What does it sound like?:
This review comes with the general acceptance that a new album by Jackson Browne is probably about as fashionable as leprosy, and more than likely has zero relevance to the current music scene. It’s unlikely to feature in any hip and happening top 50s of 2021, though might just scrape a mention in Uncut. So, with that all said as a way of managing expectations, is it actually any good? Depends on your perspective I guess. If you live in dreary old Blighty but your heart is in Laurel Canyon sharing a spliff with Henry Diltz circa 1971, then you are likely to be a convert to whom I have little need to preach. And yes, Downhill From Everywhere is rather good. All the usual concerns are present and correct – matters of the heart, the state of the planet – with a few Caribbean and Spanish vibes to spice up the tastefully played guitar and lap steel. David Lindley is no longer on board, but it almost sounds as if he is – this is music that doesn’t stray far from the mould. Still Looking For Something wouldn’t be out of place on Late For The Sky, My Cleveland Heart zips along whimsically, A Little Too Soon To Say would fit nicely on The Pretender, and even the duet A Human Touch just escapes slipping into 80s power ballad territory thanks to some deft musical touches. The album may not be cutting edge, but it’s Jackson Browne’s best set in quite a while, and as such it defies expectations by being just about as good as it can be.
What does it all *mean*?
At 72 Jackson Browne has no business making an album this good. Along with David Crosby (79) and Rodney Crowell (70), who also have excellent new material out, here is proof that septuagenarian singer / songwriters can still deliver material that is amongst their very best.
Goes well with…
Late For The Sky, Californian coast roads with the top down, in the days when the only glow came from the wine and the setting sun, rather than the wild fires.
23rd July 2021
Might suit people who like…
Nostalgia, although it’s reputedly not what it used to be.