Jackie Greene

Giving Up the Ghost | 429
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 22, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars

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The classic-rock era was over by the time Greene was born in Sacramento, yet this ex-blues prodigy’s latest has the verve and emotional depth of Clapton’s best singer-songwriter outings, with a little more honest drawl in Greene’s clear-toned, flexible voice. When Greene’s not knocking out romantic slices of life like “Uphill Mountain” and “Prayer for Spanish Harlem,” numbers that would sound right in the jaws of Tom Waits or Levon Helm, he’s on stage fronting Phil Lesh & Friends, where his young-Dylan haircut and multi-instrumental talents set him apart. Lesh guests with a solo, but it’s producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos who gives these songs just enough gloss to keep them in the present, using loose-tuned drums and textural slide and steel guitars for color. Greene has tried breaking out of Americana’s gilded cage before, especially with 2006’s ambitious American Myth (Verve Forecast), but this fat-free CD is his finest shot.

JACKIE GREENE | Paradise, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | May 1 | 671.931.2000

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