Flying High

“[The Eagles’ late Glenn Frey] taught me a lot musically,” says Timothy B. Schmit. “Just by watching, listening—he wrote great songs, which is really why [the Eagles] are still together.”

A few weeks ago, Timothy B. Schmit – along with Don Henley, Joe Walsh, touring guitarist Steuart Smith, Deacon Frey (son of the late Glenn Frey) and special country star guest Vince Gill – delivered goosebump-grade harmonies on the concert opener “Seven Bridges Road.” It marked the Eagles first time performing on the famed Grand Ole Opry House stage.

The two hour-plus set of Eagles’ staples, including “Hotel California,” “Take it Easy” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” also featured a pulsating rendition of Schmit’s “I Can’t Tell You Why,” the first tune he penned for the Eagles after becoming a member in 1977. The bassist also entranced the sell-out crowd with his warm vocals on “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”

Following four decades with the Eagles, and nearly a decade with Poco, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has been one of the industry’s go-to session musicians, lending his talent to records that have included Crosby Stills and Nash, Bob Seger, Diana Krall and Blind Boys of Alabama. “My mind has been blown so many times,” Schmit says. “I’ve sung on records with people who I used to listen to on the radio. If you would’ve told me that I would be friends with [Beach Boys] Brian Wilson and sing on his album or with Steely Dan, I would have never believed it. I loved the challenge of taking on so many different [projects]. I still love it.”

Along the way, Schmit has been able to find his own voice with six solo albums of mostly original material. In a way, scribing his own material is cathartic. “I like how there’s no compromising and I can say and do what I want,” he explains.

While Schmit is aware that his songwriting process may be somewhat laborious, he enjoys it, no matter how long it takes – his 2016 Leap of Faith came seven years after his previous album Expando.

From the lively opener “My Hat” to “This Waltz,” a nostalgic ballad marinated in horns and accordion, Leap of Faith is a translation of the musical versatility that has shaped Schmit’s career. He enlisted jazz vibe great Gary Burton, who rarely veers from jazz territory, on originals like “Slow Down,” a reggaefied vacation from life’s daily stresses.

The Eagles are already nailing down 2018 dates, but his focus is currently on his solo tour, which visits Monterey’s Golden State Theatre Tuesday, with a full backing band and trio of soul singers.

Schmit’s description of the show is straightforward: A revue centered around his own work, with a welcome selection of Eagles and Poco favorites.

TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT 7:30pm Tuesday, Nov. 28. Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado St., Monterey. $30-$65. 649-1070, goldenstatetheatre.com
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