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

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

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?”

USA Today: What's Jackie Greene listening to?

USA Today: What's Jackie Greene listening to?

Hard-touring singer-songwriter Jackie Greene, whose new album "The Modern Lives – Vol 2" is out now, embraces the bluegrass and folk music of his youth on the six-track EP. To celebrate his new release, Greene curates a playlist of favorites for USA TODAY that reflect his eclectic taste, from vintage country and soul to '90s grunge and hip-hop and beyond.

Adam Carolla Show: Jackie Greene

Show Summary

Adam opens today’s podcast talking about his travel experience over the weekend when he forgot to bring his ID to the airport. The guys then try to kill a fly in the studio, and Adam explains why he loves Clay Aiken so much. James Carville then calls in, and the guys talk about the upcoming Politicon event happening this weekend. They also talk about how James got involved with politics, what the future holds for our current political parties, and who James would like to see run against President Trump in the next election. Adam then rants about people being weak, and complains about the color brown, Gatorade, and shoelaces. Before the break, enjoy today’s Good Sports!

Jackie Greene is in studio next, and Adam asks him about his year playing with The Black Crowes. Jackie then plays a song for the gang, and Gina reads news stories about Hurricane Michael, Ariana Grande splitting up with Pete Davidson, and the latest Germany or Florida entry. Other news stories include a letter of Albert Einstein coming up for auction, the latest over-expensive novelty food item, and Justin Timberlake joining the world of game show hosting. As the show wraps up, the guys talk about the newest Celebrity Reality series, and data from a Fitbit used to solve a crime.


This is a playlist about the new band’s favorite soul and funk music at the moment. We’re a diverse group of musicians with different tastes and backgrounds, and these are genres we all like and listen to together while rehearsing and recording.

Jackie Greene (Lead):

Sly & the Family Stone – “You Can Make It If You Try”

Who doesn’t love Sly? This is the funkiest circus I’ve ever heard.

Lee Dorsey – “Neighbor’s Daughter”

Sort of an obscure record, The New Lee Dorsey has a bunch of Allen Toussaint songs and all of them are awesome, but I always really liked this one.

Bill Withers – “Ruby Lee”

One of the baddest, rawest grooves ever. The album +’Justments is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Ben Rubin (Bass):

Marvin Gaye – “Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)”

I love this song because the pocket is so deep and sparse and Marvin lays on top so sweet (yes I meant that figuratively and literally).

Prince – “Sign ‘O’ the Times”

I love this song, because to me it represents some of Prince’s best work. When the song came out, it was so ahead of the times in terms of lyricism AND production.

Megan Coleman (Percussion):

Aretha Franklin – “Day Dreaming”

The groove and musicality of this song legit brings tears to my eyes. Also, I’m a sucker for a good ole fashioned love song.

Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”

I mean…how beautiful is he in this music video? This was one of the first songs I fell in love with as a child and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Jon “Smoke” Lucas (Drummer):

D’Angelo – “Playa Playa”

This is the intro to the era that captured my soul at 12 years of age. The sound, feel, and performance of this record is priceless! All-time favorite of mine…

Nathan Dale (Guitar):

Otis Redding – “Ole Man Trouble”

I wore out both sides of my The Dock of the Bay cassette during the summer of ’92. “Ole Man Trouble” was the last song before the auto-reverse tape deck flipped back to side 1. The song hooked me every time. There is some kind of magic happening between Cropper’s guitar parts and Otis’s painful vocal delivery. Otis opened the door to soul music for me.

Prince – “Sign ‘O’ the Times”

Prince’s brew of pop craftsmanship is something I was never embarrassed to admit I loved. His blend of funk, soul, blues, and R&B along with the addictive hooks is a perfect kind of music to me. The genius of his artistry is captured brilliantly in “Sign ‘O’ the Times.” Its sparse musical approach keeps the funk but leaves room for the lyric’s heavy topics of the 1980s.

Alex Kettler (guitar tech)

Lettuce – “Phyllis”

It’s a simple groove that opens up to a plethora of synths and horns. The song keeps progressing while always lightly grasping the main line until it goes full-circle.


Whether or not it was recorded subsequent to or simultaneous with its predecessor, The Modern Lives Vol. 2 is much superior. Otherwise fully complementary to Vol. 1 right down to the cover graphics, Jackie Greene’s second of two EP’s within roughly a year reaffirms the wisdom of his declaration of independence as a recording artist.

As with the best of other such self-played and recorded projects, his informality works in his favor because he sounds so sure of what he’s doing. “Crazy Comes Easy” may well be the best track of this bunch and the last: the crisp electric piano is the ideal foil for the topsy-turvy electric slide guitar, while a touch of harmonica lends an extra dollop of whimsy to the alternately bemused, bewildered vocal. Sidestepping the bane of such purely solo recordings, Jackie never sounds too careful here, during the more abandoned “Good Old Bad Times” or anywhere else on Vol. 2 for that matter.

That latter arrangement, again including prominent harmonica, continues the folksy feel Greene amplifies further through the addition of vocal harmonies and, on “Women And The Rain,” the prominence of dobro. Here, the singer/songwriter sings ascends to a higher vocal register he rarely uses that’s also effective during “Victim of the Crime:” it’s an approach that dampens the philosophical musings running through the lyrics to some tunes, thereby allowing high-spirits to permeate most of The Modern Lives Vol. 2.

Emotions turn tender, however, on “Fragile And Waiting” where Jackie uses the acoustic piano to imbues the track with a gospel feel that remains even when some orchestral crescendos appear late in the cut: they’re demonstrably restrained, thereby rendering this a demonstration of influences as authentic as Greene’s other such gestures here. The modified bluesy shuffle of the sly “That Ain’t Love, That’s Sugar” thus becomes the perfectly appropriate closer to this six-cut collection.

A logical sequencing of the tracks doesn’t become readily apparent til this point, a signal of how astute is David Simon Baker’s editing. Equally crucial, if not more so however as the mixing of Michael H. Brauer and mastering of Joe Laporta: the clarity of sound offers further proof of Jackie Greene’s justifiable pride in his work on The Modern Lives project.

NPR: Watch Jackie Greene, Kathy Mattea, Band Of Heathens And More Live From AmericanaFest

NPR: Watch Jackie Greene, Kathy Mattea, Band Of Heathens And More Live From AmericanaFest

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues and folk as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

This year, NPR Music, WMOT and World Cafe present the inaugural AmericanaFest Day Stage from The Local in Nashville. Performances will be broadcast on WMOT with video webcasts on NPR Music and World Cafe via VuHaus. Over 25 bands will appear over the five days, plus a live webcast of the Americana Music Honors & Awards ceremony, which aired on Wednesday, Sept. 12, presented by NPR Music and World Cafe.

Spotify Playlists: Fresh Folk & The Pulse of Americana

Thanks to the great folks over at Spotify for adding “Crazy Comes Easy” to Fresh Folk & The Pulse of Americana Playlists. Take a listen below:

Fresh Folk Spotify Playlist:

The Pulse of Americana Spotify Playlist:



Greene doubles down on his musical roots with “Crazy Comes Easy,” a bluesy blast of Southern rock and sunny soul. The song pays tribute to love’s addled affect on the human mind, with a chorus that evokes the Black Crowes — whose final lineup featured Greene on electric guitar — and plenty of slide guitar. Recorded in the songwriter’s home studio in Brooklyn, “Crazy Comes Easy” is the kickoff single from The Modern Lives – Vol. 2, which arrives next month.

Jackie Greene Shares New Single ‘Crazy Comes Easy’

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Singer-songwriter Jackie Greene shared a new single entitled “Crazy Comes Easy.” The track appears on his upcoming EP The Modern Lives – Vol 2, which is due out on Blue Rose Music in October.

Greene issued the six-song The Modern Lives – Vol. 1 EP last year, marking his debut with Blue Rose. Both The Modern Lives volumes were recorded in Greene’s Brookyln home studio. Before that, the multi-instrumentalsist released the full-length studio album, Back To Birth, in 2015.

The video for the new single “Crazy Comes Easy” will be available on June 20. A teaser of the video is below, followed by the full track.