Jackie Greene
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Jackie Greene

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The best kept secret in music


"Jackie Greene Stuns Crowd at Blues Festival"

Sacramento-based singer/songwriter Jackie Greene, all of 23 and playing acoustic guitar, harmonica and electric piano, had the usually rowdy Saturday afternoon crowd in the palm of his hand by the end of his 12-song set.

Opening with the uptempo blues-tinged songs "Judgment Day" and "Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right," from his debut album "Gone Wanderin','' Greene appeared relaxed and confident.

By his fifth song, the plaintive ballad "Gracie," the audience was fully engaged and attentive -- in fact, the quietest I've ever seen a Blues Festival audience.

Greene was even called back for an encore, and true to his quirky nature, performed the quiet, introspective and Dylan-esque ballad "Don't Mind Me I'm Only Dyin' Slow," from his new album set to be released July 20.

It takes a lot of confidence and chutzpah to attempt that, but the kid pulled it off with aplomb.

27 Jun 04

- Monterey County Herald

"Greene Steals the Show"

[T]he show’s peak came early with a stirring acoustic set from 22-year-old troubadour Jackie Greene. Running through a brief, five song set that drew mainly from his latest album Gone Wanderin’, the Sacramento, Calif. native has been surprising audiences across the country while opening for blues luminaries Junior Brown and B.B. King over the past two years.

A last minute addition to this year’s festival, after a powerful set opening for Brown at the Ark in November, Greene is a mature, focused artist whose depth and understanding of music excels onstage. His taut, bluesy performance drew comparisons to an early Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie. Receiving the largest ovation of the evening, Greene is marked by an innate ability for folk music and an overarching artistic accomplishment.

02Feb04 - The Michigan Daily

"A Legend in the Making"

A cold November wind whipped the rain up 12th Street. Through the wetness, the sound of a rock band reverberated across the stone urban canyon. It made no sense. Why would a band be playing outdoors in this weather? A couple sprinted east on K Street, perhaps to investigate.

Nearing the point where the light-rail train hangs a hard left to head north, the sound shifted; now it was emanating from a corner bar called Marilyn’s. Inside, a small-framed, exotic-looking man with eyes shaped like green almonds stood at the far end of the stage, located just inside the door to the right. Dressed entirely in black, he wore a brakeman’s cap pulled low over his brow, and he hunkered over a blond acoustic guitar--a dreadnought, they call it, used mainly by players who want that big, boom-chicka sound. Around his neck was a metal rack to hold his mouth harp, into which he blew when he wasn’t singing. To his right, a taller, beatifically smiling man with his hair pulled back into a ponytail played an electric bass. Behind them, a remarkably non-flamboyant drummer kept time.

The music they played was timeless, but not of this time. It was a folk-tinged rock that sounded like something you might hear in a club in New York’s Greenwich Village around 1965, sometime after Bob Dylan plugged in at the Newport Folk Festival and made the world safe for folk-rock.

The song ended, and Greene kicked into “Gone Wanderin’,” the title track from his second album: “Another day / Has come and gone / And I can’t figure what went wrong / Mockingbird / Is a-mocking me / She locked me out and lost the key.” Greene’s voice didn’t have the brittle, lived-in character of someone like Townes Van Zandt or Willie Nelson; it was strong but sanded around the edges slightly, like a harder Neil Young without the wobbly quality.

Then, bassist Henderson “Hence” Phillips joined in with a keening background vocal for the run-on sentence of a chorus: “I’ve gone wanderin’ again I’m out the door I’m walkin’ by myself down the street like the night before and I should be home in bed but the notion in my head is tellin’ me to ramble on.”

The crowd, seated at tables around the dance floor and backed up at the bar, shouted its approval. The audience wasn’t young; it wasn’t the same group you might see a few blocks away at the Capitol Garage, even though Greene himself turns 22 at the end of this month, and as drummer Ben Lefever, Greene’s longtime buddy from their formative days in Placerville, is 21. Some of the people looked like they’d been haunting clubs since the 1970s, at least, and could reel off the song order of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks album without thinking.

And some of them had Greene’s lyrics down cold, too. One woman, in a long black dress, danced with several consecutive partners while she mouthed the words to the songs. A pixie-like blonde danced and then plopped down next to her date, nursed her cocktail and said: “We follow him everywhere. We’ve kinda become psychotic about it.”

Greene played his “By the Side of the Road Dressed to Kill” and another original song, as he finessed the place into shindig heaven. Then, he smirked as he gingerly put the acoustic guitar down, picked up a sunburst Fender Telecaster, plugged in and launched into “The Sky Is Crying,” an incendiary blues number written by Elmore James and made famous, at least with rock audiences, by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Greene’s facility on the guitar might not get him booked on the blues guitar-heroes tour just yet, but it was quite energetic and original--the sound of someone just finding his voice and loving every minute of it.

Clearly, this was not your grandfather’s folkmobile.

There is an oft-quoted article by Jon Landau, titled “Growing Young with Rock and Roll.” Landau wrote the piece in May 1974 for the Real Paper, a publication in Boston.

It began innocently enough--a careening first-person account in which Landau recounted virtually every recording that changed his life, from 1964 forward. He fell asleep listening to the Byrds in his dorm room at Brandeis University and woke up to the Yardbirds’ Having a Rave Up. He confessed to pulling over his car and demanding silence from his passengers the first time “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” by the Four Tops came blaring through the radio. He described his mounting obsessions with soul music and blues and the British Invasion bands, first as a student, then as someone who fell into writing about music critically and then as a record producer.

Then came disillusionment; new records just weren’t sending Landau to heaven anymore--records now considered to be classics, too, such as After the Gold Rush by Neil Young, Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones and Innervisions by Stevie Wonder.

It took Landau some 1,400 words of his long windup to get to the punch line, and here it is: “I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And, on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.” What followed was a glowing review of a Springsteen show in Boston.

Now, Jackie Greene most likely isn’t Northern California’s Bruce Springsteen. If you need to draw parallels to a heritage rock act, Neil Young seems like a much closer fit, with his wooly eclecticism and his penchant for cranking up and making noise. But Greene does share a couple of fundamental qualities with the bard of Asbury Park.

First, both artists are like a crucible that melts down old phonograph records instead of metal ore, burning away the dross to reveal something newly purified and original. But, where Springsteen’s source material always seemed like it was brimming with old Phil Spector and Brill Building pop records (along with liberal helpings of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Chuck Berry), Greene draws more exclusively on early-1960s Greenwich Village for inspiration. He is no garden-variety new Dylan, though; he mixes his wide-eyed folkie fixation with a surprising amount of hard-edged Texas-style electric blues, from Albert Collins to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Second, both Springsteen and Greene can inspire near-messianic fervor among converts. You may be old enough to remember the guy who saw Bruce and the E Street Band for the first time and wouldn’t shut up for weeks. Greene can turn people like that, too. Outside Marilyn’s during the breaks between the band’s three sets, Greene was busy autographing copies of his two releases, Rusty Nails and Gone Wanderin’ (both on local indie label Dig! Music), for a steady trickle of fans who were buying them from Dig!’s Marty DeAnda inside. One 40-something guy admitted to buying six copies and giving them to friends. “It’s the least I can do,” he said.

Call it a moment of prescience: Jackie Greene probably won’t be the next Bruce Springsteen, but he may very well be the biggest thing out of this corner of California that we’ve seen in a while. In part, that’s because he can make you feel like you’re hearing music for the very first time.

After the break, Greene sat down at an electric piano and commenced to pounding out a wicked set of blues, including Muddy Waters’ “Gypsy Woman,” which he rocked with a triplet rhythm as he blew a harp solo over the top. Then, he segued into his own “Falling Back,” off Rusty Nails, the kind of tender ballad that Tom Waits used to write when he was hanging out at West Hollywood’s Barney’s Beanery in the 1970s.

Jackie Greene, tickling the ivories at Marilyn’s. Yep, just like Otis Spann.

Then, Greene picked up his acoustic guitar and finger-picked his “Travelin’ Song.” Then, he strummed his “Cry Yourself Dry.” After that, he switched to bass and passed his Telecaster to Phillips, who sang the Stones’ “Let It Bleed” and Willie Dixon’s “Shake for Me.” Then, they traded back before lurching into a snarling version of Bukka White’s “Parchman Farm Blues.” During the song’s long instrumental passage, Greene managed to quote the Barnum & Bailey Circus theme, the Meters’ “Cissy Strut” and the theme from The Andy Griffith Show, “The Ol’ Fishin’ Hole”--not bad. They finished the set with Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Koochie Man.”

When Greene stepped outside for a smoke, someone brought up the surprising maturity of his songwriting. He laughed. “Once you get to know me, I’m really immature,” he said.

Meanwhile, the official story continued to be assembled. “I saw him at an open mike,” said DeAnda. “I gave him my card and told him to call me. I couldn’t believe that he did, the next day.”

Bill Harper, a probation officer and songwriter who hosts the Monday-night open mike at the Fox & Goose, cut in, pointing at DeAnda. “I told him, if you don’t sign this guy right now and put a record out, I’ll know you’re completely insane,” Harper bellowed.

Toward the end of the night, Jackie Greene played a Dylan song, “She Belongs to Me.” A lone couple swing-danced. It was a beautiful thing, watching a legend in the making.

14Nov02 - Sacramento News and Review

"Press from Europe"

Just in from Europe
   Bart Ebisch

Hij is nog jong, Jackie Greene, maar wat een talent. De singer-songwriter uit Californië kan uit de voeten met country, rock, blues en zeg maar het Townes van Zandt of Bob Dylan-idioom. Maar om heel je kunnen te demonstreren op één cd - dat hoeft (voor de samenhang) nu ook weer niet. Laten we het jeugdige onbevangenheid noemen. Greene start op Sweet Somewhere Bound (Clear Spot) met frisse en vlotte rootsrock (About Cell Block #9) en het Dylanesque Honey I Been Thinking About By You, allebei gespeeld met band en met een dominante rol voor het Hammondorgel. Vervolgens kruipt de singer-songwriter op een kruk om met gitaar in de hand in zijn eentje de titeltrack te tokkelen. A Think Called Rain is nog zo´n typisch singer-songwriternummer, evenals de blues van I Don´t Care About My Baby, pianotune (nog een kwaliteit...) Sad To Say Goodbye, de country van Alice On The Rooftop en de theatrale afsluiter Don´t Mind Me I´m Only Dying Now. Opvallend is het grote aantal liedjes met weinig tempo, die een contrast vormen met de vliegende start van deze cd. Maar dan, als een duvel uit het doosje pakt hij uit met het stevige bluesy naar de jaren zestig echoënde Seven Jealous Sisters - inclusief herrijzenis van de Hammond en vette mondharmonicasolo, gevolgd door het fraaie rootsliedje Emily In Heaven. Op die momenten klinkt Greene op zijn allerbest. 23 jaar is hij pas - en een meesterwerk ligt in het verschiet.
- Bart Ebisch

"Jackie Greene, Sweet Somewhere Bound"


It’s far too infrequent in rock& roll these days to honestly say that a star is born, but on Sweet Somewhere Bound, Jackie Greene makes such an overwhelming case for that statement no other conclusion can be drawn. The 22-year-old Californian has released two other albums of strong songs and powerful playing, but on his new collection, Greene reaches deep and finds the true center of himself. There are high-flying rockers right next to crying time ballads. In between are a variety of styles and substance that were commonplace thirty years ago, but today are so rare that when an album this good comes along, it’s cause not only for celebration but for the world to take notice and beat a path to Jackie Greene’s front door. Knock loudly and let him know you’re there.
Greene might be rooted in the blues, but he uses it as a jumping off point rather than a place to worship. The album opens with “About Cell Block #9,” a swift-footed tale of love and betrayal, ending in murder and prison, all the while pushing and pulling with the energy of a big dog getting ready to jump a fence. It’s a stunning announcement of all the singer hopes out to accomplish on this new release, and the fact that Greene plays almost all the instruments seems more like an afterthought than a bragging point. By the first song’s finish, the stage is set for some serious damage to be done. Even with the acoustic-based follow-ups like “Honey I Been Thinking About You,” “Sweet Somewhere Bound” and “A Thing Called Rain,” the young musician is showing he’s got the smarts of a marathon runner, not wanting to fire all his flares too early in the race. Strains of early folk greats like Tom Rush and Fred Neil sit on the shoulders of some of these songs, looking down with smiles at the evidence of lessons well-learned. “Miss Madeline (3 Ways To Love Her)” indicates that Greene has his sights on the big stage, and in a voice that is fine and full, proves he has all the moves to get there. Other tracks, like “Alice On The Rooftop” and “Writer A Letter Home” seem to come from the pen of a much older writer, someone who has unlimited insights into all the faith-testing left-turns and dead ends modern life is so fond of sending our way.

A little more than halfway through the lucky thirteen songs here sits “Seven Jealous Sisters.” If ever there was a song that seems like a hidden gem from Bob Dylan’s devastating 1966 album Highway 61 Revisited, this is it. The drums pump like an enlarged heart, while Green’s voice has the desperate tone of one of love’s losers, all while his lead guitar makes rattlesnake threats and the harp spits fire and venom. This is nasty business, and by the end of the song, when everything crashes in on itself in a beautiful mess, it’s as if a new road’s being discovered right before our eyes. It’s also likely it’s no accident that “Emily’s In Heaven” comes right after this joyous sound, because as an emotional centerpiece of the collection, the songwriter’s abilities don’t get more moving, as in this line: “They said she had a weak heart/and she’d always been that way/I said she just gave too much of it away.” At song’s end, Emily’s friend is ready to join her on the other side as soon as he can, and we’re not far behind. That’s true talent.

It’s hard not to try and guess where exactly this kind of sadness comes from, but that would be selling Jackie Greene short. As a stellar songwriter, it’s his intention to lure in listeners. And whether it’s with fact or fiction doesn’t matter. What he is, is a natural-born master of marrying words and music into songs that are aimed directly at the heart. The way he walks the dark end of the street only puts him in the company of rock & roll’s finest, a place he sounds like he’s ready to move into forever. It might not be easy being Greene, but he’s only a song away from becoming nationwide. Listen now, and get a jump on the crowd. Jackie Greene has got it all.
- By Bill Bentley--Studio City Sun

"Jackie Greene, Making a Name for Himself"

Tony Peyser

Sept. 10-16, 2004

Jackie Greene is only 23 but is making quite a name for himself. He's from Sacramento and specializes in a rousing, bluesy, hit-the-highway vibe. Sweet Somewhere Bound has more ballads than barn burners but it's still a strong effort.

"I Don't Care About My Baby" splits the difference and manages to be contemplative but laces it with the boastfulness of somebody trying to move on. My other favorites here are the full speed rocker "About Cell Block #9" and "Seven Jealous Sisters," a feast of snarling rhythm and blues.
- Santa Monica Mirror

""Jackie Greene's 'Bound' to Make the big time!""

Jason Montiel

Jackie Greene, "Sweet Somewhere Bound" (Dig Music)
-- There's something wise about Jackie Greene, a 23-year-old Sacramento singer-songwriter with a boyish face who sings a mix of blues and folk like a soul seasoned well beyond his years.

"Sweet Somewhere Bound" is a showcase for Greene's extraordinary talent, grabbing listeners with the driving blues of "About Cell Block #9," a tune that conjures up the spirit of Johnny Cash.

This often reflective album, which follows 2002's "Gone Wanderin'" and his participation in a Bob Dylan tribute released last year, just gets better with each listen. The writing is strong, from the Dylanesque "Honey I Been Thinking About You" to "Emily's In Heaven," a beautiful, poetic lament with nice tastes of harmonica and organ.

Greene is known for a smoldering presence on stage, and that's captured well here on stripped-down songs such as the title track and "Don't Mind Me, I'm Only Dying Slow." Other tunes have the feeling of instant classics, from the sunny "Everything To Me" to the lost love of "Sad To Say Goodbye.

Could this be the album that introduces Greene to a wider audience? Maybe. But it's also a great listen for summer and beyond.

- ALAMEDA TIMES-STAR ( San Francisco) 7/30/04

"Jackie Blue"

Stewart Oksenhorn

Jackie Greene seems too young, too full of promise to suffer. The Sacramento singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is just 23, and his wonderful new album, his third, "Sweet Somewhere Bound," is (now available). And this is no slick creation of the pop-music machine, built to rise and crash: "Sweet Somewhere Bound" is informed by the forlorn acoustic blues of the Mississippi Delta, and Greene plays virtually all of the instrumental parts on the album. Plus Greene spent much of the early part of this year on tour with Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang.

But for many artists, making art is not about making a career, and Jackie Greene may be a textbook example. His career, already impressive for a young man whose music is built around strumming an acoustic guitar and singing about suicide and sorrow, may be about to take off. Still the sad-eyed, cigarette-smoking Greene, who in a phone interview comes off as open and affable, says he is as down as such sad, sad songs as "Alice on the Rooftop" and "Don't Mind Me, I'm Only Dying Slowly." And like a good number of musicians before him, the increasing number of fans is far from an antidote to his malaise.

"My natural instinct is to not want to be in front of a lot of people. So I guess I picked the wrong career," said Greene from Winnipeg, where he has just appeared at the three-day Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Among the things that give Greene comfort is the realization that he is not the only musician feeling as he does. Greene has been keeping a close eye on Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy - a musical idol for Greene, and someone who has been tormented by success, expectations, band feuds and just life. Wilco has recently released "A Ghost Is Born," its latest groundbreaking, mystifying CD, and Tweedy, with his precarious balance of brilliance and despair, is again in the news.

"I'm reading all these stories about Jeff Tweedy and his panic thing he goes through," said Greene. "It may be a sick thing to say, but it's nice to know there are other people going through that. It makes me feel more comfortable."

Singing the blues

"Sweet Somewhere Bound" was made nearly a year ago, when Greene first started venturing away from his native northern California. The road was tough for a 22-year-old, especially one who played often as a solo performer. It was during this low period that Greene wrote "About Cell Block #9," about a man who walks in on his lover and his best friend, and shoots his way to a life sentence; "I Don't Care About My Baby"; and the Dylanesque titled "Don't Mind Me, I'm Only Dying" (with the haunted, Dylanesque lyric, "the ghost of a weeping, weddingless bride/Who should have been married but never arrived"). Apart from the lyrics, the album features some of the loneliest, most longing, harmonica wailing, and spare, weepy acoustic guitar chords.

"I guess that's just where I was at when I wrote the songs. That's a picture of where I was at the time," said Greene, who performs - with his two-piece band of drummer Ben Lefever and bassist Hence Phillips - as part of the Snowmass Free Summer of Music Series. (The concert also kicks off the weekend-long Massive Music & Movies event. Greene's show will be followed by a screening of "The Blues Brothers. On Friday, July 16, it's a pairing of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and "Almost Famous." Saturday, July 17, features a double bill of Barbara Cue and Liquid Soul, capped by a screening of "Pulp Fiction.") "I started to feel a lot of the pressure, being on the road. It starts off really fantastic, really exciting. But it quickly turns weary and difficult."

For all that, the new album barely feels like a one-trick pony, endlessly repeating the downer theme. The songs range from bluesy ballads like "Miss Madeline (3 Ways to Love Her)" to the honey-toned "Honey I Been Thinking About You" to "About Cell Block #9," the peppy country rocker that kicks off the album. Greene's voice can explore a variety of pained feelings - despondent, agonized, hopeful, hushed. And Greene is such a fine musician - a ripping guitarist and an accomplished Hammond organ player, in addition to his fine voice - that listening to his downbeat themes doesn't drag you down.

Greene said the introspective quality of "Sweet Somewhere Bound" reflects his discomfort acclimating to the life of a road musician. "All of the songs speak to that in a sense," said Greene. "Some of them are my imagination going wild, and some - like 'Sweet Somewhere Bound' and 'Don't Mind Me, I'm Only Dying Slowly' - are definitely about that."
Outcast or outstanding?

Greene should be accustomed to feeling out of sorts among his surroundings. It seems to be his natural state. Greene had practically grown up sitting on a piano bench. He gravitated toward the classic British rock of Cream and Led Zeppelin, and traced their influences back to American blues and country artists. "I wanted to know who wrote those songs. 'Who is this cat, Willie Dixon?'" he said.

By the time he picked up guitar, at 10, and started writing songs, at 14, Greene was taking his inspiration from the likes of Hank Williams, Lightning Hopkins and Leadbelly. "That's just the kind of music I liked and listened to, older American music," he said. "That's what influenced me."

That left him well out of step with his contemporaries. It was the mid- to late '90s, and the big things at Greene's Sacramento high school were not Mississippi John Hurt and Tom Waits but 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.

"I was kind of the weirdo who didn't like anything that was out then," he said. "I liked Ray Charles, but most of the people in school thought that was nostalgic and dumb.

"My close friends liked the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. But the boy bands were really popular and to us that was annoying. But all the popular kids liked it, so we decided not to like it. We thought it was crap."
Greene responded to his outcast status by sitting at home, "stealing all Ray Charles' licks, that kind of thing," he said.

Right out of high school, Greene started playing the clubs around Sacramento. In the autumn of 2001, Marty DeAnda, owner of the label DIG Music, happened into a Sacramento hoot night and heard an old-soul voice coming out of a skinny 21-year-old. Within months, Greene was signed to DIG, and in late 2002 he released "Gone Wanderin'" (also a somber album, with tunes like "Down in the Valley Woe" and "By the Side of the Road, Dressed to Kill"). The accolades have come quickly since; "Gone Wanderin'" earned a California Music Award for Best Blues/Roots Album and found its way onto the national American charts. Earlier this year Greene released his first DVD, "Broken Hearts, Dusty Roads," Early last year, Greene opened for Susan Tedeschi at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, and the gig became something of a breakthrough. Since then, Greene has opened for B.B. King, Taj Mahal and John Hiatt and been featured at the Newport Folk Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival and the Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

That success hasn't translated to inner satisfaction. It's already been a busy summer of roadwork for Greene, who has played numerous dates in northern California and the Northwest, and did a short Midwest stretch. It's been three days in Winnipeg, and the schedule is wearing on the 23-year-old. "I'm psyched to go home," said Greene, summing up his feelings.

But maybe there is relief around the corner. Albums have a long lag time between recording and release, and Greene says he is not, at the moment, as agonized as "Sweet Somewhere Bound" would suggest.
"I'm writing different songs now," he said. "I've adjusted to the weariness. It was kind of shocking a year ago. Before that, I had only played on the West Coast. But I haven't gotten over it. It's still tiring."
And even an album like "Sweet Somewhere Bound" can start to sound like something other than relentlessly downhearted. At first, Greene practically apologizes for the "depressing feel" of the album. But then he corrects himself and completes the picture.

"There's a ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel," Greene concluded.
Stewart Oksenhorn's e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com
- THE ASPEN TIMES July 15, 2004


DIG 106   Gone Wanderin'                        (CD)
DIG 107   Rusty Nails                                (CD)
DIG 109   Positively 12th &K                     (CD)
DIG 111   Broken Hearts, Dusty Roads    (DVD)
DIG 112  Sweet Somewhere Bound         (CD)
All songs available for download via I-Tunes/MSN.
Songs also available on website.

Radio Summary for
Gone Wanderin' (DIG 106)
Jackie Greene




Feeling a bit camera shy


The Ballad of Jackie Greene

“At a mere 22 years, Sacramento’s Jackie Greene has more old-soul in him than most musicians twice his age. He’s been tagged as a blues phenom, but his album reveals an effortless flair for Texas-and-Greenwich Village-style folk, hillbilly stomp, bar-band boogie woogie, or just about any roots-related genre he cares to try on for size. He’s a songwriter, plain and simple, and a superb one at that.”
James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle

When DIG Music owner Marty DeAnda happened into a local Sacramento folk pub’s Monday hoot night in the autumn of 2001 to meet up with his friend and label-mate, the legendary singer Sal Valentino (The Beau Brummels, Stoneground), DeAnda was clearly not expecting to hear anything impressive beyond Valentino’s fabled voice. But he did. A scrawny young kid with a big old-soul voice, guitar chops and plenty of musical confidence stepped up to the mike and made all room conversation cease. A few more club visits, a few more dawning nights of insight, and DIG Music had their first new artist signed to the label.

Jackie Greene had blown into Sacramento only months earlier from a tiny old Northern California gold rush town that was, in it’s day, called Hangtown, but now is more discreetly named Placerville. Greene, a local just turned 21 then, sounded like a displaced Delta boy, picked up by Guthrie’s dustbowl winds and set down in Harte, Steinbeck and Saroyan Country.

Born in Monterey, California, Greene grew up in small town Cameron Park, thirty miles east of Sacramento. Along with his mom and three younger siblings at home, Greene had a piano and an old guitar his father had left. Mostly self-taught, Greene began playing in public at age 16, then moved onto local Placerville coffeehouses nearby, just after high school graduation. The move to nearby Sacramento, armed with a self-produced CD, was the next logical step. It paid off fast.

Greene is strikingly unself-conscious in the way he envisions his time-out-of-mind place. His voice is big and casually seductive in the way that Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and Gregg Allman’s voices are. Like his heroes, Dylan and Waits, his source material embraces folk, blues and country; the end result is both cutting edge and timeless.

Greene’s compactness of phrase with feeling is impressive. He can turn a beautiful line, he can lay down a lowdown lick and leave you wanting some more. He’s a smart young man who is an accomplished musician on acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, piano and Hammond B-3 organ.
Jackie Greene has moved from hoot nights to high profile venues and major festival stages in a short amount of time since the November, 2002 release of
GONE WANDERIN’ (DIG 106). The album won the California Music Award for the “Best Blues/Roots Album” in May 2003 and has remained on the national Americana Chart for over a year. In 2003, he toured nationally with singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, blues master B.B. King and pop icon Huey Lewis, as well as dates with John Hiatt, George Thorogood and Taj Mahal. In virtually every venue, Green has set support act, house records for CD sales off the bandstand. He played high profile festival dates across the country the summer of 2003, including, the Newport Folk Festival, the Strawberry Music Festival, the Rhythm & Roots Festival and the San Francisco Blues Festival. Now in 2004, he is on national tours with Jonny Lang, Taj Mahal and the great Buddy Guy. He has also astounded crowds, playing select dates with Lyle Lovett, Richard Thompson, Los Lobos, John Hiatt and Los Lonely Boys. Solo or with his sympathetic rhythm section of Ben Lefever on drums and Hence Phillips on bass and harmony vocals, Greene has lifted audiences to their feet, with encores and standing ovations following nearly every performance. Greene offers up a sound and vision that is gathering an extremely wide audience range, prom pre-teen girls to heritage fans who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s. Like Raymond Carter or Lead belly, Greene has taken the time to fashion poetically formed teardrops of songs along his journey.

Additional info can be found at www.DigMusic.com