Dan Fogelberg never really fought his reputation as a “sensitive” balladeer. But if his death last weekend at age 56 from prostate cancer only made you reminisce about “Longer” and the gooey yuletide staple “Same Old Lang Syne,” then you might be surprised to learn that his musical personality had a more ambitious side.
Fogelberg was seamlessly blending rock, folk and country back when what is now revered as alternative-country was simply known as country-rock. Indeed, his 1985 bluegrass album High Country Snows, featuring Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Dave Grisman and Jerry Douglas, deserves to sit right next to the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack in any roots-conscious
If you’ve got a balance remaining on that iTunes gift card, sample the depth of Fogelberg’s artistry with these five songs:
1. “Love Gone By” (from Nether Lands) – his most convincing hard-rock song, playing all the overdubbed guitars himself and getting harmony help from Don Henley.
2. “Mountain Pass” (from High Country Snows) – a barnstorming bluegrass original that sounds like a lost standard.
3. “Morning Sky” (from Souvenirs) – a foot-stomping country-rocker about love gone bad with Fogelberg as the one who’s leaving this time.
4. “Part of the Plan” (from Souvenirs) – his uplifting first hit, with Graham Nash adding harmonies.
5. “Long Way Home” (from Home Free) – another country-rock staple of his early live shows.