December Background – Jackson Browne

"Tender is the Night" - Jackson Browne (2011)

“Tender is the Night”

It’s been a crazy year and yet, here we are, bundling up in layers from the cold, sharpening our shovels for impending snow, dodging old men and soccer moms out doing their holiday shopping, and counting down the days until 2013 or December 21st, if you’re a Mayan.

Growing up, I always enjoyed the holiday season, but never really knew what coming together with family was truly like until I was out of high school and in college. That’s when I realized that family wasn’t accessible the way they were when I was a kid; people move, jobs change, and we all scatter around like jacks tossed on the ground.

It wasn’t until I didn’t have my family at arm’s length anymore that I started to learn, and am still learning, about the value of time spent and time received. The first half of 2012 feels like I was sprinting through the New York Marathon while I spent the second half as equally busy, but with a better handle on the pacing. I’ve come to realize that I’m starting to slow down, and not in a “I’m out of college, this is sad, where did my life go?” type of slow, but a “take a deep breath, live in the moment, and take it all in” sort of way.

About the Image

Well, enough with all the reflections and sappy nonsense, let’s talk about our new desktop background, the last one for 2012. I went the entire year without a single concert image and I couldn’t help myself; I love music and I love photography so getting to experience both at the same time is a thrill beyond almost anything else I know.

A few years ago, I rediscovered Jackson Browne and I did it in a way that would forever change my view of him as a musician. In high school, when I was really into classic rock, Jackson Browne was the guy who helped The Eagles get started with “Take It Easy” and he did that song in Forrest Gump… ummm… “Runnin’ on Empty,” but that’s where our relationship ended –  just the singles and nothing more.

Flash forward to 2009 and you’ll find me stumbling upon one of my favorite songs ever written, “The Pretender,” featured in Mr. Holland’s Opus. I immediately downloaded the song and discovered it was Jackson Browne. This was followed up by a discovery of Jackson’s acoustic live albums and a mass downloading and listening to those for a solid six months.

Since then, I’ve put Jackson Browne firmly up on my list of greatest “writes for the average American” songwriters, only to be shared with John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. What’s that mean? For me, these three have captured what it means to be a middle-class, hard-working American and all aspects of life and relationships experienced there.

Anyway, to wrap this up, last year Jackson Browne made a stop off in Peoria during the same week as my birthday and, as if that wasn’t awesome enough, he was performing… you guessed it… solo acoustic, just the man, the piano and the guitar, like those albums I have played so regularly over the years.

Wait… there’s more! Not only was Jackson playing a solo acoustic show near my birthday in my city of residence, but he was doing it in the theatre, which, for me, means perfect access to shoot with my camera. And, that’s what this photograph is: the great Jackson Browne, playing his music in the way it was originally written – stripped down and honest.

Please Note: I’m trusting all of you with these images. They are copyrighted, but I wish they didn’t have to be. With that in mind, please use them for their intended purpose and please don’t “steal” them; stealing is bad. Thanks!

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