KPRI tribute to Jack Tempchin featuring Steve Wood from Honk and Richard Stekol from Funky Kings
Classic Rock and Blues
JACK TEMPCHIN is an Encinitas-based songwriter who is best known for writing the Eagles classic “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and co-writing their hits “Already Gone,” “The Girl From Yesterday,” “Somebody,” and “It’s Your World Now.”
Tempchin has also written numerous solo hits with Glenn Frey producing “You Belong To The City,” Smuggler’s Blues,” and “The One You Love.”
This tribute will honor Tempchin’s tunes and his unwavering support for local songwriters.
- Tempchin wrote part of “Peaceful Easy Feeling” at the Der Weinerschnitzel on Washington St., a few blocks from Anthology.
- Tempchin also wrote “Slow Dancin’ (Swayin’ to the Music),” which was a top 10 hit in 1977 for Johnny Rivers, and a top-10 country hit for Johnny Duncan in 1979.
- Tempchin’s songs have covered by George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Glen Campbell, Sammy Kershaw, and Chris Hillman.
- Tempchin has toured with Ringo Starr, Jackson Browne, Dave Mason, Poco, Dolly Parton, Karla Bonoff, Chicago, Christopher Cross and Kenny Loggins.
Sound Observations From Jack Tempchin
By David Moye
Although the name Jack Tempchin may not be on everyone’s lips, his songs are.
Tempchin is the Encinitas-based songwriter who had his hand in a lot of well-known songs, many of which you will probably start humming to yourself as they are mentioned in this article.
Take “Already Gone,” a big hit for the Eagles. Yep, you can’t help singing that chorus, can you? Or what about Glenn Frey’s “You Belong To The City” from “Miami Vice,” or “Smuggler’s Blues”?
Or what about “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” a song so popular it has its own website: www.peacefuleasyfeeling.com.
Tempchin wrote the third verse of that song at the Der Weinerschnitzel on Washington Avenue in Hillcrest. As a result, he can probably buy that restaurant 10 times over.
Tempchin’s songs have earned international music immortality, and that is one reason he is the subject of a tribute concert at Anthology on July 2 at 10 p.m.
Among the local performers who will sing Tempchin’s praises (and his songs) include Carlos Olmeida, Candye Kane, Berkley Hart and Lisa Sanders.
The honor thrills Tempchin in many different ways.
“I feel great about it,” he said. “Being a songwriter I feel great about it, especially because all these performers are different so I will hear my songs in their styles.
“Also, most of the people performing are people I’ve written songs with.”
Tempchin has two songs on the biggest selling compilation album of all-time: “Eagles Greatest Hits,” so he can choose to pretty much write with anyone he wants. In fact, if he chose to only work with performers established on the level of the Eagles, no one would fault him.
Yet, that’s not what’s earning him the tribute treatment. Tempchin is earning it for his generosity to up-and-coming performers. But to him, it’s a no-brainer.
“I’m interested in creating scenes,” he said. “It’s very inspiring. Until recently, I had a regular gig for 13 years where I would invite singers like Anna Troy and Tristan Prettyman and others to sit in. I just feed off the whole creative scene.”
That’s why, unlike other songwriters, he enjoys co-writing.
“I am a good co-writer and that’s a tricky thing because songwriting is very personal,” Tempchin said. “If the other person tells you the idea sucks, you can’t take it personally. I love it because I come up with songs I otherwise wouldn’t have written.”
Some songwriters start with a chord pattern while others start with a title. Tempchin starts with an idea and hopes to build on it.
“For me, the idea comes first,” he explained. “Like, say, you think about two people who love each other so much that they can’t help but fight likes cats and dogs.”
In order to get the song in its final order, Tempchin road tests it.
“I will sing songs in public that I haven’t finished,” he said. “When I start, I am just making stuff up and I will include bad lyrics, but I let that flow until I find something I like.”
How does he determine that? Well, besides his own opinion, he takes the audience into account.
“For me to feel a song is finished, I have to feel every line is right,” Tempchin said. “When I perform live, I can tell if an audience is feeling it or losing it and at which spot of the song.”
But sometimes intuition can fail him. For instance, when Tempchin first finished “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” he had no particular feeling about its success.
“It did what I wanted it to do, but I had no idea of the impact, but the Eagles added their genius and the flavor to it that, I think, made it a hit,” he said.
And what a hit it’s become. Besides being a hit for the Eagles, Jay-Z and Coolio have sampled the chorus. But Tempchin’s favorite version may be the video he saw featuring 22 Japanese guys singing it while playing guitar.
Great songwriting may be about storytelling, but Tempchin admits the stories he hears about “Peaceful Easy Feeling” top the story he has about writing it.
“I have a website, www.peacefuleasyfeeling.com, where I tell the story about writing it and invite visitors to tell their story about the song,” he said. “Like one guy heard it while traveling in Nepal and another guy said his mom played it over and over before she died.”
(At this point, the journalist offers Tempchin own experience of being 19 years old and having a romantic interlude with an older woman who played “Peaceful Easy Feeling” on guitar afterwards. However, discretion will prevent him from submitting the story to Tempchin’s website.)
When you’ve written classic songs for so long, there’s the risk of becoming jaded, but Tempchin says there’s no chance of that happening.
“I’m working on a great song right now,” he said. “It never gets old.”