Shine A Light: Jackson Browne

Where oh where would I begin to say what Jackson Browne’s music means to me. I kind of came to Jackson late. I new “Doctor My Eyes”, “Running On Empty”, stuff like that from the radio as a kid, but I never really got inside it. Inside the lyric. Perhaps for a 15 year old kid it was too deep and full of the things of life that I had not yet experienced. But as they say “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. My old friend Paul Bryan is the one that opened the door, really opened it wide for me, to get Jackson Browne’s music.

Lyrically he is hard to touch. The depth, awareness, and pure poetry is amazing. His musicianship and melodies are simply beautiful. Even my friends that are players and the one’s that don’t gravitate to lyrics first dig his stuff melodically as well.

From “Daddy’s Tune”-

“No sooner had I hit the streets- Than I met the fools that a young fool meets/ All in search of truth and bound for glory/And listening to our own hearts beat-We stood around the drum/Tho it’s fainter now- the older I become/Living your life day after day-Soon all your plans or changes- Either fall or fade away/Leaving so much left to say”.

Many will say Jackson’s at his best writing about relationships, but I think he really shines on pieces like this acoustic 94 performance of “The Pretender”

I’ve seen Jackson several times in the last 10 years and one thing I’m constantly reminded and amazed about is how the songs still stand up. They have no fluff. Their relevance is a strong today as it was 25 years ago. Jackson continues to work, write and perform. His expression of what is important in his life and outlook on the world still permeates his work. While folks may not always agree with his politics, his passion and integrity is honorable and inspiring.

Jackson has become another of the “musical” old friends. The ones you go to when things get heavy and are not making sense. His voice can be uplifting and it can be the tear you are wanting to cry. For me it would be a much emptier world without the music of Jackson Browne. Thanks Jackson. Thanks Paul, it’s one of the sweetest gifts that has come my way.


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