Tuesday Reviews: Jackson Browne

Shirley Halperin, music editor at Billboard Magazine, is back from New York to join Take Two in studio and talk about the latest in new music on this week's Tuesday Reviewsday.

Artist: Jackson Browne
Album: "Standing in the Breach"
Songs: “Birds of St. Marks,” “The Long Way Around”

Notes: We start with Jackson Browne, a tremendous — and locally-bred — talent who’s closing in on five decades years of making music. We of course know him for such timeless hits as "Somebody's Baby" and “Running on Empty,” among a slew of insta-classics from the 70s and 80s. And I’m happy to report that, even 40 years on, he’s still making highly personal, incredibly musical albums. In fact, on Standing in the Breach, his 14th studio album, he’s revisiting songs that first formed in the 60s. The lead off track “Birds of St. Marks,” for example, he wrote while playing guitar with Nico in the East Village in the late Sixties. Indeed, you can hear the Byrdsian jingle jangle guitar all over the song.

On Jackson Browne’s last album, "Time the Conqueror," which came out six years ago, he took on some heavy topics like the Iraq War. This album seems to focus more on modern sociology than politics. On the song “The Long Way Around,” for instance, he sings about “Seeing people change in the strangest ways” and even describes his younger days cavorting around Tinsel-town. About half the record is sparse and incredibly intimate, particularly the title track, but it also has a lot of contrasts — especially the apocalyptic cover art of a couple walking atop doomsday rubble. Jackson Browne, however sounds better for the wear. You can see for yourself when he headlines the "Way Over Yonder festival" in Santa Monica on Sept. 27. And his latest album doesn't come out until October.