Jackson Browne – Standing in the Breach (Rating 3.5 out of 5)

jacksonBy all accounts, Jackson Browne, with the release of his first studio recording since 2008, has produced some of his best music in at least a decade with Standing in the Breach.

The trademark Laurel Canyon Cosmic Cowboy vibe shows up in spades on “Leaving Winslow”, for those scoring at home the locale is also name checked in the Eagles song “Take it Easy,” and “The Birds of St. Marks” with its Byrds sensibilities could have shown up on The Pretender, which makes much sense since Browne started writing the song he has been playing live for years now in 1967.

“If I could be anywhere” is a lyrically dense song that has a certain Paul McCartney vibe to it, and “Here,” the album closer, is a classic Jackson Browne love song of the break-up variety that is form-fitting with some of his later work and could have appeared on The Naked Ride Home and vocally here he sounds a bit like John Lennon.

Generally staying off his political high horse Browne can’t seem to help himself on “Which Side,” a song title that pretty much speaks for itself.

This is a good record. His stint appearing with groups like Dawes and Mumford and Sons seems to have kept him musically hip and in the game, vocally he is in fine form, and the back to the future vibe of the entire proceedings will appeal to the old-school crowd while not alienating the hipster crowd.  A fine accomplishment indeed.