E-Mail Of The Day

From: John David Souther
Subject: Thanks from JD Souther


Nothing appeals to me like a maverick and you definitely don’t wear anyone’s brand but your own.

You’re one of a kind writing has cracked me up, made me scratch my head and look for the material covered, and now filled me with surprise and gratitude.

The Bordertown piece was a powerhouse of praise (thank you), information (some of which I’d not thought of in years), opinion (shot from the hip but deadly), and critique (accurate-You’re Only Lonely, as an album, was an attempt to put a double album’s worth of recording into one-very uneven).

I must have got twenty forwards of it from luminaries and fans alike and I read it again every time, the grin getting wider with each read.

Hope you are every bit as opinionated about the 21st century albums (’08 If The World Was You, ’09 Rain-Live At The Belcourt Theatre, and the new one Natural History which is in its third week of release).

Thank you again and please come to a show as my guest and introduce yourself again.

Keep knocking ’em out of the par and add me to your mailing list.


I’m not even sure how to respond.

Which is why I’m sharing this with you first.  Maybe in the process, my thoughts will be clarified.

I don’t do it for the money.  I do it for this.  And when I started, I didn’t expect this, didn’t even dream it.  And now it brings tears to my eyes.

I bought J.D. Souther’s "Black Rose" in the summer of ’76, when I had the world’s worst case of mononucleosis and decided to go to law school because what the hell else was I gonna do with my life.  I couldn’t go back to Utah.  If I did, I’d never escape.

And I’d love to tell you law school was a thrill, but it was a relentless drag with far less work than Middlebury and much less stimulation.

But I became fixated on a girl.  I thought I knew her from Utah.  I recognized her ass from the tram line at Snowbird.

But when I finally worked up the gumption to speak with her, which took weeks, she had a southern accent and I knew I was mistaken.  But I was still taken.

And the very first time I went to her apartment, right in front of her stereo, was a copy of J.D. Souther’s "Black Rose".

The moon was yellow
And the sky was cool
The night can make a promise of love
Or it can make you a fool

It’s summer in SoCal.  Which means it’s like spring anywhere else.  Cold and foggy.  But it’s still the season of possibilities. What did the Beach Boys say, "Summer Means New Love"?  Whenever I feel elated, whenever I have a bounce in my step, I sing the above lyrics from "Your Turn Now".  Really.

And "Faithless Love" is the hit of the album.  I’m sure it’s still paying J.D.’s bills.

But the song that resonated in that empty time twenty odd years ago, when my wife left me, but didn’t seem want to get divorced, was "Baby Come Home".

There’s that moment, a bit more than halfway through the record, when J.D. gets down on his figurative knees and sings…

If you could trust me
Try to believe me
Listen to me when I say
When I say that love
Is a burning fire
And it will not fade away
No, it will not fade away

It’s kind of like carbon dating.  The feeling, the connection, the hurt, never completely evaporates.  But you’ve got to hang in there long enough until what your head says your heart believes, that it’s time to let go.

Then there’s a return to the chorus, J.D.’s resorted to pleading…

Ah, but deep in the night
When nearly nothing’s going right
You can hear him cryin’
Baby come home

The night is the worst.  If you turn on the TV you’ll be up ’til dawn, meanwhile the tossing and turning goes on forever.

She came back for one last interlude and then disappeared for good.

But J.D. Souther’s music did not.  It stayed right by my side.

There’s that brilliant cover of "Roll ‘Um Easy" I discovered on XM and had to immediately track down.

And the version of "Black Rose" I’m listening to right now was personally EQ’d for me by Val Garay, its engineer.

Life ain’t so easy in this border town, but it’s a hell of a lot easier when I get e-mail like this, from one of my heroes.

You can have double digit millions, a Gulfstream VI, but can you write like this?

You just wish you could be J.D. Souther.

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