The Eagles stand as one of the greatest American bands of all time, selling more than 150 million records—100 million in the U.S. alone. And Don Henley is one of the men responsible for such an effort, alongside co-founder the late Glenn Frey and members Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit and Bernie Leadon.
Since forming in 1971, they created such hits as ‘Hotel California’, ‘Desperado’, ‘Take It Easy’, ‘ New Kid in Town’ and you can imagine with seven studio releases there were many, many more. In a sense they helped shaped the music in the decades following their formation with their music still holding as much currency as the day it was released.
With the news of Frey’s passing in January, after complications arose from years of battling rheumatoid arthritis and colitis, the band took to the stage at the Grammy Awards alongside Jackson Browne to perform the song ‘Take It Easy’ as a tribute. At the time it was said this would be the last Eagles performance, a fitting farewell for the band that helped change a generation. Since that time, Henley has taken to the road, touring his newest album Cass Country [September 2015] throughout America – which also served as a healing time since losing friend and long-time songwriting partner Glenn Frey.
Henley will be taking this tour and his 15-piece band to Australia as part of the A Day on the Green concert series in March next year, performing songs from the Eagles and his own music and in ways doubling as a tribute to Frey.
“I know this as a fact, this is him getting over and moving on from that event. He’s been touring America and doing really well, and unfortunately these things do happen. But life goes on and he decided to keep going in the manner that he is,” A Day on the Green promoter Michael Newton said.
“He’ll play a hell of a lot of Eagles songs, and there’s a quote from [Seattle Music News] about just how impressive the show is. Because he’s got a 15-piece band and I know people who have seen the show and said it’s just crazy. He plays ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Desperado’ amongst other Eagles’ songs, as well as ‘Boys of Summer’ – which was his solo hit.”
Having seen the Eagles and Don Henley perform in previous visits to Australia, Newton can attest to the professionalism and respect Henley has with every show: “They’re total professionals. When they’re doing shows they’re insanely focused and not much goes on aside from thinking about the show. And that’s why they’re concert professionals. They really care about the production and the staging and how the shows sounding and that’s why they’re such a successful band – and they’ve got shitloads of good songs. That always helps.”
“He’s also a pretty nice guy overall: My wife was the Eagles’ publicist for about three tours and he was always really nice. There was one tour and we were about to get married and he bought us these four leather bound photo albums, really high quality. And he wrote this beautiful note, so that was really sweet. We still have them, they’re filled with photos now.”
For Henley particularly, music has always been a factor in his life. With the memory of his first experience stemming from a time when most of us don’t even attain memory. “My first memory of music is me lying in my crib and my mother softly singing as she did her housework and my grandmother singing hymns in her rocking chair and my grandad listening to his big old radio,”Don Henley says in a video about his new album.
“So there was always music in my grandparents’ house, in my house and in my dad’s car. So this album is a reflection of the sounds, and the textures and the images that I’ve carried with me for 67 years. It’s rooted in the rural America that I knew and it’s a nod to my native turf in Texas; the family, the friends, the neighbours and the countryside.”
The album, which was produced by Henley and Stan Lynch (who also co-wrote 11 tracks on the album), is a look at the internal memories and life in Texas – where Henley grew up. If Henley’s life as a Southerner could be captured in a musical release, Cass Country would be it. “It’s an album for people who have done some living and some thinking. It’s about the circular nature of life,” he continues.
Regardless of Don Henley’s music as a soloist (who could forgot ‘Boys of Summer’?) or his work with the Eagles, his performance alongside his 15-piece band at A Day on the Green is truly a thing to be seen. Jewel and Richard Clapton will also be supports on the day.
“When you see them play, they’re that perfect that there’s just no fault in the show. At the gig the band are just so bloody tight. If people want to see world-class musicianship, this show will be that,” Newton says.
Get tickets and information via the website.
When & Where: Mt Duneed Estate, Surf Coast – March 18
Written by Amanda Sherring