Just Heard: Cass County by Don Henley

Okay, so I didn’t hear all of Cass County but still.  I heard enough to know I love it and will be buying it.  ASAP.

I don’t commit to buying music easily anymore.  Used to in my younger years when I would spend much of my paper delivery monies, allowance, or even real job paycheques on buying 8-tracks or cassettes.  But now I do a lot of ‘window shopping’ for music through radio stations, SiriusXM, and Rdio.com.  And I save up my hard-earned money to hear it live, going to several concerts a year and some music festivals too.  But it takes something that touches my heart, blows my mind, or sweeps me off my feet to get me to invest in a CD or vinyl.  Gee, seems like my relationship with music has mirrored my relationships with men over the years.  Interesting sidebar note to self there.

Back to topic … Cass County is the new record from Don Henley, who was just awarded the “Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Americana Music Association in Nashville last week.  I heard a new album was on its way a few months back and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival.  The Eagles have been my favourite band since I was a wee little girl, having loved Take It To The Limit right from its release (you do the cryptic math) and it has a permanent spot in the soundtrack to my life.  I have also been blessed with seeing the Eagles live twice, once on Don’s 60th birthday.

A few days ago, SiriusXM ran a show on their Deep Tracks channel called “Town Hall”.  It featured Don and his new music, as well as a few of his classics.  The 2-hour show was moderated by Henley’s longtime friend and collaborator in both directions, Bob Seger, and was recorded at ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.  If you’re a SiriusXM subscriber, look for it.  There are a few more runs of the show on various channels over the next few days and I suspect it will be added to their On Demand listings.  Your ears will thank you for it.
 

“A legendary voice returns to his roots”

Cass County is a country album, pure and simple.  Here’s the official trailer for it:


 

I can’t say enough great things about what I’ve heard so far.  But others are much better versed at music reviews, so I’ll let them do the talking for me:

Rolling Stone
“Don Henley was country before it was cool”

USA Today
“Cass County draws on the variety of musical styles Henley heard over the airwaves”

American Songwriter
“Arguably Henley’s finest solo work and, at its best, music that stands with the Eagles’ finest country influenced moments”

 

Cass County includes collaborations with Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, and hell yeah, Merle Haggard.  Appearances are also made by Vince Gill, Allison Krauss, Lucinda Williams, Trisha Yearwood, and Miranda Lambert.  And just to add some country-rock glam to it, the one and only pouty, way-too-big-lipped, hip-grinder of a rock icon, Mick Jagger lends his voice to the album too.  Mick, along with Miranda Lambert, share the spotlight with Don on Bramble Rose.  Outstanding arrangement of vocal harmonies on that track in my not-so-humble opinion.

If the music wasn’t enough of a gift from Don, I also got some writing inspiration from him.  Here are a few of the things he had to say in recent interviews about the new release and his music career overall:

“This time, I went a little easier on myself:  just be honest and write what comes out.  It worked out fine.”

“People ask me, why are you still doing this at your age?  It’s because I have to.”

“It keeps me from going nuts.”

“There’s a magical middle ground that if you hit it, you can write and you can write well.  I’m never going to be Paul Simon or Randy Newman, but I’m going to be me and I always aspire to do better work.”

 
Be sure to visit Don’s YouTube channel for some videos for songs off of the new album  I loved all that I heard in the Town Hall session and on the YouTube site.  But nothing, not a thing, beats hearing him sing with Dolly Parton.  Take a listen to When I Stop Dreaming featuring Dolly below.  It is spectacularness.  Yes, I did put the proofread button on before I posted this, and yes, I made that word up.  Ordinary words don’t fit extraordinary artists, music, or lyrics.
 

 

For more about Don Henley and Cass County, head on over to his website.  The site has tour details on it, which starts next week.  He’s due in Toronto, just an hour from me, in November.  Sadly, I just went to a concert last week so the line in my budget for concerts hasn’t been refreshed yet with new funds so I’ll have to miss out.  Here’s to hoping he makes a return to my neck of the woods at a later juncture in his tour.  I just transferred money into savings especially for it.  Don – did you make a note of that?  (just saying in case he ever actually reads this post)

Cass County was was released this past Friday September 25, 2015.  Look for it on Don’s website, your favourite online digital store, large music retailers, or better yet your independent local record store.  Can’t beat the vinyl.  Especially with a voice like Henley’s.
 


Listen to music. It could save your soul. Be kind. It could save someone’s world. Wear a hat. It could save your life.

 
 

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