Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jackson Browne + Art Quilts

Jackson Browne is one of my favorite singer-songwriters. I've been listening to his music since the early '70's ("Doctor My Eyes") and have seen him in concert 3-4 times. Most recently was his concert last Sat. evening, Aug. 22 at the Maryhill Winery in Wash. ( overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.

I'd won two tickets from my favorite radio station in Portland, KINK FM 101.9 ( -- if you're out of their listening area, you can still listen to their "live stream"!). So last Sat., I drove to our cabin in Camp Sherman (2 hrs away), singing all the way, then jumped into my friend's (and next-door neighbor) Dean's car, and he drove us another 3-1/2 hrs north through beautiful, rugged canyon and high desert country to the "mighty Columbia" (talking & singing all the way.)

The winery was just over the river, and we spread our blanket on the terraced grass, looking down on the stage and behind it, the rugged hills of the Gorge. It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor concert, warm and clear, with a sunset that painted the hills gold. After sundown, the HUGE windmills blinked red in unison, like little candles on the hillsides. (Actually, they're caution lights to prevent planes from flying into the windmill farms!)

The music was hugely satisfying, with a nice blend of his earliest songs up to more current ones ( 2008's Time the Conqueror CD). He included all-time favorites like "Rock Me on the Water," "The Pretender," "Running on Empty," "Barricades of Heaven," "Too Many Angels," and for the 2nd encore, "The Load Out/Stay." My only disappointment (and it was significant), was that he didn't perform "Sky Blue & Black." I LOVE that song, even though it's sad.

Maryhill is in the middle of nowhere (also noted by Jackson, who quipped "None of you live around here, do you?"), so the very few motels within a 1-hr radius were full, reserved by SMART concert-goers who didn't want to drive 100 miles back to Portland that night. I directed Dean ("I don't eat snacks") to a gas station/mini-mart where we stocked up on road food: Peanut M&M's, Good & Plenty, Boston baked beans, licorice, etc. We also shared a tiny can of 5-hr Energy Blast (no caffeine, mostly B vitamins, said the clerk), which did keep us awake for the drive without giving us the jitters. (Of course, we talked & sang the whole way back to Camp Sherman.)

So, anyway, what's the link between Jackson Browne and art quilts? Well, after the concert, I spent two hours googling info on him and his music, and found that he's been in a relationship for over 10 years with Dianna Cohen, an L.A.-based artist. ( Her medium? Plastic bags. Oh, and thread. She hand-sews the bags into flowing compositions (hence the link to art quilts) and shows her work internationally. Verrrrry interesting!

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