Don Henley’s live performance on Austin City Limits hits PBS this weekend, adding another milestone to the songwriter’s busy promo cycle for Cass County. Released on September 25th, the new solo album — Henley’s first release outside of the Eagles since 2000 — finds him digging up his country-boy roots, with songs inspired by the landscape, characters and overall vibe of his childhood stomping grounds in East Texas. He gets a little help from his friends, as well, with country heavyweights like Dolly Parton and Trisha Yearwood lending their vocals to a handful of tracks.
The Austin City Limits performance has a hefty guest list, too, with Martina McBride, Ashley Monroe, Jamey Johnson and Dixie Chicks members Martie Maguire and Emily Robison Strayer all making cameos. Perhaps the most striking pairing, though, can be seen in this untelevised outtake from the show (above), where Henley welcomes Trisha Yearwood to the stage. The longtime friends swap harmonies and verses on the Cass County track “Words Can Break Your Heart,” resurrecting the country chemistry they kicked off in 1992 with Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe.”
In the video above, Henley — who keeps himself serious and stately throughout the show — cracks some of the first smiles of the evening, clearly enjoying himself onstage. Yearwood, whose year has been largely spent on the road with Garth Brooks, is clearly comfortable, too, making for a performance that’s somehow heartbreaking and heartwarming at once.