WASHINGTON -- Musician and political activist Jackson Browne gave a free performance at Occupy Washington DC in Freedom Plaza on Monday, just four days after visiting Zuccotti Park in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
"Music is like the heartbeat," Browne told HuffPost, speaking about the importance of music within the Occupy movement. "I think it helps motivate and helps give people heart. Even love songs have the resonances of people who want freedom, who want fulfillment, who want a prosperous life, who want their dreams to come true."
In D.C., he performed five songs for roughly a hundred listeners ranging from occupiers to passers-by, loyal Browne fans to workers on their lunch break. The songs included "Casino Nation," "Far From These Arms of Hunger," "For America" and a cover of Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul's "I Am a Patriot." The fifth song, "Battle for the Future," was inspired by Occupy Wall Street.
"When he saw what we were doing, Jackson was immediately interested," said Kevin Zeese, an organizer for Occupy Washington DC, the demonstration formerly known as Stop the Machine. "He sees us as standing for what he believes in. He's very much with the same kind of philosophy we are."
The D.C. encampment is close to Browne's heart for reasons beyond his own political sympathies: His goddaughter and a close friend are highly involved with Occupy Washington DC.
"He's a tireless activist for so many causes," said Crystal Zevon, former wife of the late musician Warren Zevon, as she introduced Browne to the audience. "My family wouldn't have survived without him."
Speaking to reporters after his performance, Browne urged them to talk about the "consensus process" that Occupy Wall Street has adopted to make decisions, warning that it's "an arduous process and not for the faint of the heart."
"It's a testament that it's a voice of the people," Browne said. "It's far more democratic than our electoral process at the moment."
Browne sang and strummed his guitar in front of a roughly 20-foot-high Christmas tree handcrafted from recycled plastic bottles and bags, the concept of which was conceived by Browne's goddaughter. A lighting of the tree is scheduled for Tuesday night.
"People are here for the duration," Browne told the audience. "You don't need a new song for the movement. It's got plenty of songs. It just needs people to show up and sing."