Singer-songwriter JD Souther, who was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2013, may best be known as a writer of hits for others including The Eagles (“Best of My Love” & “Heartache Tonight”) and Linda Ronstadt, yet his own albums, although critically acclaimed, never brought notoriety. That may change this year when Omnivore Recordings launches a reissue initiative that started with Souther’s first album, John David Souther, being released on January 8th.
Even though John David Souther is over forty years old, it would fit, with incredible ease, into the Americana landscape of today. Souther, who grew up in Amarillo and later moved to California (where he discovered classic country via Ronstadt), has an album with a definite 70’s feel, but one that remains timeless due to its thoughtful songwriting, and blending of country, rock and blues.
From the country laced opener about getting over a lover (“The Fast One”) where he sings, “I’m tired of all this tragedy/I’m giving you back your misery” to the stories of infidelity (“Run Like a Thief”) and loneliness (“It’s The Same”) Souther’s vocals melt, and connect, with a realism and truthfulness that resonate. Throughout the album, Souther highlights the blues (“White Wing”), gospel (“Jesus in ¾ Time”) and rock (“How Long”), rounding out the main portion of the album with two ballads: the reflective “Out To Sea” on which he sings “Well I might never sing a song that’s good enough….to chase the doubts and fears away” and the tender closing track, “Lullaby.” In addition to the album's ten original tracks, it also contains seven "must listens": previously unissued demos that offer the insightful evolution of some of the songs.
Sometimes people tend to let reissues pass them by, thinking the songs are outdated, or taking the “been there done that” mentality. Don’t let that thinking influence you here. Look to the past to see how it influenced where we are now, expand your musical horizons, discover musical treasures and give Souther’s debut the attention it may have missed the first time round.
Omnivore Recordings will release Souther’s other albums, Black Rose and Home by Dawn, on February 12, 2016.