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 four critically acclaimed solo albums -- “John David Souther,” (1972) “Black Rose,” (1976), “You’re Only Lonely” (1979) and “Home By Dawn” (1984) -- 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 wanted to be a better musician and songwriter. I wanted to just stay home, practice, read, and write.”
Relocating to Nashville (after Northern California, New York, Japan, and Ireland for half a year), 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, Raul Malo, 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. And now Souther returns with his first studio album in twenty-five: IF THE WORLD WAS YOU.
IF THE WORLD WAS YOU is both a bold step forward and a return to Souther’s Amarillo, Texas roots, where the young multi-instrumentalist grew up listening closely to Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and steeped in the improvisational sensibilities of John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk 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. Recorded live in the studio fronting a five-piece 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.
Twenty-five years in the making, JD Souther’s triumphant return with IF THE WORLD WAS YOU has most definitely been worth the wait.