Hey Rivers, I was listening to some Roy Orbison and some Louis Armstrong this weekend on the way to the mountains for some camping.
It's amazing how simple and powerful music used to be but now it just seems too active and overproduced by comparison.
Here's ole' Satchmo doing Skokian' with his whole band. I love how it starts out smooth and gets bigger/fuller as it trundles along. (And hopefully Louis will help you remember that you're not too old to pen some good stuff and sing your ass off.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YTS9jFB084
I think you have an affinity for simple things and now is a good time for the market to bear the kind of stuff you enjoy writing and recording through the continuum of albums you have. Not acoustic sappy stuff, mind you. Just simple stuff. Ungilded lilies.
Singer/Songwriters like Alejandro Escovedo are gathering a big following for honest and well played stuff. In fact, AE just released a great rock album that he penned in Mexico and worked out the kinks playing it in clubs, recording it on vid and audio so as to not miss or forget bits of inspiration.
Give his stuff a listen too, if you get time.
hi rivers. i made a list of some great epic rock records from various points in time. i think you could like all for different reasons, and hopefully you'll give some of them a go.
Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited 
Neil Young - After The Gold Rush 
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness 
Radiohead - OK Computer 
MODEST MOUSE - THE LONESOME, CROWDED WEST 
Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings And Food 
Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails 
Blur - 13 
David Bowie - Station To Station 
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible 
Dragon- The essential, Australian/New Zealand 70's 80's band who had a top US 40 hit with Rain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM7RcgZ1pLE but whole album is great April Sun In Cuba, Dreams of Ordinary Men, Magic, Young Years. all Australian rock classics.
Also Liam Finn is amazing live check him on letterman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2-EGFS4-ck and yes he is the son of Crowded House front man Neil Finn, whose album Woodface was probably the best Australian album of the last 25 years.
Rivers, I urge you to listen to anything by Neil Finn. Seriously. Seriously.
Specifically, check out his Try Whistling This or One All CD's.
Then pick up some Crowded House albums (they're NOT 80's has-beens! ) Try out Together Alone or Temple Of Low Men. Neil Finn comes as close to songwriting perfection as one can get. It may not particularly be the *type* of music that you want to write, but as far as technique goes....it's sublime.
Couple of other recommendations: Chant Darling by Lawrence Arabia and Golden Hum by Remy Zero. Maybe not considered "epic" by any standards, but excellent albums, nonetheless.
BTW, there is some exceptional musical taste on this board. Culled some really good stuff for myself out of this thread.