Joe Walsh drops into Wolf Trap for an evening of music from "Analog Man," his 12th solo album and first in 20 years. Not that he has been idle in the interim. The honorary doctorate he received from Berklee College of Music in May acknowledges his lifetime contributions to music and American culture.
A singer, songwriter, record producer and actor, he is best known for the talent that landed him on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 greatest Guitarists of All Time."
Walsh has alternated his solo career with membership in three leading bands: James Gang, Barnstorm and the Eagles as guitarist and lead vocalist. Nevertheless, his quest for variety has taken him to Hollywood, television, performances with musical colleagues on numerous major albums, and even speaking engagements.
The guitar spoke to Walsh from the outset. He confesses he first took it up because his parents hated it, a typical teenage attitude. Over the years, it has served him to perfection, enabling him to express himself while playing and singing at the same time, an impossible feat with the clarinet, as he points out.
|Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road|
|When: 8 p.m. Monday|
|Info: $48 in-house, $30 lawn; 877-965-3872; wolftrap.org|
"I love variety and am as happy performing solo as I am with a band," he said. "That way, I have the best of both worlds. Whenever I show up at an Eagles concert, I have certain parts to sing and play with them. On the other hand, solo work gives me more freedom. If I want to improvise and go off by myself in the middle of a song, I can do that. It makes me feel more complete."
Walsh attributes the continuing success of the Eagles to the huge following of original fans who now bring their children to the concerts. Equally important is the ensemble's commitment to their music and the determination to play every song as if it were the very first time. During the "Analog Man" tour, he will join the Eagles Reunion Tour for two September concerts in Atlantic City and at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in November.
"It wasn't easy coordinating our schedules to make this happen because we're all working on individual projects," he said. "The Eagles are working on a documentary coming out later this year. They've archived everything since day one, so it's very powerful. In the meantime, I'll enjoy being an 'Analog Man.'"