Look out Warren Haynes – you’re about to lose your “Hardest working man in show business” title to Jackie Greene. In addition to maintaining a solo career, Greene has toured with Phil Lesh & Friends, Trigger Hippy and the trio Weir, Robinson & Greene (WRG) among others. On Wednesday, October 3, the singer/songwriter/guitarist will return to Birmingham for a performance at Workplay. Nashville-based singer/songwriter Ruston Kelly opens the 8 p.m. show. Recently, Weld caught up with Greene on the European leg of his current tour.
Brent Thompson: Jackie, thanks for your time. It’s hard to reflect on your career without thinking of your numerous musical projects. How do you find time to fit them all in?
Jackie Greene: I guess it’s a matter of balancing all the projects. I’ve been lucky in that there’s not a lot of overlap in terms of tours. Between all the projects, I pretty much stay busy all year. The hard part is finding time to record. As of now, I will be on tour pretty much through the end of the year. I won’t have a chance to work on my record very much.
BT: Does each project somehow benefit or inspire the others?
JG: Absolutely. That’s the main high for me. It’s easy to stay inspired that way.
BT: Some artists say that this is a great time to be an artist because iTunes, Youtube and satellite radio make music so accessible for listeners. Some artists say that technology’s impact makes it harder for artists to get noticed and get heard. How do you view the balance between accessibility and possible over-saturation?
JG: It’s an incredibly complex situation. On the one hand, technology has made it easy to get your band out there. On the other hand, “out there” is really just that – out there. Doesn’t really mean anything. The other important fact is our fast-paced lifestyles. We expect everything instantly. We don’t have the time or patience to listen to a new band or album. It’s unfortunate in my opinion. I could talk for days about this topic, but let’s just say that I think it will come full-circle. The bands that will last are the ones that are able to go on the road and put on good live shows. The ones who sit behind their laptops all day trying to get friends or likes – but never play a live show – will fail. In the end, real talent should prevail.
BT: How do songs stay fresh and relevant to you after you’ve played them literally hundreds of times?
JG: Sometimes they don’t, at least for me. But it’s not about me…it’s about the listeners. Just because I’ve played a song 400 times live doesn’t mean that person has been to 400 of my concerts. Songs also have a tendency to evolve after playing them live. There’s no “correct” version. Music is a fluid thing, especially live performance.
Tickets to the 18+ show are $12 – $15 day of the show – and can be purchased at www.workplay.com.