J.D. Souther Returns After 25 Years

 

 

And thankfully
ditching the seventies SoCal sound too…

By Fred Mills

 

Back in the ‘70s, songwriter J.D. Souther had huge success
writing for others including the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt, but
thanks to the vicissitudes of the music industry and a number of pitfalls of
his own making, Southern never really had the enduring solo success that many
observers felt he deserved. (That horrendous, ego-soaked Souther Hillman Furay
Band project he mounted with Chris Hillman and Richie Furay didn’t do a whole
lot to endear him to the record-buying public either.)

 

As we all know, however, in this biz there are many second
acts. Frequently, third and fourth. And Souther’s got a new album, his first in
nearly a quarter century. Titled If the
World Was You
it’s due Oct. 14 from Slow Curve, which is described by the
label as “both a bold step forward and a return to Souther’s Amarillo, Texas
roots… an inventive new musical setting for his characteristically playful and
literate musings on life, love, and politics… whip-smart, adventurous,
seductive, and shot through with the sublime longing that characterizes
Souther’s finest work.  And his voice — one of the most plaintive and
soulful in rock ‘n roll — has never sounded so immediate and so powerful.”

 

Well, aside from all that hype, Souther does have a deeply soulful voice, and his songwriting talent is
without question. The album was recorded live in the studio with a five-piece
jazz ensemble — two horns, piano, bass, drums — so it should raise a few
eyebrows among people expecting a recasting of the laid-back SoCal
folk/country-rock sound he’s most frequently associated with. Thank God there
are no Eagles guest-starring on it, too.

 

Some Souther background:

 

 

 

In 1984, singer/songwriter J.D.
Souther followed the chart-topping successes of “You’re Only Lonely” and the
James Taylor duet “Her Town Too” with Home
By Dawn
, an album that Rolling Stone declared his best, with songs that “rank right up there with his forlorn
classics ‘Run like a Thief’ and ‘Faithless Love.’” And then, in 1985, after a
brief tour in support of the album, J.D. Souther disappeared.

 

One of the principal architects of
the Southern California country-rock sound, Souther famously played a key role
in the formation of the Eagles and co-wrote their hits “Heartache
Tonight,”  “Victim of Love,” “New Kid In Town,” and “Best of My Love,” as
well as writing Linda Ronstadt’s classics “Faithless Love,” “Simple Man, Simple
Dream,” and Prisoner in Disguise.”  A
highly sought-after songwriter and session man, Souther also released three
critically acclaimed solo albums — “John
David Souther
,” (1972) “Black Rose,”
(1976), and “You’re Only Lonely
(1979) — and two albums as a member of The Souther Hillman Furay Band, the
super group which united Souther with Poco’s Richie Furay and the Byrds’ Chris
Hillman.

 

But in 1985, after countless hit
records, Grammy nominations, American Music Awards, and gold and platinum
albums, J.D. Souther decided to walk away from his solo career.  According
to Souther, “I just wanted to be a good songwriter.  I wanted to just stay
home and write.” Relocating to Nashville, Souther wrote for and with artists as
diverse as India.Arie, Brooks & Dunn, Jimmy Buffet, Glen Campbell, Joe Cocker,
Crosby Stills & Nash, Diamond Rio, Dixie Chicks, Don Henley, One Flew
South, Roy Orbison, Bernadette Peters, Bonnie Raitt, George Strait, Brian
Wilson, Trisha Yearwood, Warren Zevon, and most recently the newly re-formed
Eagles, who chose Souther’s protest song “How Long” as the debut single from
their first studio album in twenty-eight years.

 

 

 

 

Track listing:

 

1) I’ll Be Here At Closing Time 3:38

2) House Of Pride 3:16

3) Journey Down The Nile
4:46

4) One More Night 4:18

5) In My Arms Tonight 4:22

6) Rain 5:03

7)  A Chorus of Your Own 6:19

8) The Border Guard 4:26

9) Brown (Osaka
Story) 5:49

10) Come On Up 4:20

11) The Secret Handshake Of Fate 12:56

 

 

 

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