​Don Henley goes back to his roots


After a world tour in the fast lane with The Eagles, singer-songwriter Don Henley (pictured with correspondent Anthony Mason) returns to his "magical" east Texas hometown - and a new solo album, "Cass County."

CBS News

"The End of the Innocence" was a huge hit for Don Henley back in 1989. Henley, who most of us know as a member of The Eagles, is releasing his first solo album in a long time this week -- but not before talking to our Anthony Mason:

Under the bald cypress trees of Caddo Lake in east Texas, a young Don Henley caught his first fish: "A bass. Not a real big one, but it was exciting!"

When asked how he describes the area to others, Henley replied, "You can't really describe it. You have to bring them here. I just tell them, 'It's a magical place and you've never seen anything like.'"

After the past two years on tour with The Eagles, and a lifetime on the road, the 68-year-old musician is spending more time back in that magical place near his hometown of Linden, Texas. "Yeah, I was actually born 40 miles from here. But that's only because they had a clinic."

His new solo album, called "Cass County" in a nod to his native turf, is his first in 15 years.

To hear Don Henley perform "Train in the Distance," click on the player below.

"After singing the Eagles material, some of which we've been singing for over 40 years now, I really need some other songs to sing," he told Mason. "Even some of my solo stuff is three decades old now. So I want new songs to sing."

As he explained, "I have things inside me that I need to get out."

Returning to his roots, he's joined by country stars like Dolly Parton and Martina McBride.

To hear Don Henley perform "When I Stop Dreaming" (featuring Dolly Parton), click on the player below.

It's the kind of music he listened to growing up in Linden with his father, an auto parts dealer, and his mother, a teacher.

At Linden's old American Legion Hall, now a theatre, where Henley made his first public appearance (in Mrs. Robertson's kindergarten music class), he stopped to talk about his musical career, which was launched in the high school band.

"I didn't start out playing drums. I started for some reason on the trombone, because they needed more trombonists."

"How were you on the trombone?" Mason asked.

"Mediocre, at best."

"You still play trombone occasionally?"

"No, I haven't touched the thing!"

He switched to drums when he formed a group with some Linden friends. In 1968 the band had a chance encounter with a young singer named Kenny Rogers: "We were in a clothing store in Dallas, Texas on McKinney Avenue, it was called the Electric Rocking Horse. We were buying bell bottom pants and Nehru jackets and stuff." Rogers was present, "because there was a really beautiful girl working there."

Rogers agreed to produce the band's debut album (the eponymous "Shiloh") in Los Angeles. That's where Henley would meet Glenn Frey, who was recording on the same label. Together, Frey and Henley would go off and join the backing band for Linda Ronstadt.