Edelman: No Pretender, Jackson Browne Keeps it Real @ The Uptown

tour-poster-solo-acoustic-2014A troubadour’s only as valuable as his songs, and Jackson Browne has a bank vault full of em…

Armed with only his trusty ax – actually, 23 of them – and keyboard, Browne worked his way through what appeared to be an impromptu set list Thursday at the Uptown. Shout out a song title and he just might play it; if not: stay, just a little bit longer.

Opening with that by-now familiar anthem, Browne plowed through tunes from a whole passel of his 12 or so original and another seven or eight greatest hits/live albums.

Jumping from piano to a beautiful Martin dreadnought, Browne intoned the mournful “The Barricades of Heaven” from his 1996 release Looking East. That segued into the somewhat more uptempo “Giving That Heaven Away” from 2008’s Time Conqueror, an album that would see a few more selections as the evening wore on.

Jackson Browne is not a jovial tunesmith– by his own admission, his material is pretty dour and sorrowful. Sure, “Take It Easy” is a happy hit (Browne “got it over with” early in Act  Two). And “The Pretender,” which took him back to the piano, had a nice, rockin groove. But “Fountain of Sorrows” from 1974’s Late for the Sky, “Sky Black and Blue” from I’m Alive, and “The Bird of St Marks”– all played on a booming piano– sent us back to the brooding Browne we came for.

Brown cowBrowne offered up some great patter. When “Here Come Those Tears Again” got the call from the boisterous crowd, the balladeer asked if we wanted to hear the country version– and gave it up with his biggest smile of the set. We learned that the rockin “Shakytown” from Running On Empty was a tune Browne always wanted to write– except guitarist/ James Taylor buddy Danny Kortchmar got there first.

And the hits– “Doctor My Eyes,” “Running on Empty,” “Late for the Sky,” “Something Fine”– just kept on coming as Jackson shifted from the Martin to a black Strat, a beautiful Gibson flat-top, even a National steel guitar he slided (as opposed to slid)  around with style.

Long an out-spoken supporter of progressive causes, Browne chose the rousing “I Am a Patriot” from his World in Motion album for a first encore the day before the 4th of July. The proceedings came to a plaintive close with “Before the Deluge” back on the piano where this troubadour started the night.

Great show. Great venue. Great way to start a holiday weekend. 


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14 Responses to Edelman: No Pretender, Jackson Browne Keeps it Real @ The Uptown

  1. paulwilsonkc says:

    That’s the biggest line up of acoustics in waiting I’ve ever seen for one artist !

    • mike t. says:

      tom petty once remarked when asked about all of the guitars he had in his collection, “yeah… and all you really need is one.”

  2. Mark says:

    The problem is..which one?

  3. harley says:

    saw him as a kid years ago at cowtown….there are few artists today that can
    put together a song and lyrics like he can.
    I’ve always wondered if guys like him or crow or any of the artists who have
    lasted all their years would have ever been able to make it on a show
    like the voice or American idol.
    the debate can rage..one things for sure….Jackson has no equal….neither
    did willie sunday night. They sure don’t make them like they used to!!!
    great article Edelman.
    how were you related to fran zinger?

  4. kansas karl says:

    He only used 6 of the 23, I enjoyed the schitck of contemplating which guitar would be next.

  5. Mark says:

    My favorite aunt. Actually. aunt-in-law

    • harley says:

      fran was a great lady! had some nice incredible conversations with her..our
      families went way way back…god bless her

  6. Mark says:

    I asked one of the sound guys about that brown solid body that looked like a strat but had an f hole….the one Jackson said had “curb appeal.” He said it was a Japanese knock off. So they weren’t all vintage.

    • mike t. says:

      as long as you own numerous guitars, there’s always room for a cheapie that you just bang the hell out of. guess it wouldn’t be any different for Jackson Browne.

      I own 5 and right now my favorite is this black QVC-bought ESTEBAN that I paid $99 for. finally found the right spot for the tuning gears to quit moving so it’ll stay in tune. sounds great.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Not necessarily, Japan made some very good guitars in the 60s/70s. Electronics were bad but the wood and craftsmanship was very good.

      Some knock-offs of Rickenbackers are very collectable.

      John Prine spent a ton of money to refurbish the Airline archtop he bought while in the service.

      • mike t. says:

        I stand duly and humbly corrected, orphan. you’re quite right. just not the Japanese models I bought I guess.

        • Orphan of the Road says:

          Hard to say, they built a lot under a lot of names.

          That first guitar is like your first love. Mine came from 30′ up an old oak tree after a flood.

  7. Mark says:

    I have a Japanese strat I enjoy. Nice lightweight guitar. Sounds great. Fast neck.

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