Among the key architects of the country-rock sound that came out of Southern California in the early '70s, John David Souther wrote or co-wrote a series of tunes that became hits for the likes of the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, and subsequently standards of the genre. Souther's songs mostly examine the melancholy laments of "hopeless romantics" and perpetually broken "restless hearts," found within "New Kid in Town." On Natural History (eOne), his second album after a quarter-century recording and performance hiatus, Souther, his high tenor in prime form, revisits many of his familiar classics, imbuing them with an appropriate, wee-hours glow. The arrangements are lean, usually anchored to piano or acoustic guitar, and only parenthetically country, instead having an evocative jazz vibe etched by a superb cast of musicians. They range from Dobro ace Jerry Douglas to jazz hounds Rod McGaha (whose trumpet echoes Miles Davis on "The Sad Café") and Jeff Coffin (whose alto sax slithers through the Ronstadt hit "Prisoner in Disguise"), plus versatile John Jorgenson, whose classical Spanish guitar gives a touch of Segovia to "New Kid." Coming apart at the seams never sounded so sweet.
Sun., Jan. 29, 7 p.m., 2012
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