May 11, 2012

L.A. Music: Jackson Browne & The Moody Dudes

This is a post about Jackson Browne, but first, a word about James Taylor.  JT won't ever be featured here on my Friday series, because a) although I like a few songs, his music doesn't move me enough to dwell on it and b) he's an East Coast guy all the way.  When I got to meet the lovely Jenn a couple years ago, she started explaining where she lived, and I said, "oh...the James Taylor territory?" because that's the sum of my experience with the Berkshires.

Anyway. James Taylor is a famously mellow mellow sensitive dude, and from all his appearances on the early days of Saturday Night Live, it seems he's also got a good sense of humor.  But my husband and I have this running joke that JT is a total asshole.  I think it started when I was idly watching some PBS concert, and my husband said, "I don't know... he just looks really uptight and angry.  I bet he's a real asshole." And I protested, because, you know...JT! All of the above stuff, mellow mellow, "You've Got a Friend," "Sweet Baby James," etc. etc.   Nope, he asshole.   So now whenever we see James Taylor on TV, it's all "there's that ASSHOLE!!" And we giggle madly.   (Such is the stuff that keeps an almost 18 year relationship going.) 

In the same way, I have a feeling that Jackson Browne might be an asshole, too.  For a guy who sings some mellow mellow songs and is all sensitive and liberal, it seems like maybe there's some underlying tension there.  I like a verbal, sensitive man, but there can only be one moody, touchy person in any relationship, and I call dibs.

But I don't have to live with him, I just get to enjoy the creative effects of all his moody, tortuous relationships.
Image from here.
Here's my Two Degrees of Separation from Jackson Browne story:  He grew up in a neighborhood called Sunny Hills, which is a tree-lined, rural-feeling area in the hills of Fullerton, in north Orange County.  (My husband has worked for a company in Fullerton for nearly his entire working life, and I got my B.A. from Cal State Fullerton.)  I have a friend here in town whose mom attended Sunny Hills High along with Jackson Browne, and briefly dated him.  In fact, one of his early songs is supposedly named after her, but I'm not going to name it here and open that can of worms.  My friend remembers Jackson calling her house and her mom laughing and reminiscing with him. How cool is that?

Okay.  So I'm sounding pretty jaunty here, but the reason I'm writing about Jackson Browne this week is that I'm feeling quite moody and touchy myself.  There's nothing at all for me to  be sad/mad/upset about, but tell that to my chemical imbalance. I've been suffering bouts of anxiety lately, the racing heart, short of breath, hand wringing sort.  Yesterday, doing some Mother's Day shopping in the aisles of Sephora, I felt like I might pass out.  Clearly I need a change of scenery, a shake-up in my routine.  Yoga? 'Ludes?

But it's Friday, and here I am.  The following is the last song off of Browne's third album, Late for the Sky.  Twenty years ago,  I listened to this album a lot  and the feelings it evoked back then, I still feel today.  This is dismaying, as supposedly we change and evolve, but some things, like my tendency toward ennui and sadness, remain just the same. On an optimistic note, I can now relate to the line about how having a real friend makes all the others so much easier to bear.

And I like to think that if my husband, he of the geeky/gadgets/binary code ilk, was actually of the sensitive songwriter/poet/guitar strumming ilk (he wouldn't be my husband),  he might be able to quote the last lines of this song to me, and remind me that I can just, you know, stop.

"Look: it's like you're standing in the window
of a house nobody lives in,
And I'm sitting in a car across the way.
Let's just say, it's an early model Chevrolet
Let's just say, it's a warm and windy day.
You go and pack your sorrow,
The trash man comes tomorrow,
Leave it at the curb, and
We'll just roll away."

As it is, he can make me giggle madly.  And breathe. And that's not something small. So I say to him:

"...While they scuffled through your weary smiles
I thought of all the empty miles
And the years that I'd spent
Looking for your eyes."

Enjoy! And here's to taking some deep breaths this Friday.

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