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Album Review | Pop/Rock

Various artists, ‘Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne’

If anyone had any doubts about the durability of Jackson Browne’s canon, this two-disc tribute, featuring many of his friends and peers, should put them to rest. Unfortunately, the longtime troubadour of existential restlessness and uncertainty gets overly reverential treatments here from Don Henley, Lucinda Williams, and Bonnie Raitt, among many others. The artists take few chances and the choice of interpreters is much too narrow. The songs are strong enough to invite some experimentation, but contemporary rock, R&B, or pop performers are mostly excluded. Highlights include Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa’s ultra romantic “Linda Paloma” and Sean and Sara Watkins’s rendering “Your Bright Baby Blues” with tenderness and intensity. Lyle Lovett covers “Rosie,” yet his wry reading adds another dimension. The disappointments are surprising as Williams, whose bruised voice seems made for “The Pretender,” completely misses the pathos of one of Browne’s masterpieces, and Joan Osborne treats “Late for the Sky” like a museum piece. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Your Bright Baby Blues”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at franznine@live.com.
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