By Matt Kelemen
Guitarist Joe Walsh is back with his first album in two decades, demonstrating both his rock warrior durability and his ability to persevere despite being bamboozled by a digital world. At least, those are two deductions that can be garnered by the release of Analog Man in June. The fact that Walsh, who comically played up a wastoid persona in the ’70s, is still functioning may be surprising to anyone who knows the lyrics to “Life’s Been Good,” his humorous 1978 hit about excess and hedonism.
Walsh has been a sharp musician with a sardonic wit ever since he emerged with the James Gang and 1970’s “Funk #49.” Walsh’s trademark guitar bends and slides, which helped shape the guitar vocabulary of the ’70s (and the musical identity of the Eagles), are present from the get-go on Analog Man’s opening title track. And, even better, his voice is in fine shape and that wit is as sharp as it has ever been.