Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jackson Browne at the Beacon Theatre

Jackson Browne was born in Heidelberg, Germany, where his father, an American serviceman, was stationed. The future singer-songwriter was three years old when his family moved to his grandfather's house in Los Angeles, California. As a teenager, Browne sang folk songs in local venues, and after graduating high school in 1966, he joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for a few months. Before his 18th birthday, he moved to Greenwich Village, where he backed Tim Buckley and Nico of the Velvet Underground. In 1968, Browne returned to Los Angeles and launched a solo career. Browne has sold over 18 million albums in the U.S., and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007. Browne's 14th and most recent album is 2014's Standing in the Breach.

Despite a lack of new product to promote, Browne headlined three sold-out nights at the Beacon Theatre. Ticketholders had been warned that the show would begin promptly at 8 p.m., that there was no opening act, and that sufficient time should be allowed for a security check. True to his word, Browne held court on time and delivered two and a half hours of familiar music. Browne was accompanied by longtime band mates Val McCallum (guitar), Jeff Young (keyboards), Bob Glaub (bass), Mauricio Lewak (drums), Alethea Mills (backing vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz (guitar, lap steel, pedal steel). Half of the set drew from his first five albums in the 1970s, and the other half covered all the subsequent decades. Browne sang in a deeper voice, such that on "For Everyman," at one point instead of reaching for a high note he dove for a lower octave. Nevertheless, the spirit was there, and Browne fairly showcased his knack for memorable melodies, insightful and personal lyrics, and pleasant arrangements in composition. From "Doctor My Eyes" and "These Days" to "The Pretender" and "Running on Empty," the songs still sounded fresh and vibrant. Hopefully next time around he will have some new songs to sell as well.

Visit Jackson Browne at www.jacksonbrowne.com.