Eagles frontman Don Henley has hit number one for the first time as a solo artist with his new country album, Cass County. The album debuted at the top of Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart, selling 87,000 copies during its first week of release.
It took several years for Henley to complete the project, which features collaborations from top country artists including Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton and Miranda Lambert. The 68-year-old used his years of experience to create a sound all his own that still pays homage to the traditional country sound of yesteryear. It seems like this was a deliberate move to stay away from the mainstream sound, which he criticized in a recent interview with Hey Reverb.
“I don’t recognize country music anymore,” Henley said. “The bar is not very high right now. I’m not naming any names. I’m just saying the bar isn’t very high right now. [There is] a lot of bad songwriting going on, really sloppy stuff. Not that country music is supposed to be an intellectual exercise, but it could be better than it is. It could have more meat to it than it has currently got.”
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If Henley was hoping to change the current state of country with the release of Cass County, it looks like he accomplished his mission.