Jackson Browne, the folk-rock troubadour long known for his activism, came to Columbia in 1978 to sing a free concert at a protest march in Barnwell. The marchers were rallying against the nuclear plant there, a development that Browne viewed as a dangerous energy strategy by the U.S. government.
Browne brought his young son to the show and contributed $15,000 to the Palmetto Alliance for the demonstration. At the rally he told the crowd, “The Barnwell plant is much, much too close to me – and I live in Los Angeles. I’ll sing as long as you want me to. I hope I’m doing enough.”
In a career spanning five decades, Browne has brought the world outspoken political protest songs and introspective earworms that are at once pensive and pugnacious. You have him to thank for the hits “Take it Easy,” “These Days” and “Running on Empty.”
He brings his solo acoustic tour to the Township Auditorium on Monday, Jan. 11.
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The man’s pushing 70, but don’t call him a fuddy-duddy yet.
Last year, Browne released his 14th album, “Standing in the Breach,” which Rolling Stone called a “superb, inspiring album” that kept his signature sound intact.
At Browne’s Township performance, expect more of the same – a show brimming with social commentary, new tunes and a few old favorites.
Before you go, check out this compilation of Browne quotes from various points in the singer’s illustrious career, on topics from music to politics to his lasting legacy.
On being a musician
“It takes a lot of time to get to be a musician, you have to spend a lot of time practicing what looks like nothing to other people, to make it look like you’re not doing anything. You need isolation and you need a certain amount of room, you need a buffer zone, sometimes you just need a girlfriend. What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless.”
The Independent, 2014
“My basic belief is that half the song, maybe more, exists in the life and experience of the listeners. You can’t sing about something people don’t know about. I used to think it too much to claim my songs are universal, but that’s what happens. If it’s not about everyone, it won’t make it through the process.”
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 1994
“Life is temporary. The acceptance of that brings a lot of gifts. You don’t have forever, so you have to come to the point.”
Dallas Morning News, 2008
On making ‘Take It Easy’
“I was in the middle of making my first album, and it was taking so long the engineer needed time off. So I went on this car trip in a beat-up 53 Willys wagon. ... I got to Utah by way of Winslow, Arizona, then my car died. I was picked up by these people I’d been partying with in Utah, these ex-Army MPs. I started writing ‘Take It Easy’ in the back of their van. I got back to town and Glenn Frey came to see me in the studio. I sang this song for him. It wasn’t done, but he wanted it for the Eagles. He kept calling me: ‘Is it finished? Do you want me to finish it?’ He added a verse and a chorus. I had ‘standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.’ But I didn’t even know what a flatbed Ford was. You need a guy like Glenn, whos a girl-Ford-Lord guy. Also he put himself into the song: ‘The girl slowing down to take a look at me,’ that’s pure Glenn Frey.”
Rolling Stone, 2014
“Political things are things you begin to take personally. They’re as important, as strongly felt ... as a personal relationship.”
Tampa Bay Times, 1989
“People want culture to express their real concerns. I mean, how long are you really going to sing about girls and cars?’’
Tampa Bay Times, 1989
On leaving a legacy
“It’s funny in a way, because something you wrote 20 years ago people still hear on the radio and identify you with. People always say, ‘Jackson Browne, oh yeah, ‘Doctor My Eyes.’ I’ve never considered that song to be the main factor in my body of work. Basically, when I make a record now I have to compete with the idea people have of me from my past. People associate me with a time that is over and done with.”
Buffalo News, 1996
“I feel like I’m a practitioner of some sort of arcane art form that is not really done any more, but is there for anybody who wants to check it out. But this is one of my conceits: The songs stay written. I think my songs have stayed written. That’s my legacy.”
Rolling Stone, 2007
Related content: Jackson Browne to perform at Township Auditorium
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Jackson Browne solo acoustic tour
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11
WHERE: Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St.