In 1984, singer/songwriter JD 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, JD 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, JD 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.
In October 2008, Souther returned with his first studio album in twenty-five years: IF THE WORLD WAS YOU. His follow-up release is his first live recording, RAIN which was recorded live at Nashville’s historic Belcourt Theatre.
The 6 song, digital only EP, gathers live versions of tunes from his comeback releases as well as new live renditions of some of his most beloved hits. A mixture of solo acoustic versions and tracks in which JD is backed by the jazz quintet from IF THE WORLD WAS YOU, RAIN is a wonderful thank you to his fans and a great representation of his current sound. From the Cubano vibe of the title track “Rain” to the stripped down jazzy take on “Silver Blue” (the original from 1976 featured jazz bass master Stanley Clarke), showcasing JD’s long love of the jazz idiom. Also featured are stand-out versions of his Top Ten hit, “You’re Only Lonely” and a wonderfully spirited take on “House of Pride” from IF THE WORLD WAS YOU.
IF THE WORLD WAS YOU and subsequently, RAIN each exhibit both a bold step forward and a return to Souther’s Amarillo, Texas roots, where the young multi-instrumentalist grew up steeped in the improvisatory jazz sensibilities of John Coltrane and Miles Davis as well as in the music of country and rock pioneers Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison, all of whose influences are evident throughout.
The former release was recorded live in the studio with a five-piece jazz ensemble (two horns, piano, bass, and drums), Souther has crafted an inventive new musical setting for his characteristically playful and literate musings on life, love, and politics.
The work of a musician at the height of his considerable powers, IF THE WORLD WAS YOU is 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.
IF THE WORLD WAS YOU is the long-awaited return of a master singer/songwriter as well as the birth of a new and relevant artist who’s creating music that is absolutely essential and entirely his own. From the age of 12, JD played jazz drums and tenor and spent hours listening to the sounds of classic jazz, and now on these two triumphant recordings he is realizing his dream of making music that mirrored the music he grew up listening to.
Twenty-five years in the making, JD Souther’s triumphant return with IF THE WORLD WAS YOU has most definitely been worth the wait.
“It’s music for everybody…human being music,” Souther muses. “The Duke said, ‘There are only two kinds of music; good music and bad music.’ I prefer good music.” Words to live by.
And now RAIN shows the master craftsman before the fans who have long cherished his craft and passion with a band reflecting his unique musical perspective today. As the digital EP hits the internet in October 2009, Souther is being honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Golden Note Award at the 47th Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards Ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.