“Santa Barbara’s like a second home,” said Jackson Browne in a recent interview with the Santa Barbara Independent. “I’ve had a very long long connection with S.B., starting since I was a teenager. I used to come up [from L.A.] to S.B. and surf at Rincon,” he explained. Browne’s bringing his legendary folk-rock repertoire back to the Bowl on Friday, August 3. His music has defined an era, inspired generations of musicians, spawned cover after cover, and has earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In fact, Browne’s musical, activist, and personal history have a deep foundation right here in Santa Barbara, he even built a home in Hollister Ranch around 1980. “For 20 years I played 20 concerts for S.B. activists, whether it was helping the homeless, people who were fighting the LNG plant, or advocating for solar power, or supporting the neighborhood clinics,” Browne said. During the upcoming concert, he’ll be introducing a new song “The Dreamer,” that he wrote with Eugene Rodriguez who’s “a strong intellectual as well as a champion of immigrant rights,” Browne said. This new song really showcases Browne’s “kind of activism,” in which he, “amplifies the message of activists that I think do a much harder job year-round,” Browne expanded.
As for the rest of his set list, Browne said, “I’ll be playing songs from all periods of my musical career. [Some] of my most popular songs as well as some of my deep tracks.” He added, “It’s not unusual for people to call out a song and we pause and do it. I’m not trying to have that happen all the time now, but there was a time where it didn’t feel right to me unless people were really calling for songs.” According to Browne he doesn’t exactly know how to explain how he goes about choosing which songs to play in his shows. “The best way I can put it is I play the songs that I wanna play,” he said. Browne even said in his solo tours he’d go on stage without a set list. “I’d play whatever I felt like playing at the moment and my audience got used to calling out the stuff and have me do it,” he said.
In this most recent tour Browne said he, the band, and the crew have planned the songs out a bit more. “The more prepared you are the more able you are to diverge from that plan,” Browne explained. However, he stressed, “Anything can happen in a show.”
Friday’s concert will erupt the Bowl into a dazzling, enlightening night of authentic American music. “[SB] has always felt more like a hometown to me than L.A.,” Browne said, and he’s set to unleash his love for this city once again.
411: Jackson Browne plays Friday, August 3, 7 p.m., at the Santa Barbara Bowl Bowl (1122 N. Milpas St.). Call (805) 962-7411 or visit sbbowl.com.