Jackson Browne Still Running On Empty (Very Well)
One of Southern California’s most prolific singer-songwriters, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jackson Browne[/lastfm] snuck into Hermosa Beach earlier this week for an all accoustic performance with very little fanfare and virtually no promotion.
I was lucky enough to be one of just a few hundred people to catch an almost 3 hour all request performance where the ageless Jackson (with no song list) hit the stage. Forty years on, his voice was near perfect. Flanked by 13 guitars and his keyboard, he crooned almost every song the audience called for. Grabbing a different guitar for every request, he may have played all 13 of them that night. Claiming “every guitar has it’s own song in it,” the very enthusiastic audience really ate it up. “Running On Empty,” “Late For The Sky,” “The Pretender” plus my personal favorite “I’ll do Anything” sounded like they were cut yesterday. His catalog dates back to 1972, so a few big hits like “Doctor My Eyes,” “Somebody’s Baby”, and “The Load-Out/Stay” surprisingly didn’t get played.
Browne, along with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Byrds[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Eagles[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Linda Ronstadt[/lastfm] and Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band was a huge pioneer of the fusion of Rock and Country music in the turbulent late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He was with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for less than a year, while still a teenager. He backed folk hero Tim Buckley in his NY tenure in 1968. His early work was recorded by Joan Baez, The Byrds, and Ronstadt, plus he gave the Eagles their very first hit in the summer of 1972, with “Take It Easy,” co-written by Glenn Frey.
With Browne being one of the best selling acts from the early 1970’s thru the late 1990’s, why was this concert so secret? Always an activist, it was a benefit for The Guacamole Fund, a non-profit group that has been doing concerts and cultural events since 1973. The 474 seat Hermosa Beach Theater was easily filled to capacity with little publicity. Browne’s brilliant songwriting and strong environmentalist ties have kept him a fan favorite of the baby-boomers for decades. He will still be played long after he has left this mortal coil.Find out more about Guacamole fund “semi-secret” events by visiting www.guacfund.org
Bill Dudley has been an on-air personality on our sister station 94.7 The WAVE since 2001. His music blogs can be found when you click here.