Don Henley is going country for Cass County, his first solo album in 15 years. Rolling Stone reports that among the guests joining the Eagles singer/drummer for the project are Mick Jagger, country music legends Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton, country artists Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Ashley Monroe and Trisha Yearwood, and alt-country singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams.
In the ’90s, Henley duetted with Yearwood on her hit “Walkaway Joe.”
According to Rolling Stone, while previewing the album for the press in Nashville, Henley said, “The great majority [of recording] was done right here in Nashville and I can truthfully say that I enjoyed making this record more than any record I’ve made in my career. And a lot of the reason is because of the people who participated. There’s some amazing musicians here and the best thing about it is, most of them are funny. So it was a real pleasure.”
Regarding the special guests, Henley explained, “I chose people that I respect musically. People whose work I respect, whose voices I like, who are all great, authentic singers who can really sing when called upon to sing.” He added, “Some of them are friends of mine and some of them I had never met before. I was flattered and flabbergasted when all of them said, ‘Yeah.'”
Most of the material on the album, which is named after the county in Texas where Henley grew up, was co-written with Stan Lynch, the original drummer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Jagger lends vocals to and plays harmonica on a song called “Bramble Rose,” which was written by Tift Merritt. Parton sings on a cover of an the old Louvin Brothers classic “When I Stop Dreaming.”
As for why he’s going country, Henley explained, “I’m a Southerner and a Texan. I have ancestors in Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. So this is a natural progression for me. It’s not me trying to do the ‘Don Henley country album.’ It’s who I am and where I come from.”