ADA Global [Release date 01.07.13 ]
Jackson Browne is something of an enigma and a legend in equal measure. A rock and roll hall of fame inductee and an acknowledged founder of the West Coast sound made global by the like of Linda Ronstadt and then the Eagles, and with over 18 million album sales in the US alone, he’s somehow never quite had the mainstream appeal of say, James Taylor.
And look at his US chart history and he’s seldom ticked the upper reaches, and fared even worse in the UK, but since the release of eponymous debut in 1972 he’s remained remarkably consistent in performance and reception. And longevity is perhaps the most difficult art to perfect.
This DVD filmed on his 2012 tour finds him 40 years down the line and an elder statesman of the singer song writer generation, supported by a superbly sympathetic band featuring Val McCallum (electric guitar, harmonica) Nickel Creek’s wonderful Sean (acoustic guitar) and Sara (fiddle, backing vocals) Watkins, Fritz Lewak (drums), Tyler Chester (bass, keyboards) playing hits including These Days, The Pretender, Running On Empty and Take It Easy as well as many more classics culled from across his body of work.
It’s no frills performance and a no frills DVD (no 5.1 or sound options, and no bonus features) with Browne looking hardly a day older than when he first started out. And as you might expect, it’s a faultless set – Browne’s vocals may have mellowed over the passing years, but he’s still able hold an audience in the palm of his hand.
Playing either acoustic seated centre stage or encamped behind the piano he’s an engaging performers whose comfortable inter song banter builds a bridge between the stage and the audience. I have to admit to Browne only ever being on the periphery of my musical consciousness, and watching the dvd two things struck me.
Firstly, what a wonderfully gifted performer he is, and secondly how much of the material is constructed without the sort of commercial hook (Take It Easy, apart) that might have elevated him to the uppermost tier of his profession.
But watching I’ll Do Anything, and I could be wrong, but his ease suggests that – given his time again – he wouldn’t change a thing. I’ll Do Anything may not be about to change hearts and minds, but it’s a faultless performance by master of his craft. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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