Album Preview: Standing In The Breach, Jackson Browne

We are now just two weeks away from the release of Standing In The Breach, the new studio album from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Californian music legend Jackson Browne. Since the news broke two months ago, new information has slowly broken cover about the new album; his first since Time The Conqueror released back in 2008 on Browne’s own label Inside Recordings. Standing In The Breach is made up of ten songs, at turns deeply personal and political, exploring love, hope, and defiance in the face of the advancing uncertainties of modern life.

Some songs on the record will be familiar with Jackson Browne fans as the album marks a culmination of not only a newer style Jackson has been adopting, but also the new players he has incorporated into his music over the past few years. “This is my ideal band, with some of my favorite players, all of whom appear on the new CD, and whose combined gifts provide the musical foundation and emotional underpinnings of my new songs,” says Jackson. “The interplay between Val McCallum and Greg Leisz on this album – the effortlessness of their chemistry is a gift really, that just dropped into my lap.

Track Listing

1. The Birds St. Marks 

The Birds of St. Marks is one of Jackson’s oldest songs, written in 1967 when Browne was just 18, back in California after a spell living in New York. Written primarily about Jackson’s brief relationship with Nico, the German singer-songwriter, best known for her allegiance with the Velvet Underground. Although the song is one of the artist’s oldest tunes, it has never been recorded for a studio album, it was recorded as a demo in 1970 and occasionally heard in the live setting as captured on his first Solo Acoustic album, but has only now been given the treatment Jackson had originally envisioned. “This is a song I always heard as a Byrds song, and that was even part of the writing of the song,” he told Rolling Stone. The song re-creates the iconic Byrds sound with a David Crosby-esque harmony from Val McCallum and Kipp Lemon.

Pre-order Standing In The Breach and you can receive The Birds of St. Marks instantly. Also available to download individually.

Listen to The Birds of St Marks.

2. Yeah Yeah

All we know so far is this one is 6 minutes and 14 seconds in duration.

3. The Long Way Around

The Long Way Around is the newest song to be revealed with Jackson performing it at the Americana Music Awards with fellow Troubadour, Ry Cooder. At first listen you’d be forgiven for mistaking this song for These Days, thanks for its similar opening and structure and the mention of These Days. However, like that classic, still yearned for by Browne’s concert goers, he remarks on the situation of the present day. But instead of from an introspective, inward place, looking outside and what society has become around him.

Listen to The Long Way Around (Courtesy of Canal de biamaku)

4. Leaving Winslow 

Leaving Winslow was written for an art project in the small town in Arizona that Browne helped spotlight with his song Take It Easy, written with Glen Frey and performed by the Eagles on their debut album. Leaving Winslow was inspired by a group of guys who used to ride the railways and who would set up camp by the rails near Jackson’s house.

Listen to Leaving Winslow (Courtesy of Nanci Sauder Ruest)

5. If I Could Be Anywhere

If I Could Be Anywhere is a song Jackson started whilst aboard Mission Blue Voyage, the Sylvia Earle-inspired trip to brainstorm ways to save the ocean, then later completed for a TED talk on the same topic. The song highlights the growing issue of the usage of plastic within society and the adverse effects it is having on the planet. This is a topic that has been a passion for Jackson as well as his partner Diana Cohen who co-founded the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The song is a brilliant protest style song about a topic which is not at the top of many people’s big issues yet.

Listen to If I Could Be Anywhere (Courtesy of TED)

6. You Know The Night

You Know The Night; already released as a single, was written for legendary American folk singer Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday. Jackson was given a letter from the Guthrie family, originally sent from Guthrie himself to his wife, and Jackson shaped it into song and at the same time helped introduce Woody Guthrie to a new audience and bring this autobiographical love letter to life.

You Know The Night is available to download on iTunes already, although it is a stand alone single released in 2011.

Listen to You Know The Night (Courtesy of jbfan2000)

7. Walls and Doors

All we know so far is this one is just over 6 minutes in duration.

8. Which Side

Which Side or also known as Which Side Are You On? was written for the Occupy Movement of 2011. Jackson was seen in Zuccotti Park (Liberty Sqaure) performing for Occupiers accompanied by Americana band Dawes. This song draws similarities with Little Steven’s I Am A Patriot which Jackson covered for his 1989 release World In Motion. It is also provides the battle cry which side are you on as Jackson questions our position between the good of the people and the power of the bureaucrats.

Listen to Which Side (Courtesy of Angel “Music Views” Aguilar)

9. Standing In The Breach

The album’s title track was originally written about the Haitian Earthquake and the sheer devastation is caused but then developed into a bigger picture of being the change you want to see. I like to think of this song as the Before The Deluge moment for a new generation. That’s a strong statement to make but the imagery he creates in this song makes a massive resemblance; “the unpaid debts of history, the open wounds of time” or “so many live in poverty while others live as kings, while some may find peace and acceptance in all that living brings.” Then to culminate with the statement “you know the change that the world needs know is there in everyone” almost saying are you ready to be that change you want?

Listen to Standing In The Breach* (Courtesy of Chris Cook)

* This version is not perfect as the version I wanted to include has been removed from YouTube. But it shows what the song sounds like even if in an interview, Browne himself expressed annoyance at the video. Instead of showing his new song the story was that he forgot the lyrics. However he shows great humility in the circumstances.

10. Here

Here completes the album and is a song about being in the moment, being in “the present even if you don’t care for the present, even if you’re kinda locked in the past.” says Jackson. The song was written for the 2010 Kevin Spacey film, Shrink about a psychiatrist to the stars who cannot solve his own emotional issues.

Listen to Here (Courtesy of BlackTree TV)


Standing In The Breach like many of its songs is pushing Jackson Browne into the present day. When many artists of his kin reflect, Jackson isn’t looking anywhere but forward and the now. It questions politics, politicians and their motives and the motives of the people in a world that is so uncertain and is providing so much disappointment for people wishing for and fighting for more.

Standing In The Breach; Jackson Browne’s thirteenth studio album and second on his own Inside Recordings, will be available October 6th internationally and the following day in the United States.

Full Band

September – 27 Newport Folk Fest Presents Way Over Yonder – Santa Monica, CA
October 4 – Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center -York, PA
October 7 – Beacon Theatre -New York, NY
October 10 – Academy of Music- Philadelphia, PA
October 12 – Benedum Center – Pittsburgh, PA
October 14 – Chicago Theatre – Chicago, IL
October 15 – E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall- Akron, OH
October 17 – Palace Theatre – Columbus, OH
October 18 – Murat Theatre – Indianapolis, IN

Full Band

November 17 – Symphony Hall – Birmingham, UK (I’ll be there come and say hello!)
November 18 – Bridgewater Hall – Manchester, UK
November 20 – The Sage – Gateshead, UK
November 21 – Royal Concert Hall – Glasgow, UK
November 24 – Royal Albert Hall – London, UK

For more information, concert reviews and more visit

One comment

  1. “Here” appeared on the movie soundtrack you mention, but was written for his son after a breakup with his girlfriend. Not sure which son.

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