Where you're going has always been more important than where you've been. By his music, Jackie Greene appears to have been through every major American musical influence: from country, to jazz, to folk to rock. And, marked by the release of his newest album American Myth, it's clear that Greene knows where he's going. His roots twist to create a unique sound, combining the introspectiveness of an engaging songwriter with the energy of a chemically charged rock band.
Growing up in a small, rural town in Northern California, Greene took to music quickly, eventually outgrowing the tastes of his peers. On his own, he discovered the lost sides of Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Leadbelly and Muddy Waters. America’s past it seems, was all available on 12” wax.
Shortly after high school, Greene took the lessons of these records to this stage. His career picked up steam as he played hoot-nights and coffeehouses. Dubbed a 'young blues prodigy' he moved to Sacramento, releasing the self-produced album Rusty Nails from the trunk of his car. It led to his signing with indie label Dig Music, eventually morphing into the folksier artist seen on 2003's Gone Wanderin'. Always progressing, Greene leaped ahead again on Sweet Somewhere Bound, an amalgam of rustic blues and classic country. By the tender age of 23, Greene had 3 albums, a DVD and miles of touring under his belt. But in 2005 and 2006, he took an unexpected turn from acoustic folk to rock and roll, releasing American Myth for the Verve Forecast/Universal label and putting together a world-class rock band along the way.
The journey, though by no means easy, is now the depth behind his music. From humble beginnings in foothill dive bars to a world wide fan base, Jackie Greene has done everything his own way. While others waste their time—and their credibility—on becoming slaves to the spotlight, you'll find Greene mastering his craft.
"I've been writing, recording and performing non-stop. I've lived in cars, hotels, basements…slept on floors, couches, strange girl's beds. I wrote lots of songs in those places. Some I'll never remember, but that's all part of it, I guess.”
With a stream-of-consciousness vibe, many of Greene's songs reflect a certain spontaneity, traveling quickly from inspiration to album to fan. Each one recorded honestly, and then given to the world.
"Music that's too perfect isn't music anymore. It's better to just capture a moment in time." says Greene of his philosophy.
Integrity, in the end, is nothing without quality. So it is here that Greene delivers; backing each ounce of sincerity with a pound of great music. Whether it's a soulful ballad or a ballsy rocker, you can count on breathtaking melody and poetic lyricism. The smoky voice that lifts the choruses of rock album American Myth is the same one that whispers the sorrowful verses in Sweet Somewhere Bound. Just as the "clap your hands" enthusiasm of the bluegrass flavored Gone Wanderin' quickly turns to the passion of Rusty Nails. It is this ability to truly capture emotion that makes his music equally meaningful to the loved and the loveless.
"I've made four records in my life and each one is different on purpose," Greene remarks on his diverse catalog. "If you do the same record over and over, it becomes a boring day job. I believe it's important to stretch as far as your bones will let you."
Greene's enigmatic work then follows the human theme of contradiction—the natural result of philosophy rooted in experimentation and growth. As comfortable in an arena as an empty bar, with an acoustic or with electric, Jackie Greene comes to symbolize a rare versatility. He's open to trying just about anything…except being tied down. It's what makes him so relatable for the sinners, the saints, the dreamers or the broken-hearted. Regardless of musical tastes or background, the emotional honesty and musical skill transcend all. For this, Jackie Greene, at just 25 years old, becomes an artist fans will enjoy for decades to come.