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Don Henley Plans a Country Project

Don Henley photo by Andrew Macpherson.

The Eagles have long been hailed as an influence on modern country music, a fact that’s never been lost on drummer Don Henley. Now it appears Don is aiming to release an album that plays on that history.

He’s been working on an album of country songs — some originals, some covers. He’s in good company in the process. He’s been putting the project together with Stan Lynch, who used to be the drummer with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

“He’s another quasi-redneck who is amazingly gifted and has a killer sense of humor,” Don told Diablo, a San Francisco-area publication. “His dad was a professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and Stan lives on a sheep and timber farm, east of there.”

The Eagles’ sound from the pre-Hotel California era blended country and rock with strong, hooky songs and refined harmonies. That served as a template for a lot of country stars, and Don has taken advantage of the connection before.

In 1992, Don sang harmony on Trisha Yearwood’s Top 5 ballad, “Walkaway Joe,” and was in the video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

In 1993, he had a big hand in the development of Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles, an album that featured remakes of the band’s originals by the likes of Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio and Tanya Tucker. The CD won Album of the Year from the Country Music Association, and it also raised a bunch of money for one of Don’s favorite charities, the Walden’s Woods Project, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary as an environmental agency.

“It’s been a remarkable experience, and a lot has been accomplished,” he said of the charity, “but there is still a tremendous amount of work to do. I would advise young people to start small, start locally.”

The Eagles will be back on the road next month, and one of the shows has an environmental theme: Atlanta’s annual Green Concert is designed to raise money for Piedmont Park.

No release date has been mentioned for Don’s country-themed album.

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