Band of Horses' Frontman Pens Tribute to Late JJ Cale

"To lose a dude as cool as Cale is not only a loss for fans of great music, but a loss for those who rail against egoism and pompousness," writes Ben Bridwell.
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The death of singer, songwriter and guitarist JJ Cale on Saturday hit the music industry hard. Not only did the 74-year-old pen classics like "After Midnight," ''Cocaine" and "Call Me the Breeze," his influence could be heard on songs by Neil Young, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Mark Knopfler, Carlos Santana, Captain Beefheart and Bryan Ferry.

More recently, the rock icon shared a Grammy Award with longtime collaborator Eric Clapton for The Road to Escondido, which won for best contemporary blues album in 2008.

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Peers aside, Cale's signature "Tulsa" sound resonated with musicians not yet born at the time he reached his career heights in the 1970s. Among them: Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell, who was so moved by Cale's unexpected passing (he died of a heart attack on Friday at a hospital in La Jolla, Calif.), that he wrote a tribute to his "hero" and blasted it to the tens of thousands on BOH's e-mail list.

Read Bridwell's note in its entirety below:

JJ Cale is my hero. John Weldon Cale was still making great music well into his 70's, which makes it even sadder to hear of his passing. To lose a dude as cool as Cale is not only a loss for fans of great music, but a loss for those who rail against egoism and pompousness. The fact that he was still creating incredible albums in his 70's that rival any of his earlier work adds an extra sting for his many devoted fans. I beg you to check out his 2009 album Roll On.

Just the other day, I was wondering when we might get a new batch of J.J. Cale songs. Sadly, that is no longer possible, but the great news is that we are left with a trove of incredible records to carry on with.

If you are new to J.J. Cale's music or want to educate yourself further, I've added this playlist of some of my favorite J.J. Cale music. This is my personal mix tape that I made for myself a couple years ago:

Some of the tracks weren't available, and I skipped some of the obvious big songs for my own enjoyment. If this gets people riled up enough to whine, "Where's 'Cocaine'?" then that's just funny as hell.

I once interviewed Mr. Cale for FILTER Magazine. That was the most nervous I hope I'll ever be. He was so incredibly cool, smart, and sweet about doing it. Let his answers resonate in your soul here.

Also here's a couple J.J. covers our band has done. If anybody has us covering "Don't Go To Strangers" from Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa in 2012, please post it!

"Thirteen Days":

"Leaving in the Morning":

I'm forever indebted to Sam Beam for turning me on to J.J.'s songs.

Roll On J.J. Cale,


Twitter: @THRMusic