When you think of American singer/songwriter JD Souther you are thinking of a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee. This guy is responsible for penning some of The Eagles’ biggest hits, including Heartache Tonight, Best Of My Love and New Kid In Town. We can’t forget to mention his commendable work with Linda Rondstadt, writing songs such as Faithless Love, their duet Prisoner In Disguise and many more. This year marks JD’s 43rd year since becoming a solo artist and he’s back with his 8th studio album, Tenderness, his first release in three years.
The stringed introduction to Come What May seemingly takes you back a few decades straight into a classical film. A beautiful arrangement blooms into what can be best described as a Paul McCartney-esque ballad that soothes the soul. As expected Souther’s talent as a lyricist shines through; Something in the Dark has a slight yet persistent beat and the acoustic guitar is played wonderfully. The melody and the lyrics carry the song like a torch: this album is shaping up to be an intimate work of art. The melancholy This House is a tear-jerking number about not having your special somebody around, whereas the arrangement of Let’s Take A Walk is borderline jazz with more of a soft rock vibe that’s smooth to the ear. Dance Real Slow brings you piercing yet wondrous strings and jazzed up acoustic guitars, and once again Souther’s knack for storytelling wins you over.
Show Me What You Mean delves into the swingy side of things and JD’s higher vocal gives the track height. The piano leads you into the ambient Horses In Blue which has a more deep and meaningful tone to it; we have all had a hold of somebody special, and one day they disappear and we are desperate for a replica. Need Somebody captures that moment of desperation successfully with emotive vocals and a relatable concept. The percussive introduction to Downtown (Before The War) makes way for an interesting story of being out on the town before the war drove the atmosphere away, with a narrative written with heart and skill. Final instalment All Your Wishes brings the album to a heartfelt close, but the overall message is more optimistic. It’s a fine way to end a collection of intimately written and produced tracks.
JD Souther truly is one of the world’s reigning kings of song-writing. Tenderness is a collection of songs where intimacy meets experience, and Souther still has an undeniable talent when it comes to putting pen to paper and paper to song after five plus decades in the business. His voice doesn’t seem to have aged with him either: people of all ages can listen to this album and take something away from it, particularly because it’s written in a relatable manner. It is very clear that the artists who have worked with Souther over the years had chosen to write with one of the best. You hang on every word when you listen to Tenderness and you latch onto every melody with fondness. It’s one of 2015’s finest albums so far.