Following the death of famed Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist David Lindley at age 78 on March 3, his longtime collaborator Jackson Browne shared his thoughts in a heartbreaking statement shared with Billboard.
According to Los Angeles Times. A cause of death was not provided.
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Read Browne’s full tribute to Lindley below in his own words, as he recalls the story of their wonderful personal and professional relationship and the qualities he will always remember in his late friend.
David Lindley, the guitarist, lap steel and violinist who gave his personality and inspiration to so many of my songs, passed away on March 3. The outpouring of love and widespread acknowledgment of his mastery was very moving. I want to join the resounding chorus of appreciation for his gifts, but nothing I write sounds good enough. Words have never been enough to describe what David Lindley brought to a song.
I first played with David in a dressing room at the Troubadour in 1969. My friend Jimmy Fadden of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had taken him to say hello, and pointed out that David had his violin with him, saying that he was probably going to sit down if I asked him to. I already knew him from the group Kaleidoscope, whose first album, Side Trips, was one of my favorite records.
We started playing my song These Days, and my world changed. His playing was so moving and immediate – he mesmerized me and everyone there. It didn’t matter that he had never heard the song before. What he was playing made him more emotional and real than he had ever seemed in the years that I had played him alone.
David was in England playing with Terry Reid when I made my first album. When he came back, I tried to get a touring band together with him, but it wasn’t as good as it was with the two of us. I decided that we would tour this way, as a duo, despite the fact that there was a single on the charts that required drums, bass and congas to play properly. We haven’t even played it. We played a lot of songs that I had written up until then, old songs that we both knew, and songs that friends had written. Eventually I had a band with him, and it was a rich and varied musical environment. We co-led a national tour with Bonnie Raitt. They were the band from my third album, Late For The Sky.
David is a very big part of me – who I have become and who I remain. No one has ever played like him. In my later bands, after David left to form El Rayo – X, we played the structure of the songs, more or less based on what he had played, but it was, and still is, musicians to invoke theirs. Lindley’s nature. Good luck! It is a very good thing to do. He didn’t play the same every time. He was always exploring, always hearing something new. Always in the moment.
David’s musical interests were so wide-ranging and his genius so evident that he attracted and performed with many great artists of our time. Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Graham Nash and David Crosby, Warren Zevon, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen. But it was his band, El Rayo – X, that became the rich and fertile environment that gave him carte blanche to develop and blend his influences, and create the unique synthesis that would now and forever be known as David Lindley.
With Henry Kaiser, David continues the exploration of world music he began with Kaleidoscope. I am grateful to Henry for posting his Requiem For David Lindley, and for all the other posts and clips on the internet that testify to the many different cultures David has navigated, weaving them into one world.
My own world is turned upside down by David’s passing. He was my friend and my teacher. It is with great pleasure and certainty that I have revisited our special bond over the years. I guess I thought he would still be there.
I’ve had a hard time writing something and posting it for the past two weeks. It was hard to start, and it’s hard to finish, I guess, because I don’t want to let him go. David was nice to everyone and so funny. Unable to utter a dishonest word or play a dishonest note. There will be tribute concerts, and a documentary about him, that’s for sure. There will be ways for us to continue to celebrate his life. And we all know there will never be another David Lindley.
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