JD Souther is one of the principal architects of the Southern California country-rock sound. He has penned hits for himself as well as The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and many others. After a twenty-five year “retirement” from music, Souther’s return has been fruitful: three records in the last five years, recent induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and a supporting role in the ABC drama “Nashville.”
Souther, born in Detroit and raised in Texas, began his songwriting career in the late 1960s upon moving to Los Angeles, where he moved in with fellow Detroit native Glen Frey. Souther and Frey played as a duo, and they briefly played together backing up Souther’s then-girlfriend Linda Ronstadt. Souther preferred to work on his own and chose not to join Ronstadt’s band; that backing band became The Eagles. The Eagles have included at least one Souther tune on nearly every record they have released. Souther released four critically-acclaimed solo records in the 1970s, finally hitting it big in 1979 with his single “You’re Only Lonely.”
In 1984, Souther followed his chart-topping hit 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.” And then, in 1985, after a brief tour in support of the album, JD Souther disappeared.
Twenty-five years later, JD Souther returned to recording with 2008′s If the World Was You, displaying his jazzier side like his early records couldn’t. In October 2009, Souther was honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Golden Note Award at the 47th Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards Ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Souther was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame earlier this year. Souther’s latest project, Midnight in Tokyo, is a live EP featuring new songs and Souther’s new jazz ensemble.
Also be sure to check out JD Souther on the hit ABC TV show Nashville.
There are outlaws, and there are outlaws. Some practice the pose and cultivate the image, though seldom dirty their soft, bourgeois hands with anything actually outside the law. When they do, it is often despicable, irresponsible or just plain mundane. The Actual Wolf, however, is a real outlaw and has pled guilty to it. Between the bust and before the trial AW recorded a pair of EPs, each showing ‘another side of the Wolf’. The first is USA, an everyman’s acoustic album that channels both Woody and Zimmerman on a smuggler’s road trip on the cop-laden corridor of the I-80. The second—Lightning & the Wolf— conjures a 30-something’s symphony to Gawd, a rock EP at times so ethereal that it floats like smoke up into the aether, at others so earthy & grounded you can almost feel the parole. This is not music that pleads for forgiveness—the man has given his freedom as a sacrament at the altar of his beliefs. Rather, these are songs of redemption. Actual Wolf has paid a price, but like many deals with devils, seems to have come out the greater for it.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Souther did more than sketch out the emotional landscape for the introspective West Coast country-rock sound of the 1970s. He set the template.” -No Depression
“A pivotal member of the L.A. country-rock posse of the Seventies” -Rolling Stone