You could almost call him the voice of America. Dan Peek‘s dry, wary baritone is the one you heard fronting such songs as A Horse with No Name, Tin Man, Ventura Highway and Lonely People. Some would say that America was at the forefront of the California sound that pervaded FM Radio back in the seventies; their juicy folk harmonies were of a piece with those of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but their easy sound–a still-infectious marriage of clarion voices and wistful songwriting that eschewed anger or the topical–also shared a kinship with Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and those old softies, the Carpenters.
Peek went all Christian in 1977, leaving the group to become a minor star on the religious pop circuit. Rumors of reunions with his former bandmates never panned out into anything (wonder if Peek’s appearance on the notorious The 700 Club had something to do with?). Too bad he didn’t realize that the music America made was about as close to divinity as anything in an actual church. God was in the details: that’s how it still sounds to me. RIP.