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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Jackson Browne: man of my (teenage) dreams

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Dear Jackson Browne, I can’t have your babies any more. I hope you’re okay with that? Photo supplied

I’m in my 60th year – I’m loving it! For example, I love all the ‘old timers’ that I know and love who are coming to Bluesfest, artists who are still going strong I might add – artists who provided the soundtrack for my youth and are now providing the soundtrack for my elder years. But not the same old soundtrack – the new one they recorded last year.

The Angels, The Black Sorrows, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Chain, The Doobie Brothers, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples and Steve Earle are all being prolific into their sixties, seventies and even eighties.

But there’s one artist this year who is like no other…

In all my years on the planet there has only ever been one man that I asked my friends, loudly and often, way back in 1979, if they thought he would like to father my babies? This was even before I started practising how to make babies, and through my entire life since then, even when I had babies, I’ve never said this about another man. 

This man, the man of my dreams, the one who would make everything perfect, was Jackson Browne.

When the wonderful Bluesfest folk asked me to send my wishlist for interviews last September, of course Mr Browne was on top of that list. But after I’d sent off my request and I started thinking about the prospect of actually talking to the legend, well … I got a bit anxious, and then my brain got tongue-tied, and then I had a panic attack – THEN I got really excited at the prospect, and then I had a little wee – an excited wee, not an oops-that-one-just-slipped-out-because-I’m-almost-60 wee!

All the young ’uns can bop along to whatever is taking their fancy this week, and will be forgotten the next, a metaphor for the throw-away society we have found ourselves in, but there is something to be said for an artist whose talent, after five or six decades, can still stir you – whose new music still speaks volumes.

Back to my untouchable one – Jackson Browne has an unmistakable voice – even at almost 75, there is something about the tone and quality that touches a little button in your brain. And for some of us, a little button somewhere else, and honestly I am not being crude, there is something in that voice that moves me.

When I first saw Jackson at Bluesfest many (many, many) moons ago, back when it was at the Red Devils, I stood there with my camera limp at my side. I just wept. I’m not even sure why – there was little emotion attached to it, just the knowledge that a mere four metres away was the vessel into which I had cast so much angst, and that now, well, that was that.

Alas, between time differences and schedules (his) and covid (mine) it was never going to work on the phone and let’s be realistic, there is no way I was going to be able keep my mouth in check and not stumble and mumble and sound like I was eating popcorn.

So, Jackson, if you are reading this, I just want you to know that I would have loved to have spoken to you in person – to tell you that the shop is shut and I can’t have your babies any more.

I hope you’re okay with that?

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