Tag Archives: Jackie Greene

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Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene in Perfect Balance at the Space

October 23rd, 2017

Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene – the Space at Westbury – October 20, 2017


Jackie Greene and Anders Osborne met through Phil Lesh, of whose Phil Lesh & Friends lineups they’re both alumni. They’ve since each gone on record to say they were simpatico from the beginning, and that isn’t surprising: Both musicians write Americana-driven rock and pop songs with healthy undercurrents of blues and psychedelia. Greene, in recent years, has gone in more of a blues-rock direction from his original folk-pop beginnings. Osborne, still best known for the roiling guitars and ragingly cathartic jams of his electric band, has gone quieter and more introspective with his last few albums. Both artists are as different as they are similar, but you can easily understand the admiration for each other’s material and the kinship they found.

In this setup—which Greene and Osborne have tested and now fashioned into an actual tour—the two are a mostly acoustic duo. Sing some songs, pluck some strings, tell some stories, bathe it all in a winning mojo. At the Space at Westbury on Friday night, they alternated lead vocals, more or less, for a 90-minute set that drew heavily on their respective catalogs and included not only guitars but keyboards, harmonica and touches of banjo. The concert had a relaxed, hootenanny feel: Listen to songs of uplift, some tales of woe, reflections from a learned place. Laugh a little, or laugh a lot, and pass round that whiskey. That it was a folksy gathering—not a smoothly packaged concert presentation—was precisely the point. The deeper appeal of this format is that both musicians agree to play with and play off each other, but take it a level beyond that, investing in the other’s music beyond just accompanying and waiting for the next lead vocal.

Greene added just-right keys to tender Osborne tunes like “Burning Up Slowly,” and with crackling guitar, Osborne scuffed up “Gone Wanderin’,” “Modern Lives,” “Tupelo” and other strong examples of Greene’s pensive/cynical narratives. Their give-and-take worked, again and again. Greene’s “I Don’t Live in a Dream,” in this format, sounded like Bill Withers on the back porch, while Osborne’s “It Can’t Hurt You Anymore” went deep for pathos and Greene’s accompaniment went right along with it. Osborne’s rollicking “Lafayette” was the best of a lot of things, with Osborne, Greene and guest Cris Jacobs having a three-way acoustic-slide summit. The three also picked through the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” at a boozy, laid-back tempo—yet one more simpatico moment. “Fuckin’ Deadheads everywhere!” exclaimed Greene to crowd roars. Yes, including on the stage, but everyone sure felt welcome. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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A Terrific Double Bill Tonight at Webster Hall

June 5th, 2014

Jackie Greene began making a name for himself and his bluesy music with the release of his first album, Gone Wanderin (stream it below) in 2002. He’s since released six more LPs, a pair of EPs and even a book of lyrics. But things began to take off for him in a different direction when he joined Phil Lesh & Friends as a guitarist, exposing him to different audiences—and different musicians. He’s since joined Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson and Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, and he became a member of Trigger Hippy, alongside Joan Osborne, Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and others. So when the Black Crowes were looking for a lead guitarist to tour the world with them last year, Greene was an obvious fit. But now that the Crowes are on hiatus, he’s back on the road with the Jackie Greene Band (above, doing “Honey I Been Thinking About You”).

Keeping it in the family, the Jackie Greene Band is touring with Black Crowes founding member (and guitarist) Rich Robinson. Robinson (above, rehearsing “I Know You”) started making his own music as the Crowes began taking hiatuses 10 years ago. And with each release, his vocals have grown increasingly more confident and smooth. Robinson’s third LP, The Ceaseless Sight (stream it below), just came out on Tuesday, and he told Rolling Stone that it “represents a movement forward.” See the Jackie Greene Band and Rich Robinson Band tonight at Webster Hall. (Each band will 90-minute sets with an encore featuring members of both bands.)

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Phil Lesh and Friends Freely Jamming Without Ego at Capitol Theatre

April 11th, 2014

Phil Lesh and Friends – Capitol Theatre – April 10, 2014

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Phil Lesh treats his band’s lineups much like the jams those groups end up playing: There are (probably) themes, riffs and improvisations underlying some grand design. Of course, some work better than others and stick together longer, but in the end, most of them deliver. This week at the Capitol Theatre, Lesh seems to have once again found magic, this time with his current group of Friends, running the gamut from Jackie Greene’s soulful, smooth vocals and blues-rock guitar to Marco Benevento’s indie-pop groove jazz keyboards to John Kadlecik’s singing and guitar playing, which ooze the Grateful Dead ethos for which Lesh continues to be the standard bearer. Bill Evans, who drifted on- and offstage at a rate of about every other song, added a saxophone to the mix. In between, Lesh and drummer Joe Russo formed a two-man Rosetta Stone, deciphering, decoding and interpreting so that the musical conversation formed a coherent dialogue.

Last night, the band got off to a rollicking start with the crowd favorite “Truckin’.” There were notable solos galore, too many to catalog, although I will note that Benevento particularly shined on the keys, which, in Lesh’s band, often has trouble finding moments in such a heavy guitar-bass-drums environment. Throughout the night, there were subtle pairings of musicians, conscious couplings with, for example, Benevento bantering with Kadlecik or the two guitars playing off each other. But the best parts were when everyone melded into a single entity, freely jamming without ego. There were two such moments in the first set, first a gorgeous, atmospheric noodle coming out of a cover of former-Friend Ryan Adams’ “Let It Ride.” The second was a highlight improv in the middle of “Cassidy,” spontaneous composition without a net

Often the best Grateful Dead moments weren’t the songs, but rather the spaces in between them, with the jam dividing “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider” a favorite historical example. On Thursday, Lesh took this to the extreme, placing not just a big jam in between those two songs, but the entire set. It was like looking at your fingernail beneath a microscope and discovering an altogether new universe. Along the way, the band hit on many themes and genres. There was the funk chunk of “Shakedown Street” led by Lesh’s elegant bass playing, with Greene eventually leading the band to an impromptu vamp on the Meters’ “Cissy Strut” and then a fantastic slide-guitar solo. There was the catchall rocker “New Speedway Boogie,” which contained its own multitudes, jams within jams, everyone getting their chance at the wheel. The high-paced “Caution” had Lesh and Russo banging out the theme while Greene did his best Pigpen imitation. The set ended in grand fashion, “Caution” leading into a charged version of the Dead’s take on “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” Kadlecik shining as he did all night, before the band moved into a wonderful “Terrapin Station,” Russo taking complete control of the Dead opus. Finally, the show closed with the predetermined sing-along “I Know You Rider,” like a wanderer returning from a journey around the world, none the worse for wear. —A. Stein

(Jackie Greene and Rich Robinson play Webster Hall on 6/15.)

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The Black Crowes Kick Off Eight Shows Tonight

October 18th, 2013

The Black Crowes first gained fame with their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker, and despite some turnover—especially at the lead-guitar position, now filled out by Jackie Greene—they’re still going strong as a finely tuned touring machine 23 years later. But another hiatus is in the not-too-distant future for frontman Chris Robinson, rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson, drummer Steve Gorman, bassist Sven Pipien, keyboardist Adam MacDougall and Greene. But before they go away, the Black Crowes (above, performing “Sting Me”) are coming back to town for eight shows with special guests galore. The six-piece will play acoustic shows at the Capitol Theatre, tonight and tomorrow with John Fullbright, and Monday and Tuesday with Justin Townes Earle. (Plus legendary bluegrass mandolinist Sam Bush will sit in at three shows, while jack-of-all-trades multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell will guest at all four.) The Crowes will then go electric at Terminal 5, on 10/24 with Ray Wylie Hubbard, on 10/26 with the Blind Boys of Alabama, on 10/27 with Dr. John & the Nite Trippers and on 10/29 with Maceo Parker. Get involved.

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Despite Major Changes, the Black Crowes Are Having Fun

April 8th, 2013

The Black Crowes – Terminal 5 – April 6, 2013


The Black Crowes first gained fame with their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker, but 23 years later, only three original members remain: frontman Chris Robinson, his brother, rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson, and drummer Steve Gorman. Bassist Sven Pipien has been with the band since the late ’90s (minus a few years), and keyboardist Adam MacDougall came onboard in 2007. As for lead guitar, first there was Jeff Cease, and then for a long time there was Marc “Fucking” Ford. His and Rich’s guitar pairing would define the band’s sound. But then Ford was replaced by Audley Freed, who remained until the group’s first hiatus. When the Crowes returned, Ford was again playing lead—until he wasn’t and Paul Stacey was. And then he wasn’t and Luther Dickinson was. Dickinson returned the band to the twang-y Southern-rock sound of Ford’s heyday, and by the time fans finally grew accustomed to this version of the Crowes, you guessed it, they went on hiatus again.

So when word broke that they’d be touring again, with Jackie Greene as lead guitarist, the news was met with trepidation. But over the course of four shows last week—two each at the Capitol Theatre and Terminal 5—the newest edition of the Black Crowes allayed the fears of any doubters. Turns out, Greene is almost a perfect fit, as the band has bloomed sonically from the bluesy Southern rock they’d first become known for into a patchwork Americana sound studded with folk, rock, gospel and soul. It’s as if they’d traded in their Stones’, Faces’and Allmans’ albums for the Band’s, Mad Dogs & Englishmen and the Rolling Thunder Revue.

On Saturday night at Terminal 5, Greene’s mandolin on “She Talks to Angels” and banjo on “Whoa Mule” helped breathe new life into those songs, and his guitar work on “Sister Luck” was particularly fiery. Greene’s presence allowed Rich to play slide and take on more lead duties, like in terrific renditions of “Thorn in My Pride” and “Wiser Time,” with the two epically engaging each other from across the stage while everyone else took a step back. Of course, it’s not just about the new guitarist. The Crowes have reinterpreted some older material, like Chris’s staccato gospel breakdowns in the middle of “Remedy” (and in “My Morning Song” on prior nights). And the other drastic change was the lack of backing singers, two strong female voices replaced by four- and five-part harmonies.

But it wasn’t just about what was heard—because what was seen proved to be just as important, which in this case, was a band having a good time. There were smiles across the stage, and no one seemed to be enjoying himself more than Chris, whether happily introducing the night’s third song, “Feelin’ Alright,” with “Saturday night in the big city, man,” or inspiring some of the night’s biggest applause with harmonica-led jams, his playful dancing and joy were infectious, spreading across the stage and the room. And following a strong show filled with early material, covers and rarely played numbers, like “Title Song,” plus a three-song encore, the Black Crowes lingered onstage hugging one another, smiling widely and taking in the adulation. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com