The internet blows my mind. Twenty years ago who’d have believed that almost anything you wanted to know, listen to, or view was only a click or two away? Good thing that’s the case, because otherwise I wouldn’t have revisited David Dye’s recent World Café conversation with Jackson Browne.
I used to listen often to WXPN’s afternoon broadcast of the Café, when I was desk-bound at work in the outskirts of Center City Philadelphia. Great radio show with pretty long tentacles, showcasing music and musicians from hardly the whole world, but a fairly sizeable chunk of the planet. Since leaving that desk and my career in 2009, though, World Café hasn’t been on my radar screen too often. Running errands recently I luckily caught the tail end of the Browne segment on my car radio, and the next day listened to the full episode online. Jackson Browne is one impressive person. Beyond the fact that he’s a wonderful singer and songwriter, and on my list of all-time favorite musicians, he is really smart and perceptive. Clearly, here’s a guy who has given plenty of thought to his life and his place in the world. And musically he is not stuck in the past, a prisoner of the songs he wrote in his younger days. For proof, give a listen to his 2014 album Standing InThe Breach, a top-notch record.
The Browne interview, interspersed with excellent full-band Browne performances recorded last year in Philadelphia, is for all to hear on NPR’s website. In the final minutes of the conversation, David Dye, who is in his 60s, as is Browne, grows wistful and asks Jackson “are we just boring as we get older?” Jackson lets out some handsome chuckles, and then answers point-on. To beat back the ravages of time, he prescribes music, as do I. “As you age,” he says, “you look for ways in which to sustain yourself . . . Music is restorative, the act of doing it, the act of listening to it. Man, it’s good for you. It can really make the difference in how the rest of your life goes, and especially how you feel physically.” To add a few more notes to these ideas, I think that music likewise is good for you at pretty much any stage of your life, from age five or so onward, let’s say. The emotional release that music can produce, the way it unlocks inner doors and allows the sunshine in, are good for just about everyone.