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Giving Up the Ghost

An album by Jackie Greene

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Polished Light And Pop Rock

  • May 6, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+3
Until I received this album in the mail, I had never heard of Jackie Greene. When I got the chance to listen to Mr. Greene, though, I was pleasantly surprised. "Giving Up The Ghost" is strong pop rock. Sure, there are traces of Springsteen, a drop of Dylan, a little Mellancamp here and there, and plenty of instruments you won't here on Top 40 Radio, but I wouldn't call this particular album Americana. This stuff would fit comfortably between Gavin DeGraw and John Mayer. It's better than that type of music in my opinion, but that's where I would expect to hear it. Understand that I'm not "dumbing down" Greene's music, I'm just trying to give it a better genre classification than the seemingly all-knowing New York Times.

There are a number of solid tunes on this album, my favorite being "Uphill Mountain." Other standouts include "Animal," "When You Return" and "Like A Ball And Chain." The only song that didn't settle with my stomach too well was the forced-sounding "Don't Let The Devil Take Your Mind."

Overall, this is a very pleasant album. There's a good mix of light rock, pop, some blues and, yes, even a little Americana thrown in for good measure. It wouldn't surprise me to hear Mr. Greene on Top 40 Radio very soon, unless his publicist thinks that the NPR route is a better way to travel.

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More Giving Up the Ghost reviews
review by . November 12, 2008
Rock and Roll is here to stay, but that doesn't mean it's going anywhere. This is a good, though highly derivative album, that makes me wonder if we haven't really hit the "end" of rock and roll. The form fulfilled its purpose years ago, touched the sublime heights a few times, but now it's just a genre waiting for yet another practitioner. Jackie Greene is another practitioner, very talented, but it's only rock and roll.
review by . May 13, 2008
posted in Music Matters
Yep, I have to say I enjoyed every song.  That isn't to say that each is a favorite, but this is an album you can listen through without hitting any buttons. Perhaps a hair on the overproduced side, it is nonetheless a great "american" rock album. From the soft poppy intro of 'Shaken' to the rockin and a rollin big bash closeout of Ghosts Of Promised Lands, this is an ear pleaser. Greene's voice is pleasant and has a good range, though I would not say he is overly dynamic. His lyrics are …
review by . May 10, 2008
Jackie Greene has a nice light tenor voice, a competent band, and a steady danceable beat. This album also has forgettable lyrics, catchy but predictable tunes, and uninspired arrangements.  When you want some nice folk rock for parties, this will be an inoffensive choice.  I'd like to hear Greene perform someone else's compositions. Or maybe wait for his songwriting to mature.
review by . May 01, 2008
Jackie Greene nicely shifts between folk, rock, and blues styles on this album, making it a nice listen for those whose tastes may range somewhere between Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Wallflowers, and David Gray. The album starts out with Shaken, a smooth, bluesy song. Another nice bluesy/jazzy tune is I Don't Live In A Dream. Uphill Mountain has a nice basic melody and rhythm, and is followed by Don't Let The Devil Take Your Mind and the soulful folk song Prayer For Spanish Harlem. Another …
review by . April 28, 2008
it will distinguish Jackie Greene as a talent to be reckoned with. Jackie Greene, "Giving Up the Ghost", 429 Records, 2008.    An Amazing CD    Amos Lassen    I must admit that I had never heard of Jackie Greene before I heard this CD and I am now a staunch fan. His style, for lack of a better word, perhaps creations would better suit him, range from ballads to blues to rock to folk. It is hard to label him as he is so at home with any …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #9
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Wiki

It s possible, but hardly common, for a singer-songwriter to sound echoes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Gram Parsons, Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg, all of which Jackie Greene does on his fifth album.

The hard part, which Greene seems to pull off so effortlessly, is triggering those echoes without sacrificing an authentic voice of his own. That may be one meaning of the album's title: Greene seems comfortable acknowledging the ghosts of pop music past, perhaps because he's in thrall to none of them.

In "Uphill Mountain" alone, he references colorfully named characters such as Peeping Tom and Madame Rose, name-checks Elmore James and John Henry and tosses off such bons mots as "You got to take just what you are given/'Cause luck only matters with the cards and the women," staking his claim as a peer, not a shadow.

The San Francisco-based musician opens the album advising the listener, "California is the place to be, but I should warn you about the things I've seen." He proceeds to reel off one fascinating, detail-rich tale or morality play after another. Somehow, as literate as his lyrics can read, they never sound academic, rarely self-conscious: "I don't pretend to make the world feel better / I don't live on the moon," he sings in "I Don't Live in a Dream." No brag, just fact.

He's a skilled multi-instrumentalist and has been a virtual one-man band on previous albums, but this time he's assembled a crack team of Americana/roots ...
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Label: 429 Records
Artist: Jackie Greene
Release Date: April 1, 2008

First to Review

"An Amazing CD"
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