The third act of J.D. Souther’s career has seen him shift seemlessly from TV star (cast member of the series Nashville) to singer-songwriter and back over the last few years. Not many artists can still hit creative heights in two fields — yet alone two — but Souther has produced some of the best songs and albums in his career during this period. Remember, Souther’s career includes such classics as the songs, “Your Only Lonely,” “New Kid In Town” and “Faithless Love.”
The album, If The World Was You, marked his return to pop music making, nearly twenty-five years after the criminally underrated and overlooked album Home By Dawn. Luckily for the music world, Souther shot for a delivered an adult-contemporary/jazz gem which is led off by the song, “I’ll Be Here at Closing Time.”
With the opening trumpet/saxophone chords (yes, it is Jeff Coffin formerly of Bela Fleck and The Flecktones on sax), you know this is not standard pop fare. Souther’s vocal range seems as effective as it was in 1984 but his phrasing hints of jazz tradition and interweaves expertly with the piano of Chris White and the drum stylings of Jim Walters. By the time trumpeter Rod McGaha steps up for his wonderfully muted solo, you have almost overlooked they lyrics. Well, almost. Souther is one of the best in the business at telling stories, period. This story of love and longing for his waitress lover is evocative and beautiful.
This song reappears on Souther’s 2011 album, Natural History, with a more streamlined arrangement which is no less moving. If you are a fan of adult contemporary music, the singer/songwriter genre or just good adult music, both albums are a must for your collection.
Currently Souther is wrapping up a new album of original music with producer Larry Klein (of Joni Mitchell and Walter Becker fame). Here’s to another string of gorgeous songs.
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