He may only be 31 years old, but singer-songwriter Jackie Greene has come a long way from his beginnings playing music in local bars as a teenager in Salinas, Calif. Touted as “The Prince of Americana” by the New York Times, Greene keeps his genre interesting, switching from rock ‘n’ roll to rhythm and blues with virtuosity.
The California native learned to play guitar and piano by his teens and shortly thereafter began composing his own songs. He recorded a demo called “Rusty Nails” in his own garage. After graduating from high school, he immediately headed for Sacramento, where he became a part of the live music scene. Discovered at an open mic session in 2001, Greene recorded his debut album (for which he played most of the instruments) the year after and went on a college tour.
The rest, as they say, is history.
With seven albums of original work, an EP, DVD and a book of lyrics, including previously unreleased work, under his belt, Greene shows no signs of slowing down. Known for avid touring (about 100 to 125 dates a year), Greene has come to be known for putting on high-energy live shows with the likes of B.B. King, Huey Lewis and Buddy Guy at big-name venues and festivals across the country.
After more than a decade of remaining committed to his artistry, Greene will bring his vibrancy back to the state where it all began, but to a new venue that is sure to embrace his authentic sound.
He has been compared to Bob Dylan and The Band, though he never settles on a single, specific style. If he ever vacillates between playful and sorrowful, he never strays away from a signature soulfulness.
Greene is continuing to pave his own path as a musician, and the road is filled with plenty of learning experiences.
“Attempting to remove the ego from the writing process was an important step,” he says. “Destroying the notion that I was some troubled artist on the path to enlightenment … and once I began to kill this part of myself, I was able to write in the voices I wanted to write in. I could let the singer exist in many realities.”
Greene recently released his sixth solo album in 2010, the pop-infused “‘Til The Light Comes,” which followed on the heels of his acclaimed 2008 release “Giving Up The Ghost,” his first album for 429 Records. The title “Giving Up The Ghost” is a kind of coming-to-terms with himself as an artist and a recognition of his place in a demanding music world.
“The phrase refers to the destruction of certain notions and practices that I used to hold in high esteem,” he says. “I’m just sorta sick of being the kid with the harmonica rack. I don’t want to be Bob Dylan.”