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Later Than It Seems


Mikal Gilmore

Time was, I revered Jackson Browne’s music as such as I did that of Bob Dylan or Lou Reed, but while I stayed with theirs, I started to slide from Browne’s after 1977’s Running on Empty, because he seemed to slide a bit too. Then, listening to an interview with him this morning on KCRW, followed by this song, I thought about him in the way I sometimes have thought about old friends. I had close companions that, over the years, I drifted from and lost touch with. It wasn’t as if we had fallings out, but various life events imposed distance and less frequency. Also, new faces and voices moved in—at least for a time.


Still, you may think about the ones you lost and grow curious and miss them. Facebook did a substantial job of restoring many of those relationships, and radio on Tuesday morning reminded me of how exceptional Browne once was in my mind—and in the minds of many. He possessed understanding and intelligence that allowed insights into our own hearts, personally and collectively, as we groped in times that were fading from a seeming light. He has a new album, Downhill from Everywhere, and it too has heart—weathered by age, but no less engaged in knowing the self and the times.

“I have done all that I could

To see the evil and the good without hiding

You must help me if you can


“Doctor, my eyes

Tell me what is wrong

Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?

“’Cause I have wandered through this world

And as each moment has unfurled

I've been waiting to awaken from these dreams


“People go just where they will

I never noticed them until I got this feeling

That it's later than it seems”

Mikal Gilmore is the author of four books, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning memoir Shot in the Heart and the 1960s cultural history Stories Done. He is a longtime writer for Rolling Stone.

These Days (live) ::: Jackson Browne & David Lindley

The Times You’ve Come ::: Jackson Browne

My Opening Farewell ::: Jackson Browne & Bonnie Raitt

Doctor My Eyes (live) ::: Jackson Browne

Fountain of Sorrow (solo) ::: Jackson Browne

Your Bright Baby Blues ::: Jackson Browne & David Lindley

Running On Empty ::: Jackson Browne

Don’t Let Us Get Sick ::: Jackson Browne

Jamaica Say You Will ::: Jackson Browne

The Barricades of Heaven (solo) ::: Jackson Browne

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