Jackson Browne on Making a New Album: ‘Your Standards Plague You’

Share This:

Jackson Browne (Photo via his Facebook page)

Jackson Browne released a new studio album, Downhill From Everywhere, on July 23, 2021, that coincided with the new start date of his U.S. tour with James Taylor. (The tour, originally scheduled for summer 2020 was postponed, like all such outings, due to the pandemic.)

In March 2020, Browne revealed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. At the time, he said he was quarantined and recuperating at his Los Angeles home. The singer-songwriter was interviewed in the April/May 2021 issue of AARP Magazine and was asked about his absence from the stage.

“I really miss contact with an audience,” he says. “I’ve done six or seven virtual shows. And I always think, right up to the moment I’m supposed to stream from my house, that I’m going to be performing to a live audience. It’s good to know that this thing that we love, live music, is waiting for us, that it’s on the other side of this quarantine.”

Watch the video for “My Cleveland Heart,” with a cameo from Phoebe Bridgers

In that AARP interview, Browne talks a bit about his younger days. “I was not popular in high school, but I had a good friend who was. So I got included in lots of stuff: I surfed with a bunch of guys—and we’re all still friends—and I fell into a crowd of musicians. By the time I was 15, I was writing songs.”

Listen to one of the new album’s highlights, “Still Looking For Something”

He shares a story from 1972. “I remember coming home from a gig after my first album was released,” he says. “The girl I was seeing picked me up at the airport and said, ‘Check this out,’ then turned on the radio. And ‘Doctor My Eyes’ was on the radio! And I thought, ‘far out’.”

Related: Our Album Rewind of Browne’s debut LP

Browne has earned six Top 20 singles in his career, beginning with his first, “Doctor My Eyes,” which reached #8 in 1972. Other songs from his classic rock catalog include “Running on Empty,” “Rock Me on the Water,” and “Fountain of Sorrow.” He co-wrote “Take it Easy” with Glenn Frey, which became the first hit for the Eagles.

Browne, born Oct. 9, 1948, was asked about the process of creating a new album at his age. Downhill From Everywhere was his first since 2014. “It’s harder and harder, because your standards plague you. You wind up trying to write something as good as this other song that you wrote. That’s just death.”

Interview courtesy: AARP THE MAGAZINE, APRIL/May 2021

Listen to “Minutes to Downtown”

Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe spoke to Browne in July 2021 and asked him about his early career success.

“I distrusted fame,” said Browne. “I just thought like, don’t think this is going to be the answer to your problems because it’s not. Sure enough. I mean, the things that happened to me were not because I was busy being famous. But honestly, in the long run, I’d say that it’s very hard to grow up in the public eye, hard to make mistakes in public and live in a way that is sort of on display to the world and feel like you have any control. It’s hard to be in control of your own life and your own destiny.”

Lowe asked Browne about the album title, Downhill From Everywhere.

“I realized that downhill has that sort of resonance… is it all downhill from here? And I didn’t have to say that. I didn’t want to say that in so many words, but it actually specifically refers to the fact that the ocean is downhill from all of humanity. It’s really that I got to get to that place where I say that and give that some thought. I mean, there’s a storm drain out in front of my studio, there’s a little stenciled sign on it saying, ‘This drain leads to the ocean.’ So be careful what you put in there. You don’t put anything in there. I mean, LA, every time it rains, no one can go in the water because the runoff is so toxic for a week or so, that you can’t… I mean, all these drains lead to the ocean, whether it’s just bacteria, or whether it’s something like a discarded needle, or some sort of a staph infection, or something like that, it all washes into the ocean, and all that goes regularly into the ocean.”

Listen to the title track from “Downhill From Everywhere”

Tickets to see Browne in concert are available here and here.

Watch Browne’s interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music 1

Best Classic Bands Staff

8 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. Z-man
    #1 Z-man 2 April, 2021, 12:24

    Classic Jackson Browne. Amazing at 72 and still writing/performing such terrific stuff.

    Reply this comment
  2. Kmase
    #2 Kmase 2 April, 2021, 22:38

    Amazing, the heart and soul of my generation

    Reply this comment
  3. Brucie
    #3 Brucie 3 April, 2021, 02:29

    Long may he reign

    Reply this comment
  4. Patch
    #4 Patch 3 April, 2021, 08:33

    The wealth of talent that Browne keeps pulling out from that deepest part of his soul is still amazing. So inspirational and thought provoking.

    Reply this comment
  5. Artie Dootie
    #5 Artie Dootie 3 April, 2021, 19:36

    Will they ever get to Wales…please?

    Reply this comment
  6. Hollywood
    #6 Hollywood 4 April, 2021, 21:29

    Still going strong at 72 ……. We need him back “live,” glad it’s happening soon for him !

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.