POSTED ON AUGUST 28, 2013:
In Honor of J.J.
Tulsa musicians step up to pay tribute to legend
Anyone who is familiar with the "Tulsa Sound" knows of J.J. Cale. Actually, anyone who knows rock & roll should know of J.J. Cale. Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Tulsa, Cale was a major influence on Eric Clapton and has had his songs covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Santana, Phish, and Widespread Panic, to name just a few.
To many within Oklahoma's music scene and those in the music industry, Cale was considered one of the originators of the "Tulsa Sound," a style John Wooley has described as "a certain kind of laid-back, blues and country influenced rock 'n' roll sound, one that reached full fruition in the '70s, when Leon Russell returned triumphantly to his hometown, and Tulsa -- for a brief, shining moment -- became a rock-world nexus."
The irony of this is that fact that Cale was one of those who didn't give much thought to a "Tulsa Sound." In fact, in quite a few conversations I've had with former Tulsa World writer Jennifer Chancellor, she recalled her conversation with Cale where he stated that there was no "Tulsa Sound" -- they just played what they played and someone stuck that name on it.
Regardless of whether Cale recognized the movement, he was an undeniable influence, not only within a group of artists that all came to prominence within Tulsa at that time (including Leon Russell, Rocky Frisco, Elvin Bishop, David Gates, David Teegarden, Dwight Twilley, and Clapton's band of Carl Radle, Dick Sims, and Jamie Oldaker, among others), but to generations of Tulsa musicians that would follow.
Over the past few years, a new crop of musicians has taken hold in town, having been dubbed part of the "New Tulsa Sound." And although some people in town have openly taken offense to the name, none was intended. If anything, the term was meant to honor the original movement as most of the artists in the current crop, such as Paul Benjamin, Wink Burcham, Beau Roberson, Jesse Aycock, and Dustin Pittsley are openly and admittedly influenced by Tulsa's musical history and employ that legacy within their own playing and direction.
Although Cale had lived in California for years, his influence within Tulsa has left an imprint that will not go away. He initially moved to Los Angeles in the early '60s and worked as a studio engineer, but returned to Tulsa and considered giving up on music after finding little success as an artist until Eric Clapton recorded Cale's song "After Midnight" in 1970. That arguably kick-started Cale's career as a musician and artist as he released his first album, Naturally, in 1972 and his final studio album, Roll On, in 2009.
During that 16-album stretch, Cale's highest-charting single was "Crazy Mama," from his debut album, which reached No. 22 on the U.S. singles chart on April 8, 1972. Regardless of chart success, however, Cale's impact on the music community was evidenced by the variety of artists that covered his songs and he earned a 2008 Grammy in the "Best Contemporary Blues Album" category for his collaboration with Eric Clapton, The Road to Escondido.
When it hit the news, then, that J.J. Cale had passed away of a heart attack on July 26, it sent shock waves through the music community nationally, as well as in Tulsa.
Although many people have made comment on Cale's passing, it only seems appropriate for Tulsa's musicians to step up and pay homage to personal hero that not only proved to be an influence on so many, but also paved the ways for their own creativity.
After a bit of planning, then, Fassler Hall and Horton Records are teaming up to present a tribute to and celebration of the music of J.J. Cale this Thursday night, August 29, beginning at 7pm. The evening will allow a group of Tulsa's finest musicians and a good portion of the "New Tulsa Sound" contingent to pay respects and honor one of the artists who help found the original movement and has brought Tulsa an immeasurably amount of respect within the music industry.
The night's music will kick off at 7pm with Brad James Band, featuring Dylan Layton of Whirligig and Andrea Kyle of The Big O Show to set the tone of the evening. An 8pm set with a group of "Honorary Guests" will follow, giving a handful of Tulsa's older musicians a chance to step up and join the celebration as well.
Wink Burcham is then set to take the stage at 9pm with Jacob Tovar and the Saddle Tramps, Chris Lee Becker, and Clay Welch to trade songs, followed by Beau Roberson's Pilgrim with Desi & Cody at 10pm. Dustin Pittsley Band will take over with guest Jeff Martinson at 10:30pm, followed by Paul Benjaman Band (including Bo Hallford and Andrew Bones) with Jesse Aycock, Zach Elkins, and Clay Welch.
Although musicians will undoubtedly be slipping on and off stage throughout the evening, you can be sure that before the evening ends, it will all culminate in a group jam session to pay final tribute to a Tulsa music icon and a guitar and songwriting hero to many.
With 16 albums and many more guest appearances to his credit, Cale has an incredibly deep catalog of material to draw from and the evening should touch on all corners of his career. According to Brian Horton, all of the bands involved are coordinating their sets and the plan is to not repeat any songs over the course of the night, so this should be an incredible evening of music.
If you're a long time J.J. Cale fan, a relative neophyte, or just a fan of the "New Tulsa Sound" musicians, you should make your best effort to be at Fassler Hall on Thursday night. Cover is only $5 at the door (to pay the participating musicians, as J.J. would want it), as musicians and fans come together to pay tribute to one of Tulsa's finest and bid a fond farewell to J.J. Cale.
Send all comments and feedback regarding SoundCheck to email@example.com.
Another week has come and gone, and August is coming to a close. Even as the calendar rolls along, so does the music in Tulsa -- and even though, we don't have as many big tours rolling through as we have the past few weeks, we've still got some great music to look forward to. As always, we've got the highlights to get you started, so check a few of these out:.
Thursday, August 29
You can get your Texas-country fix at Cain's Ballroom as Reckless Kelly returns with Bart Crow or head over to The Shrine to get your does of the blues with Watermelon Slim and Dustin Pittsley Band. If you want to wear your Tulsa pride, however, you'll be at Fassler Hall for the Tribute to J.J. Cale with just about all of the "New Tulsa Sound" contingent taking the stage over the course of the night with a program that should touch on every page of the J.J. Cale songbook.
Friday, August 30
The Vanguard presents this week's best local showcase with K-Sides, Hey! Dollface, Kinzfolk, For the Wolf, and Oceanaut coming together to give a glimpse and then next crop of rising local bands on our rock scene. If that's not your thing, check out Dachshund at Hunt Club or Oil Boom with Hey Judy at Yeti for the indie-rock crowd. Meanwhile, Cain's Ballroom hosts its monthly Tulsa Playboys dance and Mercury Lounge welcomes Martin H. Phillips and If Birds Could Fly. The Colony also has a great show on tap as Desi & Cody open for Parker Millsap.
Saturday, August 31
The big rock show of the weekend is the "Rock Allegiance" Tour with Volbeat, HIM, All That Remains, and Airborne at Cox Convention Center. If you aren't into rocking that hard, you can check out Low Litas with Depth and Current at Yeti, get your country fix with Shawn James at Mercury Lounge, or get your jam on with Ego Culture at The Colony. Also on Saturday night, you can bid farewell to Brian Hughes & the Revival at Hunt Club as he prepares to make the big move to Nashville..
Sunday, September 1
Horton Records present this week's show on Guthrie Green and it starts early as Don White takes the stage at 1:30pm, followed by Luxtones, Jimmy Byfield, Jimmy Markham, and Steve Pryor Band, followed by an all-star jam. The Jazz Hall of Fame also steps up this week presenting a 5pm gig with The Begonias for an evening of American Musical standards. And to wrap your night up, it's the first Sunday of the month, so you can check out Dan Crossland hosting Songwriter's Night at Baker Street, beginning at 9pm.
The early week is quiet and allows us all to gear up for a big month of September festivals, but it all comes roaring back to life midweek, so make sure you don't overlook these hot shows...
Wednesday, September 4
Classic rock stalwarts Steely Dan return to the stage for what promises to be an amazing night of music at Brady Theater. And over just a couple of blocks, Buckcherry brings some screaming guitars and hard rock to Cain's Ballroom with Girl on Fire and Absence of Ink opening the show. Finally, if you just want to relax with some country tunes and fine songwriting, check out Chris Knight at Mercury Lounge.
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A63445