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Eagles circle back to the musical territory they own

SINGLED OUT

August 18, 2007|Randy Lewis

The Eagles

"How Long" (ERC)

The crisp, countrified electric guitar lead, chugging rhythm strumming and snappily percussive back beat tell you even before those signature harmonies come soaring in that the Eagles are back.

When you're reviving a brand, it's smart to emphasize core values, and that's exactly what Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh place front and center in this initial single from their first studio album in 28 years, due in October as a Wal-Mart exclusive.

As they proved with the four new tracks they recorded for the 1994 "Hell Freezes Over" reunion album, the essence of the Eagles lives on in bittersweet harmonies, country-rock settings and the group's often-sharp commentary on life, politics and love.

This upbeat tune by longtime Eagles pal J.D. Souther, streaming at www.eaglesband.com, both echoes and overtly tips its hat to such SoCal country-rock classics as "Take It Easy" and "Already Gone." As such, it should be welcome on classic rock and perhaps even country radio. (The video is slated to premiere Monday on Yahoo and start airing next week on CMT.)

Frey and Henley trade verses in a show of musical solidarity seemingly meant to demonstrate that Eagles harmony extends beyond the sterling vocal work. The message of the song is a tad nebulous, but Souther seems to be looking back on a long run of life with acceptance and no regrets. What more fitting way for this band to start looking again toward the future?

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Randy Lewis

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