One Track Mind: Don Felder, “Southern Bound” from Road to Forever: Extended Edition (2014)

Though he’s long been associated with California as a member of the Eagles, Don Felder was born and raised in the swampy milieu of Gainesville, Florida. You get a sense of the profound impact that period had on him (both as a youngster and as a guitarist) via “Southern Bound” — a bonus track on the new Road to Forever: Extended Edition.

Back then, the high-school age Felder was in an early band with Stephen Stills, met future Eagles bandmate Bernie Leadon, walked the halls with Tom Petty and (most pertinent to the discussion of “Southern Bound”) learned his way around the craft of slide guitar from no less a future legend than Duane Allman. That all led to Felder’s initial session with the Eagles, when he added slide to 1974’s “Good Day in Hell,” from On the Border.

Felder sings emotionally about those days, all honeysuckle nostalgia and magnolia sweetness, with an eye toward returning — punctuating it all with a series of squealing lines on the guitar. The draw, as much as anything, seems to be to have sand between his toes again while in the midst of a winter’s chill, something that probably resonates with anyone who’s gripped by spring fever these days.

The slide adds just the right amount of yearning, completing a circle that most people didn’t know was there — and adding a new complexity to Felder’s current solo release Road to Forever, which features Stills, along with David Crosby and Graham Nash, on “Fall from the Grace of Love.” Toto members Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro also guest on the album, along with Styx’s Tommy Shaw, sessions ace Leland Sklar and Randy Jackson, a one-time touring member of Journey.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.