I was playing recently at an outdoor venue, and an older gentleman stood nearby and listened intently. When I stopped for a short break, he walked up to me. “You sound a lot like Jackson Browne”, he said. I’d never heard that comparison before, and being a big fan of Jackson Browne, I took it as a huge compliment. “Jackson Browne saved my life”, he went on. As a lover of stories, I knew this would be a good one. So I asked him to explain.
He shared that as a younger man, he suffered from severe depression. His life had become so unbearable that he had decided to commit suicide. “My mind was made up”, he said, “the only question was just how to do it.” During this time, he heard the song “Doctor My Eyes” by Browne. “Something in the song touched my heart. It gave me hope, something to hold onto; a reason to go on living.”
I started playing again, and he stood with tears in his eyes as I fumbled my way through a Jackson Browne cover. He smiled and thanked me, then made his way down the street alone.
Wow. Will I ever write a song that will save someone’s life? Maybe not, but hopefully I’ve made someone smile, tap their feet, or forget about their worries for awhile. And maybe that’s enough.