Jackson Browne is one of the introspective California folk-rockers who came and went and is now coming around again, doing acoustic shows of his older material. His influence on music in the 1970's was huge.
He was born in Heidelberg, West Germany, but his parents moved to LA when he was 3 years old. Interested in folk music as a teenager, he joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for a couple of months and also did solo work in clubs.
At the age of 23, in 1972, he put out his first self-titled album. It was a fairly well-received effort which included some of my favorite Jasckon Browne songs: "Jamaica Say You Will" and "Doctor My Eyes" (you can still hear this one on the oldies station every once in a while). He followed this up with what many consider his masterpiece, For Everyman in 1973. This included the hit he co-wrote with the Eagles' Glenn Frey, Take It Easy. My personal favorite on that album was "Our Lady of the Well," but it also had "Red Neck Friend," These Days (an old song which had already been covered by Nico on the Chelsea Girls album), and "For Everyman." The latter was said to be a hopeful reply to the pessimism of Crosby, Stills, and Nash's "Wooden Ships." On this second album, he also teamed up with the genius, David Lindley, who would be his signature guitarist for several years. Lindley could play anything that had strings, and play the hell out of it. The following year, he put out Late for the Sky. One could hear the self-doubt begin to creep in. It included Fountain of Sorrow and "After the Deluge," both of which are great songs. However, after this, he would put out several more albums trying to again find the magic. He seldom found it.
However, just to show you what a real trouper Browne is, he played near here last night. Just an acoustic concert with no opening act and no backup band. He did several songs which people yelled out from the audience; mass request time. (I like it when artists do that sort of stuff, don't you?) Well, true to form, some redneck yelled out a request for Free Bird, the tired, old Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem, a perennial on local classic rock radio. Browne took an exceptionally long mid-set break, and during that break he looked up the chords and words to this stupid-ass song on his laptop. He closed the show with his rendition of "Free Bird," and the folks who were there said he did a damn good job with it.