J.J. Cale: Stay Around (Because) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020  

J.J. Cale

Stay Around


May 03, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

For how prolific J.J. Cale's career and output was, his music, which is predominantly tinged with elements of hushed Americana, standard blues-fare, and what Cale has mostly been known for, the Tulsa Sound, has always felt slightly inert—J.J. Cale always remained J.J. Cale, his music always gentle, expertly crafted and produced, and breezier than any of his blues-slashing contemporaries. His name somehow exists comfortably outside of the "classic rock" canon, and for good reason: seldom has Cale been a disruptive force. Instead, he slid from album to album with a jovial presence that is smothered with subtle guitar expertise, oftentimes hidden far beneath the mix of his lightly bouncing rhythm sections.

Cale's latest studio album (and his fifteenth), Stay Around, a posthumous collection of previously unreleased songs, finds the late Tulsa Sound veteran dabbling in straight-up roots-rock, but also toying with a bizarre lo-fi approach, most notably on "Winter Snow" and "My Baby Blues," while other tracks are crisp and sharp, like the title track "Stay Around," one of the bluesier endeavors of Stay Around.

Cale's mood on Stay Around is as careless as it ever was, paying elocutionary homages to his debut album and magnum opus, Naturally, a landmark of gentle roots-rock and slick blues that carved Cale's name into stone as a master of the style. Fans of Cale's best work will be pleased with the end result of Stay Aroundtracks such as "Tell you 'Bout Her" and "Go Downtown" recall the same laid-back and leisurely allure of Cale's first two studio albums, while "Oh My My" may sound bizarre and slightly out of place; nevertheless, the aforementioned track is smooth and granular, touching on aesthetic territory Cale has largely dodged, borrowing loose frameworks of French and Bossa Nova guitar playing. Stay Around is a fantastic addition to the late Cale's 15-album discography, showcasing the wide breadth of Cale's oeuvre. (www.jjcale.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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