Jackie Greene

Live For Live Music: Jackie Greene’s Modern Lives - New Band, New Sound

Jackie Greene is currently taking a short break after a series of shows in support of The Modern Lives, Vol 2, the second EP of the same name. Jackie has long collaborated with many of the greats on the jamband scene, but for the past year he’s focused on his own music and his own band.

“I wanted to have some R&B and gospel musicians in the band,” Jackie says, “and started with Shannon Sanders.” In addition to being a fine keyboard player, Shannon is the president of the Nashville Recording Academy. “Shannon knew quite a few gospel musicians in Nashville, so he started calling some of them and it came together.”

The songs on both of The Modern Lives EPs, but especially on Vol 2, are a diverse collection: some rootsy and some rocking. “I let the songs lead the process,” Jackie says. “I played all the instruments myself, so a lot of it was a bit of a science experiment. Like a guy in his garage trying to build a birdhouse and comes out with a shoe rack. I wanted a birdhouse, but we definitely need a shoe rack in the laundry room. Know what I mean?”

We were lucky to catch Jackie and company at New York’s Town Hall in October. The musicians Shannon brought together include Ben Rubin on bass, Jon Lucas on drums and Megan Coleman on percussions. Long-time Jackie Greene fans will know guitarist Nathan Dale, and the something-old, something-new lineup has clearly come together. For the Town Hall show, a trio of horns took things up yet another notch.

Jackie has always been an energetic live performer. He’s appeared frequently with Anders Osborne and Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band. Last year he joined Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule at their New Year’s Eve show. “They’ve been nice enough to include me in a lot of their special events over the years and we’ve become great friends,” Jackie says of the Mule. “Warren always seems to up the ante every time they do a special event.”

In addition to a new direction in music, Jackie’s personal life is on a new path. He got married, moved back to Northern California and is now a father. “It’s been fantastic,” he says. “The big life changes are always met with equal parts fear and enthusiasm. I think that’s part of the universal law of balance.” Has it impacted his songwriting? “I’ve been writing some new stuff and I can sense something new will probably seep out. Having a baby definitely informs the music in a new way.”

We were also curious if the Modern Lives name refers to the changes in his own life or if there’s a wider message given our crazy political times. “In general, I find politics pretty boring,” Jackie says. “I think human nature is far more mysterious and interesting. We stand on the shoulders of every generation that came before and we should be absolutely astounded at what human beings have been able to do. Our ancient ancestors worked hard, took risks and took on a great deal of responsibility in order to survive. Fast forward to 2018 and we get to FaceTime with our loved ones while being driven in an Uber. It’s an amazing world.”

Jackie’s a road warrior, and after some family time on the West Coast, he will be appearing as a member of Voodoo Dead with Steve Kimock, Otiel Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti and John Morgan Kimock on November 9th and 10th in Englewood, Colorado.

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