When I was much younger, I wasn't much of a Jackson Browne fan. As a pre-teen growing up in Providence, Rhode Island it was common to hear Browne's many hit singles on the radio. I enjoyed some of them but was never drawn to buy any of them on my weekly jaunts with the family to the local department store to buy 45s. [Photos by Sam Goresh.]
Browne's 1976's hit "Here Come Those Tears Again" was the first song that my sister and I were able to record on a cassette while it was airing on the radio thanks to the fancy new stereo our mom had bought during the bicentennial year. Needless to say, I was aware of Jackson Browne's music but it never had much of an affect on me.
As I grew older I learned to respect his songwriting skills, but again, there wasn't much of a connection. It always seemed to me that Jackson was writing to a much older and more mature audience. His tales of adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it didn't really resonate with me. As I've slowly eased into my fourth decade, much has changed. My outlook on life, my expectations, my realizations...they've all shifted and gone through a drastic overhaul. And yes, now, finally, I've gained a passion for Jackson Browne's music and more specifically, the insight and wisdom that he crafts into each and every one of his compositions.
And Friday night, before a passionate sold-out crowd, I got to see and hear Mr. Browne bring the house down at Ruth Eckerd Hall in the most intimate and stripped-down setting possible: Browne is currently in the midst of one of his solo acoustic tours where he travels only with a small electric piano and a slew of acoustic guitars. There honestly couldn't have been a better local venue for this show to take place. The impeccable sound and acoustics that Ruth Eckerd Hall boasts really worked to Browne's advantage. Somehow, Jackson Browne has managed to retain his sharp vocal abilities throughout his 40-year career while many of his contemporaries haven't been as lucky. His timbre and pitch are as strong and recognizable as ever. The enunciation and phrasing of his words and breaths are still as cleverly paced as ever. Throw in his underrated yet exceptional guitar skills and you've got yourself the makings of a memorable show.