Eric Clapton, people began hearing about the actual author of the songs. Up until the last few years, even I wasn’t aware that Clapton himself didn’t pen those hits. Like many folks, I hadn’t been introduced to Cale’s material, due perhaps to Cale’s tendency to avoid the limelight.

On this new release Cale, the very talented artist that he is, plays most of the instruments himself; something that Gary Allen says that he urged Cale to do years ago. The title track Roll On, is a previously unreleased collaboration with Eric Clapton, who Cale recorded with on the Grammy winning, gold selling (platinum overseas) The Road To Escondido. This will be Cale’s first solo album in over four years. Personally, I can hardly wait.

Routes and Branches Play List

February 21, 2009 by KRVM 91.9FM

This week I had the opportunity to check out JJ Cale's new album "Roll On".I like the whole album so I made it my feature disk for this week's show.

Parts of this album sound like classic Cale and could have come out 30 years ago while other songs find him traveling in completely new directions. I read that his recording process for Roll On followed the same general path Cale has used throughout his career. He starts by reviving old songs from previous sessions, writes some new ones and lays down way more material than he can put out. Then he whittles it all down to the strongest set of songs. The new CD finds Cale playing guitars, pedal steel, bass, drums, synthesizers, singing lead, backup, harmonizing with himself and then producing and engineering the whole thing.

J.J. Cale Review

February 21, 2009 by Billboard CD reviews as presented by Reuters from New York

Even with a Grammy Award win for “The Road to Escondido,’’ his 2006 collaboration with good pal Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale is still best known as the guy behind such rock staples as “After Midnight,’’ “Cocaine’’ and “Call Me the Breeze.’’ The Oklahoma singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist raises eyebrows from the get-go on his 16th solo outing, dipping into jazz for the gently swinging “Who Knew’’ and the self-effacing “Former Me.’’ Like their neighbors on “Roll On,’’ those songs follow into Cale’s trademarked understatement, the Tulsa Soul sound, if you will, with everything falling neatly into a pocket and low-pitched vocals strolling along just behind the beat. Cale does kick up a little more dust on “Oh Mary,’’ the sinewy “Where the Sun Don’t Shine’’ and “Roll On,’’ which features a requisite guest appearance by Clapton.

New JJ Cale CD scheduled for Tuesday release. Cale to release new record, collaborate with Clapton

December 12, 2008 By David Marek, Paste Magazine

There are musicians' musicians, and then there's J.J. Cale. The iconic Okie songwriter has been lauded and subsequently covered by artists as diverse as Spiritualized and Beck, not to mention Eric Clapton, whose famous renditions of "Cocaine" and "After Midnight" gave Cale the mainstream clout he enjoys today. Still, Cale has generally managed to stay out of the limelight, living off other musicians' praises and, of course, a bunch of fat royalty checks from Clapton Inc.

And now the cult hero and enigmatic dude is set to release Roll On, his first solo album in almost five years. Details are spare at the moment, but the record will be Cale's first since his Grammy-winning collaboration with Eric Clapton, The Road to Escondido, and his first on Rounder Records. There's no tracklist yet, but we do know that Clapton will guest on the record's title track. Does that make us excited? All signs point to yes.

JJ Cale Adds New Dimensions To His Timeless Sound On 'Roll On,' Out Feb. 24 On Rounder Records

December 19, 2008

JJ Cale's new album 'Roll On' (Rounder Records, Feb. 24) is full of timeless grooves and the meticulously understated production that he is known for, but it also adds new dimensions to the "classic Cale sound."

Just press play on the new record and all of a sudden there's J.J. Cale jazz-scatting for the first time ever on disc opener "Who Knew," and later he's loping along behind a restrained jazz piano on "Former Me." Cale even adds an element of humor to the lyrics of the laid-back jam "Where The Sun Don't Shine."

So, where did this new inspiration come from? "When I'm singing in the bathtub I usually do that [scat]," says Cale. "When I got through with ["Who Knew"] it made me laugh, so I went, 'Well that's good.'"

'Roll On' is Cale's first solo album in nearly five years, and his debut for Rounder Records. It follows Cale's Grammy-winning, gold-certified 2006 collaboration with Eric Clapton 'The Road to Escondido.'

For more information please contact Carrie Tolles ( or Matt Hanks ( at Shore Fire Media, 718.522.7171, or Jennifer Sacca ( at Rounder Records, 617.218.4503

JJ Cale's Timeless Sound Enthralls A New Generation

Jenny Lewis, Beck, Band Of Horses And Others Give Props, Cover Cale Tunes

Cale's Rounder Records Debut Roll On Set For Feb 24 Release

December 3, 2008

In the current issue of Blender Magazine indie starlet Jenny Lewis cites JJ Cale as a major influence on her songwriting, saying his version of "Call Me The Breeze" "reigns supreme." Artists as diverse as Spiritualized, Beck, Band Of Horses, Widespread Panic and moe have recently covered Cale songs. While in the song "Toothbrush and My Table" Grace Potter sings "Give me back my jeans and my JJ Cale" and husband and wife Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi said in a recent interview that their mantra when faced with a difficult artistic decision is: "WWJJD - what would JJ do?"

On Cale's new album Roll On (Rounder Records, Feb. 24) you can hear why this younger generation of artists draws inspiration from his timeless but perpetually modern songs.

Check out these YouTube clips of young artists covering Cale.

Beck, "Magnolia"
Band Of Horses, "13 Days"
Spiritualized's version of "Call Me The Breeze" titled "Run"

For more information, please contact Matt Hanks [] or Carrie Tolles [] at Shore Fire Media, 718.522.7171

JJ Cale - “One Of The Masters” – Readies 'Roll On,' His Rounder Records Debut And First Solo Album In Nearly Five Years, For Feb 24 Release

Album Follows Cale’s Grammy-Winning, Gold-Certified Collaboration With Eric Clapton, 'Road To Escondido'

November 20, 2008

On February 24, Rounder Records will release JJ Cale’s ‘Roll On,’ the legendary songwriter and guitarist’s first solo album in nearly five years, and his debut for the label. ‘Roll On’ follows Cale’s Grammy-winning, gold-certified 2006 album with Eric Clapton 'The Road to Escondido.'

Cale wrote and produced all twelve songs on 'Roll On,' and plays all the instruments on most of the tunes as well, including guitars, pedal steel, bass, drums, piano and synthesizers. He tracked most of the album at his home studio in California. Among the few exceptions is the title track to 'Roll On,’ a previously unreleased collaboration with Eric Clapton, and the latest evidence of the pair’s incredibly fruitful, simpatico creative partnership.

Elsewhere, Cale adds a few curveballs - like the scat-sung opener “Who Knew” and the jazz chords of “Former Me.” - to his mesmerizing mix of blues, country, rock and other quintessentially American styles. The album is such a treat to the ears it's easy to overlook the amount of work that goes into creating Cale's signature “laid back” sound. He played most of the instruments on his landmark first album ‘Naturally’ out of financial necessity. He does so on ‘Roll On’ out of a passionate, meticulous love of the craft.

Eric Clapton recognized that passion a long time ago. Two of his biggest hits as a solo artist - “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” - are Cale-penned songs. Other artists who’ve covered Cale include Johnny Cash, The Band, Chet Atkins, Captain Beefheart, Santana, The Allman Brothers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd; while Mark Knopfler, Neil Young, and Bryan Ferry have all cited his influence. “He's a superior musician,” says Clapton. “One of the masters."

For more information please contact Carrie Tolles ( or Matt Hanks ( at Shore Fire Media, 718.522.7171, or Jennifer Sacca ( at Rounder Records, 617.218.4503


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