Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Record label: Inside Recordings
“It’s never been that hard to buy a gun/Now they’ll sell a Glock 19 to just about anyone,” muses Jackson Browne midway through “The Long Way Around,” balancing America’s pursuit of freedom with the notion of consequence. Even in what the singer/songwriter can’t embrace, he seeks compassion as piano chords fall like soft rain, ultimately offering, “With all we disagree about/The passions burn, the heart goes out…” Browne has always led a double life: sensitive singer/songwriter and committed activist. During his 40-year career, there’s been a tug of war between the romantic poet and the surging outcry.
Released on the eve of his 66th birthday, Jackson Browne’s new album deals with life, love and the state of the world with vigour, tenderness and a notable lack of ennui. It’s not a collection to knock your socks off with innovation, but there are many brilliant moments, starting with the very first track, Birds Of St Marks, which features stunning guitar interplay between regular Val McCallum and Greg Leisz. Leisz fills the David Lindley role on Standing In The Breach, and his chiming 12-string, pedal steel and warm baritone guitars provide a creative spur.
"You don't know why, but you still try/For the world you wish to see," Jackson Browne sings on "Standing in the Breach," the title track to his 14th album of new material and his first in six years. It's a characteristic sentiment, one that reaches back to the Seventies, when Browne distinguished himself as one of America's most visionary and important songwriters. In now-classic songs like "For Everyman," "Before the Deluge," "Running on Empty" and "The Pretender," Browne took a hard look at why the values of the Sixties seemed to die for so many people when that decade passed.
On Jackson Browne's first studio recording since 2008, the man who defined the '70s singer/songwriter generation finds a fresh way of dealing with the world as it is both personally and politically -- by going back to his own roots. Lyrically, Browne is inspired in a way he hasn't been since 1976's The Pretender, and this recording's production aesthetic adheres closer to that of even earlier records. His core accompanists are guitarists Greg Leisz and Val McCallum, with an all-star cast.
The uber-troubadour. The archetypal sensitive singer/songwriter. The political firebrand and protest song torchbearer. In a career spanning over 40 years, Jackson Browne has been all these things and more. Standing in the Breach, Browne’s first collection of new material since 2008’s Time the ….