For a guy who hasn't had a record on the charts since 1976 -- and who took six years off before deciding to tour again this summer -- J.J. Cale is doing just fine, thank you. Of course, it helps when royalty checks from the likes of Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash hit the mailbox on a regular basis. The Oklahoma-born singer/songwriter/guitarist has had his music covered by everyone from Captain Beefheart and Bryan Ferry (both covered "Same Old Blues") to Chris Smither ("Magnolia") and the late Waylon Jennings ("Call Me the Breeze").
This time around, Cale is performing solo. If you've had the chance to listen to his most recent release, last year's J.J. Cale Live -- especially the solo tunes recorded at Carnegie Hall -- you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from his Pageant gig. His solo take on "After Midnight," made famous by Clapton, creates a slow, spooky vibe, and Cale's solo version of "Magnolia" showcases the distinctive, laid-back guitar style admired so much by his better-known peers.
Given Cale's reclusive personality and the fact he's going to turn 64 in December, there's no predicting when he might tour again. If you've already got plans for Friday night, maybe it's time to come up with some good excuses. Cale's concert at the Pageant promises to be one rare -- and memorable -- musical experience.