Jackie Greene and his friends are up to something good.
Greene, an acclaimed Americana singer/songwriter, has rocked with the likes of the Black Crowes and the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Bob Weir over the years.
On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Greene and fellow musical journeyman Anders Osborne kick off their joint tour on the Asbury Park Press Stage at the Count Basie Theatre, and they'll be joined for the occasion by Steve Earle, Joan Osborne, Steve Forbert and Jason Crosby.
The sextet is set to deliver a one-night-only songwriters-in-the-round performance.
“We all know each other, so I assume it’s going to feel like a big campfire, or something like that," Greene said. "I think it’ll be comfortable for everybody, so I think that’s going to allow us individually to have a lot of fun because we know each other and hopefully we’ll be able to joke around a little bit. I think it’ll be real entertaining.”
And all of that entertainment will be in service of a good cause. The show, dedicated to the memory of Marie and Fred Hope, is hosted by the Blue Rose Foundation. All proceeds go to the Monmouth Day Care Center in Red Bank.
Greene explained that childhood education, particularly music education, is a topic he is incredibly passionate about.
“I’ve often said I may be one of (members of) the last generation of kids to have music (education) in public schools, I think it’s one of the things that goes away quite quickly," Greene said. "And for me, I’m not a scientist or anything, but it’s not about finding the next Mozart or anything like that.
"It’s more about if kids are exposed to music education early, I think it does something to their brains, it allows them to problem solve in a different way. It helps open a creative Pandora’s Box in the brain ... and I think that’s important for kids growing up and I support it.”
After the Red Bank show, Greene and Anders Osborne's Tourgether run of dates brings them to City Winery for a pair of sold out performances Friday, Oct. 27, on Varick Street in New York City, followed by a Saturday, Oct. 28, engagement at the Ardmore Music Hall in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
The Red Bank show also will serve as a reunion for Greene and Joan Osborne; the pair previously joined forces for the rootsy super group Trigger Hippy.
“I think we both have a natural affinity for certain kinds of blues music and soul music that we sort of get along with," Greene said of his work with the "One of Us" hit-maker. "So I think there’a a similarity, a camaraderie there. It seems to work."
Greene also has a new EP to celebrate, the Oct. 13 Blue Rose Music release "The Modern Lives - Vol. 1."
The six-song collection is lyrically insightful and topical while being musically rich, blending Americana with folk and soul.
A California native now based on the East Coast, Greene created the EP in his Brooklyn basement and played all of the instrumental parts himself.
“I look at it more like a wood shop," he said. "I go in, go downstairs and cut a few planks and nail things together and bring it back upstairs, see if it works. I do that every day. It’s a little bit like going to work. I go down and have a thermos of coffee and come back up for lunch, that kind of thing.”
BLUE ROSE FOUNDATION BENEFIT CONCERT
WITH: Steve Earle, Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene, Anders Osborne, Steve Forbert and Jason Crosby
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18
WHERE: The Asbury Park Press Stage at the Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank
TICKETS: $20 to $40, $300 for VIP package with meet-and-greet
INFO: 732-842-9000 or www.countbasietheatre.org