Jack Tempchin takes the stage at the Troubadour, looks out at the crowded club, and says “Oh cool.” If he’s surprised to have attracted a sizable audience, perhaps he shouldn’t be. After all, he wrote some of the biggest hits the Eagles ever had, despite having never been a member of the group. He’ll get to those songs and more before the evening is over, along with the stories of how some of them came together. But first things first: this is a record release show for his new EP titled Room To Run, and so he opens the show by performing its title track.
The new song sends a clear message that he hasn’t lost his capacity to write a heartfelt tune. But Tempchin seems to be well aware that his history of influential songwriting works to his advantage, and so he proceeds to inch his way into that back catalog. First comes a song he wrote with Glenn Frey during the Eagles breakup period, complete with the story of how Frey would arrange his apartment in the hopes of creating the right environment for attracting the songwriting muse.
As the evening goes on, the stories get more heartfelt and the songs get even more recognizable. Eagles hit Already Gone. Another Frey hit. Then the band takes a break and he offers a solo performance of Slow Dancing (Swaying To The Music), yet another song Tempchin wrote which was ultimately made famous by another singer, this time Johnny Rivers.
He may lack the recognizable voices that made these songs famous, but he brings with him the credibility of having been the one who felt the emotions and put the words to paper to begin with. He ends the evening by telling the story of how he wrote Peaceful Easy Feeling in a fast food restaurant in San Diego as he stared out at the beautiful women walking past, and wondered aloud if any of them might somehow be in the audience on this night. The song itself ends up being a singalong; after all, the entire world knows these songs even if they don’t all know that Jack Tempchin wrote them. His new EP Room to Run is being released on May 19th.