Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jackie Greene -- "American Myth"

I missed Robert Randolph's band the first weekend of the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival (TRAF) because he was a "no show" and stuck in some airport in New Jersey (many, many BOO HISS's followed that announcement amidst the Grateful Dead and Dave Matthews tee shirt-adorned crowd -- we headed over to the Market Square venue and got to catch Phat Man Dee live which was a real treat aside from the Original Oyster House beer nazi but that's a story for another day -- and word has it that amazing mini concerts and drumming circles broke out after that announcement -- DAMN!).

There were plenty of other free music shows to be seen during the TRAF but Jackie Greene and Rickie Lee Jones were high on the "gee ... wouldn't it be GREAT to see them live" list. Kudos to WYEP FM yet again! They bring great shows to the TRAF every year. Jackie Greene highlighted the "Album of the Year " list for WYEP last year so I figured he was a good bet for a free live show. And, while I would have love, love, loved to see Rickie Lee live .... it wasn't meant to be.

Jackie is young looking. Very young looking. And, in fact, if wikipedia holds true, he's only 26. Okay ... yeah ... so ... I'm freaking ANCIENT then at 42 and could, truth be told, be his mother. *snicker* We guessed he was 21. Not bad. But oh, what an ancient soul sings at the mics. Two mics. One a standard and one from the old B movies with the wide, deep sound (sorry I don't know what the name of the mic is ... fill me in, if you do). Reviewers that compare him to Dylan are misguided, I think. Yeah, he's got that Dylan vibe on a few songs but he doesn't pretend to be Dylan in any way, shape, or form. Nor does he pretend to be Mick Jagger. He's just Jackie and he loves what he does which is play amazing live shows.

He entered the stage with black pants, black blazer, black sirt, and black shades ... Johnny Cash or Tom Petty or Dylan ... reincarnate? Nah. Just a Monterey, CA, boy with a great sense of rhythm and nice set of pipes.

His facial expressions, tightening this way (lip curling and cheeks up on high) and then releasing that way (eyes opening and mouth drooping), as he pulled the top note on his Gibson guitar ... tight and filled with vibrato. He appeared calm and reserved and into delta blues overdrive love or harmonica hooting (strung around his neck) ... for the tunes that sunk into that groove (many). His band was really tight and loose, at turns, but he definitely held the lead with his guitar virtuoso and stage presence.

The music carried him (and us) away, at times. He wailed on his numerous guitars and played, simultaneously, the organ and piano. He wailed on the harmonica. He smoked a lot on stage (as much as a live performer can smoke before the next refrain starts - much to the chagrin of a boisterous Mom behind us that kept shouting out -- "JACKIE! DON'T SMOKE!"). He bitched about the piano stool they gave him because it made it hard to play both keyboards at the same time ... but the crowd, they cheered on and he lit into his show closer after a standing ovation, which was so Rolling Stones ... oh SO ROCKING ... and delicious ... we didn't spend a moment's time on the poor stool selection or his lighting up another smoke ("Farewell, So Long, Goodbye").

Women shouted out "I'll Be Thinking 'Bout You" throughout the show and it is a good song but he didn't play it. Two fans near us in the second row sat there for hours with prime spots and were so happy to talk about Jackie and how he hooked them. We were just happy we had a spot to eat our $10 arts fest meals. One guy hopped up on a chair to get his autograph ... screaming his name into the travel trailer. Cool. It's always nice to encounter devoted fans.

Standouts for me included: I'm so Gone (great guitar intro and melody), Closer to You, and Farewell, So Long, Goodbye. Jackie's got a great delta vibe that can really only be experienced live. His CD falls short of his great skill.

If you want to find out more about Jackie Greene, check out his My Space page and his web site which features a huge warning that he doesn't appreciate live photos. Ah well ... Jackie, my man .... puffy eyes ... be damned! You're still cute. Streamjackiegreene.com is no longer active. Bummer. JG is best experienced live. Go see him if he's around.

2 Comments:

Blogger eradicatore said...

You can find some live jackie greene shows on archive.org. I've put a few up there now from shows I've taped. Just search for "eradicatore" for all my shows, or "jackie greene" of course.

Jackie rules! But you didn't mention the great guys he plays with either. Nate Dale on lead Guitar, Jermey Plog on Bass, and Bruce S. on Drums!

10:27 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I guess I did leave the band members off of my post ... oops! Thanks, eradicatore! Nate Dale had some amazing solos!

7:07 PM  

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