The golden age of rock 'n' roll seems faded by time, but once in a while, when a stirring storyteller sets his or her tale to melodic guitar, the soft glow of those shining '70s radiates through to our modern age. A true
Jackson Browne is one such artist, and while the guitar has danced in and out of vogue, he's never stopped churning out heart-wrenching tunes. His is a voice that immediately captures. In 1972, at the start of his career, famed music mogul David Geffen started a new record label just to sign him. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and given an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Occidental College in the same year. Outside of his own illustrious career, he's written songs for everyone from the Nico to Gregg Allman, most famously penning the beloved Eagles hit “Take It Easy.”
Yet it's Browne's own body of work as a solo artist, joined by his trusty band of brothers, that most people hold forever warm in their hearts. His third album, 1974's Late for the Sky, was heralded as one of Rolling Stone's top-100 albums of the year. Two decades later, it was recognized by the magazine again as part of its "200 Greatest Albums of All Time."
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His biggest commercial success came in 1977, with the release of the LP Running on Empty, a heartfelt homage to
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After more than four decades, Browne continues to release earnest and touching material reminiscent of the best days of rock. His latest record, 2014's Standing in the Breach, stands strong among his most classic work. It's the same stripped-down sound and earnest messages, taking on issues personal and political — everything from climate change (“Leaving Winslow”), wealth inequality (Standing in the Breach”), and the need for gun law reform (“The Long Way Around”).
"America is not really a democracy at the moment, and things that don't serve big business are thrown under the bus," Browne told Telegraph UK when the album came out. "It's not surprising that political issues find their way into songs. I think that is true of every singer and every
That the issues he sang about two years ago continue to relate today is no surprise. Browne made a career writing the words that flit through millions of Americans' minds, and it's that continuous grip on the pulse of a nation that keeps him relevant and noteworthy through decades. A song with a message will stand the test of time, and a songwriter with an independent mind and a strong heart is a resource the world will always need.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 20 at Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $49.50 to $84.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.