Earlier this year, Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene, were booked to do a few solo acoustic shows together. One thought, and the other agreed, that the shows would be a helluva lot more fun if they joined together and did them “in the round.” For two friends that are gifted as both singer-songwriters and guitarists—impromptu “jamming” is second nature. But for these shows, they’ve ditched their bands for some stripped down acoustic performances, each taking a turn with one of their songs, while the other provides accompaniment.
It was a great experience for each of them and audience alike and Jackie and Anders are excited to bring this sit-down evening of old fashioned tune trading to more cities this fall!
"We live in such a fast-paced, hectic environment, I wanted to make a record that would invite people to step back and take their time to listen," Jackie Greene says of Back to Birth, his first album in five years. "I wanted to make a record that would reward people who are willing to sit down and give it a couple of serious listens."
Back to Birth - Greene's seventh album and his Yep Roc Records debut - is more than worthy of some serious attention. The 11-song set showcases the multitalented artist's uncanny knack for synthesizing his deep affinity for American roots styles into timeless, personally-charged music. Armed with a persuasive voice, a vivid songwriting skill and an instinctive mastery of several instruments, Greene has carved out a unique musical niche, and the album marks another creative landmark in his already compelling body of work.
Produced by Los Lobos member and frequent Greene collaborator Steve Berlin, Back to Birth underlines Greene's remarkable evolution as a performer and writer. With such new compositions as "Silver Lining," "Trust Somebody," "Now I Can See For Miles," and the stirring title track, the artist's distinctive melodic sensibility is matched with thoughtful, introspective lyrics that confront some profound philosophical issues with plainspoken eloquence.
"Musically, this album is kind of a return to the simplicity of the records that I started with, although I feel like I have a much better idea of what I'm doing now," Greene observes. "I think the lyrics are the part that have really evolved. A lot of these songs explore the notion of a cyclical existence, and the sense that life goes in a circle. I want the songs to come from a place that's meaningful to me, but I also want to keep them as simple and direct as I can. I look at old blues songs, or Hank Williams songs, and they're so simple and direct but they can convey some pretty deep ideas."
Although Back to Birth is Greene's first new solo release in five years, he's hardly been idle. In fact, he's spent much of the past few years engaging in a series of collaborative musical adventures that have teamed him with several notable veterans.
In 2013, Greene joined the reunited Black Crowes as lead guitarist on their worldwide tour, and the following year released the self-titled debut album of supergroup Trigger Hippy, which Greene is a member of along with Joan Osborne and Crowes drummer Steve Gorman. Greene continues to be a frequent member of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh's touring ensemble Phil Lesh & Friends, for which he has contributed lead guitar and vocals since 2007. Greene also toured as part of WRG, an acoustic trio with the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, and he performed with Levon Helm as part of Helm's fabled Midnight Ramble shows.
The same qualities that attracted such legendary figures to work with Greene are prominent throughout Back to Birth, which Greene and producer Berlin cut at Portland's Supernatural Sound with a sympathetic crew of mostly jazz-steeped players, with Greene stretching out on a number of instruments, including guitar, piano, organ and drums.
Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals and his piercing, expert guitar work, New Orleans' Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. He is among the most original and visionary musicians writing and performing today. Guitar Player calls him "the poet laureate of Louisiana's fertile roots music scene." New Orleans' Gambit Weekly recently honored Osborne as the Entertainer Of The Year. OffBeat named him the Crescent City's Best Guitarist for the third year in a row, and the Best Songwriter for the second straight year. Osborne also won Song Of The Year for his composition, Louisiana Gold.
Since the release of his 2010 Alligator Records debut, American Patchwork, his 2012 follow-up, Black Eye Galaxy, and his critically acclaimed 2013 EP, Three Free Amigos, Osborne has earned hordes of new fans. He has toured virtually non-stop, either with his road-tested trio, as a solo artist, or as a guest with his countless musical admirers, including Toots and The Maytals, Stanton Moore, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, The Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. He's appeared on Galactic's Ya-Ka-May album, and in 2011 produced and played on critically acclaimed albums by Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone and Mike Zito.