J.D. Souther is best known for his work with the Eagles, as co-writer of such hits as “Best of My Love”, “Heartache Tonight”, and “New Kid in Town”. His new album If the World Was You, his first in 24 years, could not be more different in sound than his previous soft country-rock stylings. Souther recorded his latest with a five-piece jazz combo. The use of horns and Latin rhythms may seem odd for a man who helped developed the classic California rock sound, but they flow naturally here as Souther and the band create a lively album full of smart reflections on the dramatic incidents that form the pivotal moments of our lives.
Two dozen years later, and Souther is still a master craftsman. The music is particularly playful even when the sentiments run deep and heavy, as on the 13-minute closing opus “The Secret Handshake of Fate”. The ten other tracks are shorter, but no less compelling — even if Souther’s just trying to convince a waitress with a sexy walk to come home with him at closing time.