When Bernie Leadon looked in his mirror in 2002, he saw a guy who had spent a quarter of a century helping other people make records. He decided it was time to see his name on the front of an album and not on the back (or stuck on the last page of a CD booklet). Armed with a batch of compositions he decided not to share with his A-list peers, Leadon, 56, went into the studio as the alpha male and delivered an overdue follow-up to the 1977 release Natural Progressions.
Mirror is what you might expect from a multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member of the Eagles and a part of the Flying Burrito Brothers and Dillard & Clark. The CD bounces from rootsy rock to balladry to country-blues to country-rock. In the small-world department, production was by Ethan Johns, son of Glyn Johns, producer of the Eagles' first three albums. It also didn't hurt to have Emmylou Harris adding her unmistakable voice on two songs.
Leadon's current tour, which included sharing a stage with old Burrito bandmate Chris Hillman at the Americana Music Association convention in Nashville last month, should show a new generation why this man's songs and musicianship were so in demand for so long.
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