Don Henley has scored his first No. 1 solo album with Cass County, which debuted in the top spot on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

The new project, which hit stores on Sept. 25, is Henley's first solo release since 2000's Inside Job. According to Nielsen Music, the record sold over 87,000 units in its first week.

One contributor to its high sales may be Cass County's who's-who list of country collaborators, including Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss.

"Rock 'n' roll has always been associated with rebellion, but I think rock 'n' roll, country music and all kinds of music have always had a role to play in terms of creating community," Henley tells Rolling Stone Country. "Music has more to do with creating community than it does rebellion. It's one of our greatest exports. It crosses political, ethnical and religious boundaries, and it brings people together, so that's why I think it's more important than ever that we focus more on the quality of the music we're making in this country and the message that we're sending to the rest of the world."

Henley produced the record with Stan Lynch, who also co-wrote on the album's 11 tracks. He recorded in both Nashville and Dallas.

Due to Henley's touring schedule with the Eagles, Cass County took several years to complete. However, the time spent on the project may have been a good thing: Henley is outspoken about his opinion of the current state of country music, and he's hoping to help improve it.

"I don't recognize country music anymore," he says. "The bar is not very high right now. I'm not naming any names. I'm just saying the bar isn't very high right now. [There is] a lot of bad songwriting going on, really sloppy stuff. Not that country music is supposed to be an intellectual exercise, but it could be better than it is. It could have more meat to it than it has currently got."

Henley is currently on tour supporting his new disc. Cass County is available for download via iTunes and Amazon, and a list of upcoming shows can be found at

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