New Jackson Browne Song And New Jackson Browne Cover From Gregg Allman, Both Superb

Where do the dreams go,
Born of faith and illusion,
Where there is no road or footprint,
Only desires that whisper to the heart

The verse above is a classic example of what we’ve come to know and love as a Jackson Browne lyric. No high-concept wankage, no too-clever wordplay, nothing intended to shock or provoke, just Browne’s gift for finding the most moving and disarmingly direct ways to express the most simple and basic of human emotions. Add to that his mastery of melody and song structure and you’ve got perhaps the finest songwriter of the entire California Folk-Rock scene of the 1970s.

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These lyrics are from a single Browne just released this week called “The Dreamer” and it’s a beautiful piece of work. The song was written in collaboration with Mexican-American songwriter Eugene Rodriguez and performed with Mexican-American folk artists Los Cenzontles, and it is sung half in English and half in Spanish.

It wouldn’t be the first time Browne has recorded in a Mexican idiom. His fans will remember The Pretender, his breakthrough masterpiece from 40 years ago, included the mariachi-flavored track “Linda Paloma”. This time around, though, the Mexicali treatment isn’t just window dressing because “The Dreamer” takes on the story of a Mexican girl who has lived in the United States all her life and is suddenly being threatened with deportation.

The song is decidedly not political. There are no polemics or calls to action, just a simple story from the girl’s point of view. And simple stories told well are what Jackson Browne does best.

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Here’s another Jackson Browne song that re-emerged this week and it’s also worth listening to. The late Gregg Allman had a bunch of material recorded before he passed away in May this year, and it’s all being put together for a posthumous release in the new year. One of the tracks on the album is a cover of Jackson Browne’s “Song For Adam”, a heartbreaking track about a friend’s death that appeared on Browne’s debut album. Allman said he recorded it with his brother Duane in mind, and when he gets to the line “Still he stopped his singing in the middle of his song”, he chokes up and can’t finish the verse. Powerful stuff, and a testament to the timeless qualities of Browne’s songwriting.

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