Giving Up the Ghost
Giving Up the Ghost is Jackie Greene's 4th album, and the California singer/songwriter continues to expand his musical horizons while still delivering his keen penchant for catchy melodies and smart lyrics. The 27 year-old was WYEP's Artist of the Year in 2006 for the surprisingly mature album American Myth, and Greene's confidence continue to bloom.
The album kicks off with the single "Shaken," a gorgeous slice of Americana pop with a distinctively lilting repeated keyboard riff holding the song together. One would be forgiven for thinking certain elements of Greene's songs have fallen from a '60s/'70s time warp (such as hippie-ish lyrics like "I don't care for most possessions for I'm possessed by something other than the boring things we buy ourselves with money"). It's no accident that Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh tapped Greene to join his Phil Lesh and Friends tour last year; Lesh also contribute a bass solo on one track of Giving Up the Ghost.
Greene gets by with a little help from other friends, too. Giving Up the Ghost is once again co-produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame, who brought in his Lobos bandmate David Hidalgo to helps out on two tracks. Also returning is the rhythm section of bassist Davey Farragher and drummer Pete Thomas.
The album's final song, "Ghosts of Promised Lands," features a pair of lines which, to me, serve as an apt metaphor for listening to Jackie Greene's music: "There's a young kid wailin' mad on the saxophone/Someone screams, 'Man, I dig the sound!'"