Jackson Browne, Standing In The Breach as reviewed in The Phantom Tollbooty

His message, like his song writing, remains strong.

Standing In The Breach
Artist: Jackson Browne
Label: Inside Recordings
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Duration: 10 tracks, 56:10

The ability to create a union between melody and message in lyric is what makes a great songwriter. Jackson Browne, one of the great songwriters of our time, has successfully done just this throughout his career and continues to in Standing In The Breach. Here, like most of his albums over the last two decades, he mixes songs of love and lose with political, human interest and environmental issues.

 “The Birds Of St. Marks” is one of the first songs Jackson wrote in the ‘60s but seldom recorded. Against Roger McQuinn-like backing guitar, the tragic story of love and longing is evident in Browne’s vocals, which have lost little over time.

Of those songs of a personal nature, “Yeah, Yeah” shows the pop sensitivity in his writing. “The Long Way Around” is classic Browne with slow and soft haunting lead guitar telling the story of life’s changes:

‘I’m a long way gone down this wild road I’m on. Gonna take me where I’m bound, but it’s a long way around.’

 “Leaving Winslow “ harkens back to his first hit “Take It Easy” and “You Know The Night” tells of love’s first meeting and its remembrance.

Browne has long been a strong advocate for political and social change as found in “If Could Be Anywhere”, “Which Side”, “Standing In The Breach” and “Walls And Doors,” with signature lyrics such as:

‘Take the money out of politics and maybe we might see, this country turn back into something more like democracy’ and ‘There can be freedom only when nobody owns it.’

“Here” brings poetic finale to match the album’s entrée  “The Birds Of St. Marks” with a song love’s longing.

In his 50 years, Jackson Browne has given of himself, touching the listener with life’s loves and losses. He has also continued to be a voice for change and hope in our world. His message, like his song writing, remains strong.



Scott S Mertens