I'm a big Joe Walsh fan from way back.
It's rare to find a rock star who shares so many of my passions: tone, tubes, lunacy, ham radio, guitars, and writing. It's also rare to locate a writer whose melodies stick inside my head in a forever kind of way.
We haven't heard any solo Joe since 1992's Songs for a Dying Planet, which would be our loss. Joe's back with Analog Man, which was, of course, recorded digitally. The title refers to being an analog man in a digital world. There's a great line about having to ask a ten year old how to operate something.
Joe has loosely joined the extended Beatles family by marrying Ringo's sister-in-law (or something like that). Ringo appears on two tracks. But nothing says Beatles like being produced by the Invisible Beatle, Jeff Lynne. Usually Jeff's sterling production is stamped all over the songs in a very sonically apparent way. Fortunately this is not the case here. Don't get me wrong - I like Jeff Lynne as a musician, writer, singer, and player. And occasionally a producer - he has done some great work. One Day at a Time is pretty heavy Jeff. The combination of the acoustic guitars and too heavily compressed clean guitars leaves no room for guessing.
So what's new? Joe has stopped drinking. You can tell from the song titles and a bit of listening that he is a happy ex-drunk: Family illustrates this well but not in an over-the-top way.
I got on the mailing list so they notified me that today was the official release. Joe himself will be appearing in New York, but unfortunately at an Apple store. If I go anywhere near an Apple store, I may melt and don't want to take that chance. My browser broke last time I had to go to apple.com and I'm still trying to clean out the smoke.
What I'm looking for from the new release is the same thing I'm looking for from any Joe Walsh music: some tunes that will not leave my head. Melodies that get stuck and will be replayed forever, like Indian Summer and At the Station.
Want some familiar, radio-friendly Joe? Funk #50 would be your tune, complete with hooks you might already know.
Joe: thanks for being part of the soundtrack to my life. Stop by when you're in Philthydelphia (no dates scheduled) or drop me a line. We'll talk tubes and you can try to convince me to learn code :)