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Don Henley on New Album ‘Cass County’: ‘It’s Primarily a Record for Grown-Ups’

Don Henley
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

It’s been nearly 13 years since Don Henley released a solo album, which has given him plenty of time to think — and as it happens, his next release sounds like it’ll find the longtime Eagle in a fairly reflective mood.

While making the promotional rounds for the new documentary ‘History of the Eagles,’ making its home video debut today (April 30), Henley stopped for a chat with Canada’s JAM! Music — and after looking back at his band’s distinguished history, he took a few moments to clue listeners in on what they can expect when his next solo set, ‘Cass County,’ arrives in September.

“That’s the name of the rural county I come from in northeast Texas,” Henley said of the title. “The album was recorded mostly in Nashville, with some additional recording done in Texas and California. The material on it is a reflection of a part of my musical foundation — songs I heard on the radio and on my parents’ record player in the ’50s and ’60s. It’s not exactly a ‘retro’ album, but neither does it reflect much of what’s going on in ‘modern’ music.”

Continued Henley, “It’s primarily a record for grown-ups — people who’ve done some living. It explores the landscape of memory and experience. There are a few cover songs on the album, but most of the content is new, original material.”

Reminded of his days as a Reagan-excoriating songwriter during the ’80s, Henley was asked how much of the new record explored political themes. “The mood of the country has changed since the ’60s,” he explained. “I think there’s always a place for a little social commentary — after all, that is one of the basic principles of rock, folk, blues and country music — but you can’t hit people over the head with it; you can comment, but you can’t preach.”

In other words, don’t expect another ‘End of the Innocence’ in 2013. As Henley put it, “The new album is very candid, very honest, and covers a wide range of moods and topics, but above all, it’s musical. All the guest singers and players did an amazing job. It’s a stellar ensemble of artists and I’m proud and grateful to have all that talent on my record. Everyone was very generous.”

Next: Top 10 Eagles Songs

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