The 67-year-old singer-songwriter JD Souther has always been a peerless wordsmith who worked behind the scenes. That makes his recurring role on the ABC show “Nashville” ironic. His gifts as a songwriter are unmatched in the country-rock world, and in June, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City.
He has written or co-written numerous hit songs performed by (former girlfriend) Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles, including “Best of My Love,” “Heartache Tonight” and “New Kid in Town.” The partnership was engendered before the Eagles’ formation when Glenn Frey and Souther were members of the short-lived folk-country group Longbranch Pennywhistle. Later, he was a collaborator with Don Henley, most notably co-writing the 1989 hit “The Heart of the Matter.”
Souther said he rehearsed a few times with Frey and Henley as the Eagles were taking shape. “Their band was perfect the way it was, with that original four-piece [with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner],” he said.
Souther, who has been coming to Park City to ski for two decades, has been on a prolific writing streak. In 2008, he released “If the World Was You,” his first new release in 25 years. The next year came a live CD featuring a blend of old and new material.
“Natural History,” released in 2011 and featuring new versions of many of his songs, continued Souther’s exploration of jazz-influenced music.
Jazz was his first and enduring love, he said.
“I was a jazz drummer when I moved to Los Angeles,” he said of his move from Texas in the late 1960s. Then he realized something important. “All the girls like you when you’re up in front.”
He is in the midst of recording a new album with jazz musicians due in 2014. “It’s a little quieter band,” Souther said. “We really swing.”
When • Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24, at 8 p.m.
Where • Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City
Tickets • $29-$50 at egyptiantheatrecompany.org