The XPoNential Music Festival, Camden, N.J.: John David Souther has always been a much-loved songwriter who, despite the fact he doesn’t have an extensive catalog of his own recorded music, had a lot of success penning tunes for others — most notably the California soft-rockers of the 1970s. He has written for and with many of music’s top flight acts including the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Glen Campbell, the Dixie Chicks, India Arie, Roy Orbison, Michael Bublé, Warren Zevon, Brian Wilson, and many more. He also played in the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band during the same decade.
Souther’s reputation as a songwriter rather than as a performer has contributed to the low profile he has always maintained with the public. The fact that he stopped recording in 1984 for twenty-four years and spent some time acting on TV shows like “Thirtysomething” most certainly added to his lack of recognition too, especially among younger music fans. He finally ended his studio hiatus with the release of two new albums, If the World Was You in 2008 and then <1>Natural History1> in 2011.
Souther then returned to the road performing concerts like the short, forty-six minute set he performed on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at the XPoNential Music Festival’s smaller Marina stage.
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: A new sampler of J.D. Souther songs finds him sounding like nothing so much as himself, yet it still explores new areas of this underrated singer-songwriter’s gift.]
He played acoustic guitar accompanied by an upright bass player and a pianist whose keyboard of choice was a baby grand. Souther’s smooth, Glenn Frey-like voice is still quite effective and he had no trouble regaling the listeners with an array of his best known songs, including his solo hit “You’re Only Lonely.” He also sang “Faithless Love” a song he wrote for Ronstadt, as well as tunes he composed with the Eagles: “New Kid in Town,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “The Sad Café.” He also surprised everyone with a cover of Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me.”
The current Nashville resident offered nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary but his very entertaining show was exactly what you would expect from a veteran of his stature.