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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cincinnati Responded to MLK's Call for Help in Selma




By Steven Rosen
Cincinnati Enquirer, 3-15-15

Fifty years ago this month, prompted by the March 7 “Bloody Sunday” police attack on non-violent African-American marchers in a Voting Rights campaign in Selma, Ala., Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called for “religious leaders from all over the nation” to come to Selma to help in the campaign to end the state-sanctioned racist roadblocks to black voting
That call resonated in Cincinnati, especially but not exclusively among religious leaders. Pro-civil rights secular activists, black and white, also rallied support. “We all knew each other,” said Tom Luken, a Democrat who was then a City Council member and went to Selma. (He later became mayor and a U.S. Representative.)
And they had key support from the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a close ally of King’s who had moved to Cincinnati from Birmingham in 1961 to be pastor of the West End’s Revelation Baptist Church. (He died in 2011.)
But he had stayed active in the long, early-1960s struggle to end segregation in Birmingham, and had been in Selma off and on in 1965, according to Andrew Manis, author of the Shuttlesworth biography, “A Fire You Can’t Put Out.”
Shuttlesworth flew here from Birmingham on March 13 to lead a march in support of Selma protestors that drew 5,000 people. It had the support of the Catholic Interracial Council, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Interdenominational Ministers Alliance, First Unitarian Church and the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.
But the key event for local activists occurred on March 21, when some 13 of them left Lunken Airport early in the morning for Selma to participate in that day’s start of the long-delayed march to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. It was the culmination of the Selma campaign. The Cincinnati contingent walked for several hours that day, and then returned home as planned – but not before a scare – that evening.
Looking at files from The Enquirer and American Jewish Archives at Cincinnati’s Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC), as well as talking to some of those who went to Selma from Cincinnati, there emerges somewhat contradictory or at least incomplete information about that journey.
That might partly be because, as participant Yvonne Robertson (wife of Cincinnati Royals basketball star Oscar Robertson) said, “With something that important and traumatic, you forget things.”
A March 21, 1965, Enquirer story about the participation of Robertson and Terry Embry (wife of another Royal star, Wayne Embry) on the charter flight said that Rev. Richard Isler of Cincinnati Council of Churches worked with University of Cincinnati Professor Robert Hoover to organize it.
Those who were coming – besides Robertson, Embry and Hoover – were listed as UC Professor Sherwin Cooper; UC faculty member James Gordon; campus ministers John Clark and Ann Drake; Rabbi Albert Goldman of Wise Temple; Rev. David Mills of Our Saviour Episcopal Church; Rev. Clinton Reynolds of Ninth Street Baptist Church; UC librarian Jan Gustke; and UC students Harrison Sims and Gene Wilson.
But Luken said that William Bowen – the local NAACP head who would become a Democratic state representative and senator – and Abe Goldhagen – a NAACP activist who owned the Wein Bar in Avondale – contacted him about the flight.
In a 1981 Enquirer interview with Goldhagen, who like Bowen is now deceased, he said, “The group that went to Selma, Ala., for a freedom march in the 1960s gathered at the bar the night before.”
Robertson remembers Luken and Bowen aboard the flight, but also mentions Rabbi Victor E. Reichert of Rockdale Temple.
American Jewish Archives files mention that two other Cincinnati rabbis came later in March – Charles Mintz of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Murray Blackman of Rockdale Temple. Also going at some point was Norbert Samuelson, director of University of Cincinnati’s Hillel organization. And a local Unitarian historian said that the minister of St. John’s Unitarian Church in Clifton, Clark Wells, rushed to Selma soon after a Unitarian minister, James Reeb, was attacked by racists there on March 11 and died on March 13.
When the Cincinnati group flew into Selma on March 21, they at first didn’t find a ride waiting for them. Here again, memories differ. Luken remembers the group being picked up by a well-known Cincinnati activist already in Selma, the late Lucy Green, known for her red hair. She had driven to Selma earlier with Marjorie Parham, publisher of Cincinnati Herald, at Shuttlesworth’s request.
But Parham says it was actually her who picked up the Cincinnatians at the airport – at least as many as would fit in her car. “Lucy and I drove down (earlier) and we worked helping to feed people and house people, because Selma isn’t a very large town,” Parham said. “When the marching actually started, we came home.”
On the first day of the 54-mile Selma-to-Montgomery march, the Cincinnatians were supposed to take a bus from the designated stopping point to a flight home from Montgomery. But the ride wasn’t there. “We found somebody who had a truck and we rented it,” Luken recalled. “That was a very interesting ride. It was an open truck. We stood.”
It’s estimated that 25,000 marchers – blacks and whites, clergy and secular supporters – were on hand at the 54-mile march’s conclusion on March 25. And they heard Shuttlesworth speak before King did. Referring to the Alabama State Capitol that was the seat of political power in Alabama, he said, “Our goal is not out here, but in there where Jefferson Davis stood.”
There was another important Cincinnati connection to the Selma to Montgomery march. An Associated Press photograph shows a goateed, white-haired man between Shuttlesworth and King in the procession – all are wearing Hawaiian lei.
He is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who at the time taught at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary and was nationally known. Born in Poland in 1907 and educated in Germany before being deported back by the Nazis, he escaped the Holocaust in 1940 because the president of HUC, Julian Morgenstern, fought to get U.S. visas for him and ten other college professors, plus five rabbinical students, to come from Europe to the school’s Cincinnati campus.
Heschel taught here through the war years. He also met his future wife in Cincinnati, before moving to New York in 1946.
“My father always raised me with a feeling that HUC had made my life possible by saving his, and I grew up knowing the name of Julian Morgenstern as someone very special,” said his daughter, Susannah Heschel, who teaches Jewish studies at Dartmouth College. “His name was always spoken with awe in our household.”
(Associated Press photo used in Enquirer's 3-15-15 story)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is It the Best or Worst of Times for Film Restoration?

Is It the Best or the Worst Time for Film Restoration?

By Steven Rosen | IndiewireMarch 11, 2015 at 11:05AM
Some good news on the film restoration front: Satyajit Ray's "Apu Trilogy" is getting a 4K restoration and Janus Films is planning a theatrical release.
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Satyajit Ray
image courtesy of Janus FilmsSatyajit Ray
Charles Dickens could have been referring to the current state of film restoration when he wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
For, as was made clear – literally – at the recent Cinema Revival: A Festival of Film Restoration at Columbus, Ohio's Wexner Center for the Arts, proponents of digital restoration believe the high quality and clarity of 4K (4,000 pixels per horizontal scan line) resolution is making it the new aesthetic standard. 
Its rise has been recent. But it comes at a time of falling sales for DVDs, and also when many people are more interested in the convenience of watching movies anywhere – on their smart phones and in cars – than in seeing them in optimum conditions. 
Lee Kline, technical director for The Criterion Collection, told festival attendees that with the growing adoption of the 4K standard, "We can finally call these (true) restorations." 
That's because 4K digital scanning of source material, preferably but not always old film negatives, comes close to the same image quality as traditional 35-millimeter film prints. And it is twice that of the previous (and still prevalent) high standard for digital restorations, 2K. Criterion's first 4K release, "A Hard Day’s Night," came just last year.
"If you're trying to preserve something with the highest quality restoration, you have to be working with 4K," Kline said.
"Pather Panchali"
Image courtesy of Janus Films"Pather Panchali"
One point made at the festival was that the term "film" is becoming a misnomer – new film negatives of digitally restored titles are not always made now.
Kline had arrived in Columbus via a 16-hour flight from Mumbai, the latest international trip in his current project to supervise a 4K restoration of the three films comprising the late Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s classic "Apu Trilogy"– 1955's "Pather Panchali," (1955) "Aparajito" (1956) and "Apur Sansar" (1959), also known as "The World of Apu."
Kline screened brief clips showing how the ongoing restoration is helping save Ray's films, since parts of the source material had been damaged or lost. The odyssey to restore the film began with Ray's lifetime achievement Academy Award in 1992. The following year, the films, en route from India to Los Angeles to be preserved, were ironically damaged in a fire at Hendersons Film Laboratories in South London. Despite being damaged, the films were shipped to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, where they were stored in vaults for the next 20 years (Read Kline's essay on how he pulled off the restoration here).
Janus Films is planning a theatrical release of "Apu Trilogy,” presumably using many theaters (like the Wexner’s) with 4K digital projectors. Criterion will follow with consumer discs.
But if all this is positive news for restoration, there's a downside. The time and money increases with 4K scanning – as does the "writing" of information to hard drives. Yet while regular DVD/Blu-ray players and high-definition TVs can play 4K discs, it's only at their standard resolution (although the quality of what they’re showing is much better). There is a growing market for 4K ultra-high definition televisions, especially for home theaters, but they are still expensive.
"The plan is to have people see things and buy things – so there are marketing concerns," said Grover Crisp, Sony Pictures’ executive vice president in charge of film restoration and digital mastering, during his festival presentation. "And the market for DVD and Blu-ray has gone [down] in recent years, so they're not putting out so many titles." 
Still, Crisp expressed hope that the existing cinematheques equipped with 4K projectors – such as the Wexner and Indiana University's Cinema in the Midwest – will help build a growing theatrical circuit for such restorations.
"Days of Heaven"
Paramount Pictures"Days of Heaven"
At the festival, Sony provided two recent 4K restorations of black-and-white classics – Luchino Visconti's "Sandra," which stars Claudia Cardinale and debuted at the 2013 Venice Film Festival, where the then-new film won the Golden Lion in 1965; and Howard Hawks' classic 1939 "Only Angels Have Wings," with Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth and Jean Arthur. 
The former, Crisp said, was restored photochemically about 12 years ago, but all the prints were unsteady – the originals were made on unsteady printers and couldn't be corrected. Now, with digital restoration, "We were able to stabilize these images," he said. 
And "Angels" partly needed to await digital restoration to repair damage to its negative, since Crisp could recreate missing frames by "stealing" information from the surrounding ones.
Kline shared some fascinating "war stories" about working with the creators of films that Criterion had restored. He recalled that Terrence Malick insisted on reducing the color saturation of "Days of Heaven" during a digital restoration. 
Because the film had been hailed on its 1979 release for its brilliant color, Kline questioned him. Malick refused to reconsider. "I realized he was right – the film has a better look without it," Kline said.
And on last year’s 2K restoration of Liliana Cavani’s 1974 "The Night Porter," Kline said he wanted to remove a production mistake – a hair that got on a lens during a key shot. "I said we probably have the technology to remove it. She said, 'You know what? It's part of the movie,'" he said.
THIS ARTICLE IS RELATED TO: Satyajit RayCriterion CollectionCriterionRestorationJanus Films

Monday, March 23, 2015

From the Archives: Mavis Staples on 'You're Not Alone' Album




Mavis Staples on You're Not Alone
From Blurt Magazine
2010

By Steven Rosen

Mavis Staples acknowledges she’s had a run of good fortune since recovering from the saddest period in her life – the death in 2000 of her father, Staple Singers patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples. And her achievements are continuing with the release of her newest album, You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy at Chicago’s The Loft, his band’s studio.

While Staples – who has one of the strongest, clearest and most empathetic voices in the history of gospel-infused soul music – had been recording occasional solo albums during her career; her heart, soul and identity were wrapped up in being a member of the family gospel/soul group started by her father. She’d been singing with them for 50 years, since a girl, when he died at age 84. So she felt lost and depressed.

But Staples rebounded by signing with Anti-, a label with a keen talent for reviving the careers of older “legacy” artists. And her 2007 We’ll Never Turn Back, in which she and producer Ry Cooder revisited the Civil Rights Era spiritual/protest songs of the Staple Singers, brought her renewed attention. A related follow-up, Live: Hope at the Hideout, earned the 71-year-old Staples her first Grammy nomination.

Now comes You Are Not Alone. Staples didn’t know Tweedy until he showed up at her show being recorded at Chicago’s Hideout and introduced himself. Soon after, he sent word he wanted to produce her next album. She acquainted herself with his material and was impressed. Wilco reminded her of the Band, whose “The Weight” the Staple Singers memorably performed (with the Band) in The Last Waltz.  

“He said, ‘Mavis, I listen to you all the time and I’m really grateful to be producing you,’” Staples explains, during a telephone interview. “And I said, ‘Well, Tweedy, you don’t know how blessed you make me feel at my age and at this time in my career that a young man like Jeff Tweedy’” – here she interjects an aside, “a genius, I know he’s one,” and then continues – ‘”would want to work with me.’

“I just rejoice, I feel like the Lord sends people to you if you are worthy,” she explains. “I’ve been good, I treat everybody right, treat my neighbors right, even the tramp on the street I have time to talk to. So if the Lord has tested me, he has seen I’m worthy of whatever gifts he’s sending to me.”

For the album, Tweedy compiled a list of material he thought perfect for Staples. Those included two written by her father  (“You Don’t Knock” and “Downward Road”), two uplifting blues tunes (Rev. Gary Davis’ “I Belong to the Band” and Little Milton’s “We’re Gonna Make It”), three songs by premier contemporary composers (Randy Newman’s “Losing You,” Allen Toussaint’s “Last Train” and John Fogerty’s “Wrote A Song For Everyone,” reminiscent of “The Weight”) plus some traditional gospel selections.

And he wrote two songs for Staples – the funky “Only the Lord Knows” and the quietly soulful and compassionate title song, meant to console about recovering from difficult times. While Staples’ band recorded with her, Tweedy played some acoustic guitar and bass, and Wilco’s Patrick Sansone added keyboards and vibes. On the a cappella “Wonderful Savior,” singers Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor and Donny Gerrard joined in.

In press notes, Tweedy explains his motivation in producing Staples. “Mavis is the walking embodiment of undaunted spirit and courage. She’s an ever-forward looking, positive example for all human beings. And she sounds like she’s in the prime of her life.”

For the inspirational title song, Tweedy saved writing it until last. He composed the music first, one night giving Staples a disc to hear the melody, and promised he’d have lyrics written the next day when she returned to the studio.


“So when we got back there the next day, he had these beautiful lyrics,” Staples recalls. “And I said, ‘Oh, my God, this is the most beautiful song I have ever sang.’ I actually had to fight back tears, because when I’m singing the song it’s like a little movie in my head. I could see who needed to hear it and what time it is in their lives. We’re living in trying times, and with a song like this, anyone who hears it will say, ‘She’s singing that song just for me.’ Hopefully, that will lift them up, because the song comforts you.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Triumph of Bob Dylan's 'Shadows in the Night'


By Steven Rosen

Good God! After all these years and all those albums, Bob Dylan still retains the power to surprise us and reinvent himself with his music.

When Shadows in the Night was announced last year, it sounded like another of Dylan's late-career oddities -- like his Christmas album or his cameo appearance on Pawn Stars.

Surely he couldn't be entirely serious about recording an album of moody pop ballads previously sung with finesse by Frank Sinatra? When you think of Dylan, you think of singer-songwriter. You don't think of "romantic crooner." Yet songs like "I'm a Fool to Want You," "That Lucky Old Sun," "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Stay With Me" (not the Faces' song) demand crooning.

Making the just-released project (on longtime label Columbia) more challenging, with age (he's now 73), Dylan's voice has become more grizzled and harsh. The bluesy country-swing music his band specializes in sometimes seems designed to cover his singing up, at least live in concert. So the first surprise of Shadows in the Night is how good Dylan's voice sounds on these 10 tracks. That's an understatement -- there is beauty in his singing. Gentleness. Soul.

There is also deliberateness to his enunciation and pacing, which frankly may surprise many. And that voice isn't auto-tuned -- he and his band recorded all the songs live in the studio, many with single takes. There were no overdubs.

It sounds as if he is aiming to sing higher than normal, or at least lighter and more smoothly than he has done on anything since Nashville Skyline. Yet, unlike that record, there's nothing affected or artificially stylized about the voice. When he sings the melody, holds his notes or emphasizes phrasing, he just sounds comfortable and relaxed with his choices. But he's thoroughly engaged.

He doesn't mumble his way through or growl ominously. As a result, this album is touching and smitten with the dreamy, longing quality of the source material. But its quietude haunts. It's a bit like watching an old Astaire musical on TCM in the middle of the night. From the guy who sang "Love Sick" and "Not Dark Yet," that's quite a feat.

He isn't perfect at it, obviously. There are times when the pitch wanders and his singing gets a little unsteady. But then, this gives lived-in truth and melancholy reflection to the slower songs, especially those here like "Autumn Leaves" (originally a French song to which Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics and Sinatra recorded in 1956) and "Full Moon and Empty Arms" (recorded by Sinatra in 1945, the same year written by Buddy Kaye and Ted Mossman) that reflect upon loss or regret.

Too, Dylan is full in on this project -- he produced it. He's convinced that now is the time for his voice turn to these tunes. (He has on special occasion sung a pop standard, such as "I'm in the Mood for Love," or written in that style, before.) And the "shadows" in the album title have meaning. He's going where these songs -- or at least this kind of sophisticatedly wistful, elegantly written adult pop music -- apparently affected him in his youth. He is exploring them as if they were a series of dreams from long ago.

The second big surprise is the instrumental backing. These couldn't be further from the orchestral arrangements Sinatra favored on his greatest albums from the 1950s, In the Wee Small Hours and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely.

His band -- bassist Tony Garnier, guitarists Charlie Sexton and Stu Kimball, percussionist George G. Receli -- provide such soft backing it's almost as if they're laying down guide tracks. Really, to use another 1950s musical reference, this sounds like it was recorded in Martin Denny's "Quiet Village" on a very laid-back day.

It's largely left to pedal steel guitarist Donny Herron -- who does great work -- to provide some color and ornamentation to the arrangements. His gentle interplay with Dylan on "I'm a Fool to Want You" (which dates to 1951 and which Sinatra had a hand in composing with Joel Herron and Jack Wolf) coaxes out some of his best singing.

There is also some minimal sweetening from brass instruments, especially on "That Lucky Old Sun," which Dylan makes elegiacally spiritual. Sinatra was one of several artists who recorded it in 1949, the year it was written by Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie. While clearly a pop song, "Lucky Old Sun" has since been recorded by enough roots artists to be considered part of the Great Americana Songbook. Dylan's version adds to that list.

And this brings up the third big surprise of Shadows in the Night. It isn't really a Sinatra tribute per se (and Dylan isn't particularly marketing it as such). It's not even really Dylan going classic pop. Really, it's closer to a neo-country album, a cross between Willie Nelson's Stardust and Johnny Cash's American Recordings series. (Both men have recorded "That Lucky Old Sun.")

If there's an especially apt contemporary comparison with what Dylan is doing here, it's the way pub-rocker/New Waver Nick Lowe found contentment and meaning in crafting new ballads and mid-tempo songs that evoked but didn't mimic 1950s country-pop songs like Marty Robbins' "The Story of My Life."

Given Dylan's artistic restlessness, as well as the fact the importance of his older material (like The Basement Tapes) is growing, not diminishing, with time, one doubts Shadows in the Night marks a permanent new career track for him. He probably won't be following Rod Stewart into the back pages of the American Songbook.

He doesn't seem ready to give up the songwriting or hard-swinging, muscular roots-of-rock music that are his trademarks just yet. But what he has done here is more than a lark. He really loves what he's singing, and it shows. And he has a lot still to teach us about the joys of music.

(From Blurt, www.blurtonline.com, 2-9-15 and The Huffington Post, 2-12-15)
(Photo courtesy Columbia Records)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From the Archives: J.D. Souther on His Return to Recording After a 24-Year Absence

Souther Man

JD Souther returns to the studio and stage after 24 years

BY STEVEN ROSEN · FEBRUARY 1ST, 2010 · MUSIC
If you were asked which “lady or gentleman of the canyon” — the iconic 1970s-era singer-songwriters of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon — had recently delivered a late-middle-age masterpiece, you’d probably guess Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Don Henley, CS&N … basically anyone but JD Souther.

That’s partly because Souther, 64, isn’t that well-known, despite having written or co-written such classics of L.A. Folk and Country Rock as The Eagles’ “Best of My Love,” “Heartache Tonight” and “New Kid in Town”; Linda Ronstadt’s “Faithless Love” and “Prisoner in Disguise”; and his own (with James Taylor) “Her Town Too.” He also had a solo hit, the Roy Orbison-influenced “You’re Only Lonely,” in 1979.

It’s also because Souther stopped recording for 24 years before releasing If the World Was You — the album that’s winning such acclaim now — in late 2008. Even then, the Great Recession struck just as the album came out on the small Slow Curve Records label. 

But, slowly, he’s been capitalizing on strong reviews and increased touring to get the word out, including a stop in Fairfield Saturday playing solo (with just guitar and piano).

The solo show means one aspect of what makes If the World Was You so strong won’t be heard live — the sometimes-modal, Cuban-influenced Jazz arrangements that Souther and his group recorded (mostly) live-to-tape in a Nashville studio. 

But the album’s many other strengths will be heard: Souther’s voice is supple yet tough, capable of a high-pitched sweetness but also as earthy and lonesome as the Texas plains where he grew up. His songs show his knack for exploring that space between major- and minor-key melodies (think “New Kid in Town”) is undiminished. 

Souther didn’t stop writing songs for others during his long recording layoff and he also did a lot of traveling and even some acting. But he lost interest in furthering his own performing career (or writing for himself) after releasing Home By Dawn, his fourth solo album, in 1984.

“I just stopped making records and touring,” he says by phone from Nashville, his current home.
“I didn’t feel like working, and I don’t think I was crazy about what was happening in music as the MTV period got in full swing and became the primary way of connecting an audience to music. It was a little less satisfying to me. I took Sonny Rollins as an example — when people began to question his playing, he’d just retire and go practice for a few years.” 

His songwriting/performing ambitions were rejuvenated by a 1998 trip to Cuba. 
“That lit the fuse again,” Souther says. “ I was there a little over a week and the music was so infectious and so wonderful and reminded me so much of music I liked as a kid, because I was a jazz drummer growing up. I always played Jazz. I was a tenor player, too.”

Born in Detroit — his grandmother sang opera and his father a big-band singer — the music-loving John David Souther moved to Amarillo at a young age where he loved listening to everything, from the Great American Songbook to Texans Orbison and Buddy Holly. 

“And after that I discovered Ray Charles and felt like I found a new world,” he says. “I think he’s the dominant musician of the late 20th Century in America.”

In Los Angeles in the late 1960s, Souther and another Detroit-born aspiring musician — future-Eagle Glenn Frey — became close friends and formed a duo called Longbranch Pennywhistle. They quickly became immersed in the city’s burgeoning singer/songwriter culture and released an album. 

When it went nowhere, David Geffen, then a Rock manager starting his own label called Asylum Records, bought their contract. 

“I think David suggested to Glenn he put together a band,” Souther says. “I was filling in as a drummer for Linda Ronstadt — she was my girlfriend and needed a drummer — so I played, but I really didn’t want to do that. I would rather have been home writing. 

I had just bought a piano, had a little cottage across the courtyard from Jackson Browne, and we were just writing furiously. Glenn wanted more people in our band, I wanted less. I just wanted to stay home and write. So The Eagles grew out of (Ronstadt's) back-up band.”

As The Eagles became successful, Geffen thought he could do the same thing with Souther, and he put together the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band with Chris Hillman of the Byrds and Richie Furay of Poco. They had a hit with 1974’s Furay-penned “Fallin’ in Love,” but the band lacked the chemistry of The Eagles and soon fell apart. Their second and last album was aptly named Trouble in Paradise

Today that band is viewed as an egregious example of record-industry hype of the period: a “manufactured” supergroup.

“I’m not sure what’s manufactured and what’s not,” Souther says, pointing out The Eagles, too, were put together at Geffen’s suggestion. “When David suggested the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band to me, I thought, ‘Yeah, that might be a good idea.’ But I think I held back a little bit. Richie and Chris thought I was sometimes giving my best songs to The Eagles rather than bringing them into our recording sessions, and it may have been true, but probably the reasons are obvious. They were already selling records and I had no doubt about the way they were making records.”

Now that he’s resuming his career as a singer/songwriter (he’s already working on new material) in his 60s, Souther acknowledges there are creative challenges. 

“As you get older, luck comes in smaller batches,” he says. “You tend to get really big splashes of color just by chance when you’re young, because you haven’t had that much experience and your senses are more untouched and, consequently, not so calloused over. Now you have to constantly keep hitting the refresh button, making sure the snow we just had here, for instance, is every bit as beautiful and mysterious as it was years ago.”

JD SOUTHER plays the Fairfield Community Arts Center on Saturday as part of the Sojourner Concert Series. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.

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