...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jackie Greene: Wunderkind with a harmonica

Hailing from the scenic California state capital of Sacramento (ok, not really scenic but passable), Jackie Greene has been steadily rolling out a hearty brand of folksy Americana music for the past few years. The 24-year-old songwriter is a multi-talented fellow, who in addition to singing also plays guitar, dobro, piano, harmonica, and percussion.

I was shocked to find out how young he was, for the impressive body of musical work he has already accomplished. He played at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in October of 2004, when he was a mere 23. According to a news article, "Greene not only received standing ovations at two separate stages, but also sold more CDs and DVDs and signed more autographs at the Tower Records booth than any other participating artist. " Not too shabby.

Jackie Greene fell onto my musical plate through the efforts of KFOG last year, with his excellent song (still my favorite by him), "Honey, I Been Thinking 'Bout You." This is a rolling ballad with rousing harmonica and cutting lyrics like:

"I don't wanna be your two-weekend lover,
your boy in the back, your one or the other.
And I ain't lookin' for a wife or a mother,

but honey I been thinking about you.

And maybe you're wrong, and maybe you're right,
and maybe we can sit here and argue all night . . .
or maybe you just better turn out the lights,

cos honey I been thinking 'bout you."

"I don't really care 'bout your hot blooded sister
I'm sure there's a man for to love her and miss her
I didn't mean nothing I just happened to kiss her
But honey I was thinkin' bout you..."

That song was definitely one of my favorites of last year. Get it here:

"Honey, I Been Thinking 'Bout You" - Jackie Greene

Jackie Greene released an independent record in 2000 called Rusty Nails, and was "discovered" shortly thereafter at an open mic in 2001. His second album rolled out in 2002, called Gone Wanderin'. He also gained some notoriety for his album Positively 12th and K: A Tribute to Bob Dylan, with which came a torrent of comparisons to the young Dylan, which are a dime a dozen, but there is substance and talent in Mr. Greene. In May of 2005 he released his third (critically-acclaimed) album, Sweet Somewhere Bound, and he has a new album coming out on Verve Forecast next Tuesday (March 14) called American Myth.

NPR's World Cafe featured him last summer; Greene performed four songs from Sweet Somewhere Bound & American Myth, and ruminated a bit on guys his age liking artists like Dylan & Clapton, but still doing the things that 24-year-olds do ("...I still chase girls, do stupid things with my friends - I just happen to like that kind of music"):
  • Featuring 4 songs: About Cell Block #9, Honey I Been Thinking About You, Love Song at 2:00am, Gone Wanderin'

You can stream another fabulous set of songs off his new album from just last month on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic (if the above link doesn't work, go to the main page to open the audio player). His new music combines with interesting interview commentary where Jackie discusses his love for the Stones, and how his new album is more of a rock album and less of the solo Americana-folk sound of Sweet Somewhere Bound. I like the sound of the new album very much.
  • Featuring 7 songs: Farewell So Long Goodbye (lots of good harmonica!), I'm So Gone, When You're Walking Away, Hollywood, -Interview-, Closer to You (okay, I'll say it because it begs to be said: very Dylanesque. But also with find of a funky gospel tinge to it. I like this song), So Hard To Find My Way (another nice harmonica bridge), Marigold

Jackie Greene is a talented and thoughtful songwriter who practically oozes good music. He's an artist whose hearty, rich sound I am looking forward to hearing more of (and of course, the harmonica helps win me over as well). Take a listen to him and consider picking up American Myth on Tuesday.



At June 14, 2006 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jackie has been playing out here in Sacramento for quite some time. He is from Placerville! Heather, you know Placerville, on your way to Lake Tahoe?


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