A lot of artists and musicians are struggling to figure out how best to address what many see as alarming political and nationalist trends since the rise of Donald Trump.
Singer and songwriter Jackson Browne did the simple and moving thing of putting a story into song. In the case of “The Dreamer,” released at the end of last year, the song is about a young girl who crosses the border from Mexico to be with her father. She grows up in the U.S. and has a love for this country, but gets deported. It’s simple, but sad and moving.
Browne, who turns 70 later this year, has been outspoken about the ways that music can give us insights and emotional connections to other people and other countries. He’s said that his youthful fondness for British music made him want to visit the England. The same with the music of Mali. Browne’s songs have often been about trying to be free through music. Some of his most well-known songs — like “These Days” and “The Load Out” — are about a life of making music.
Browne is in the same league as Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, writing poetic and poignant songs that connect with a mass audience. Browne is one of the mellow giants of the Southern California ‘70s folk-pop sound. In his quiet way he’s been speaking out against injustice and hypocrisy for decades.
Jackson Browne performs at Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford, on Thursday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $57. 203-265-1501, livenation.com.