One Track Mind: Lyle Lovett, “Rosie” from Looking into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne (2014)

That Jackson Browne, one of the 1970s and ’80s most prolific and recognizable singer-songwriters, hasn’t already had one of these all-out, star-flecked tribute moments boggles the mind, really. That Looking Into You is so pleasantly varied, in its song and artist selection, is almost as surprising.

There’s a fizzy mixture of cult favorites, up-and-comers and, of course, the expected classic-rock legends sprinkled throughout the double-disc set, due April 1, 2014 via Music Road Records. For every Don Henley and Bruce Springsteen (who cover “These Days” and “Linda Paloma”), we find David Lindley (“Everywhere I Go”), Griffin House (“Barricades of Heaven”) and J.D. Souther (on the smartly chosen closer, “My Opening Farewell”). Henley, in fact, is paired with Blind Pilot, and Lindley appears alongside Bonnie Raitt. Elsewhere, Marc “Walking in Memphis” Cohn sits in with violinist Joan Wasser.

As you can see, Looking into You also digs well past expected hits like “Running on Empty,” “Doctor My Eyes,” “The Pretender” and “Rock Me on the Water” — though, happily, those are here too, interpreted by the likes of Bob Schneider, Paul Thorn, Lucinda Williams and Keb Mo, respectively.

Then, there’s the laconic, deeply underrated Lyle Lovett, who thankfully gets two chances to interpret Browne’s work, first with “Our Lady of the Well” and then with “Rosie,” a homey aside originally recorded backstage in 1977 at Saratoga Springs, New York, for Browne’s Running on Empty album. Lovett plunges into this song’s sad lovers fate, making every word sound like a slow death. It’s a wonder of heartbroken acceptance.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • Thom Wolke

    .
    Until someone can explain to me why
    everyone is okay with the fact that the CEO (who I hear is a “nice guy”)
    of one of this country’s largest producers (including ‘fracking’) and
    transporters of natural gas, produced and financed this album, I must urge folks to boycott buying, playing, or reviewing this project.
    .