Jackie Greene - Till The Light Comes
This record was produced by Jackie Greene and Tim Bluhm. Jackie Greene has been hailed as the new boy wonder of the Americana/roots rock scene since he released his first album in 2002, but he's clearly aiming for a bigger stage nearly a decade into his recording career. On Till the Light Comes, Greene sounds a great deal more comfortable with the pop side of his musical formula than he has in the past - which is not to suggest that Greene's made some deal with the music biz devil on this set; Till the Light Comes still sounds heartfelt and organic and the songs remain literate and well-crafted, but Greene and producer Tim Bluhm allow the hooks in the melodies to step to the forefront, with a lighter touch and a breezier approach that suits these tunes quite well. "Spooky Tina," which concerns a alluringly problematic woman, reveals Greene can write the proverbial good beat you can dance to, and the Vox organ hook and the playful backing vocals allow it to resemble some sort of a hit single, while "Medicine" is just a few shakes shy of sounding genuinely funky and the title song's mixture of a sharp melody and some strong guitar figures recalls Dire Straits from the period when Mark Knopfler was writing hit single material. Greene hasn't audibly dumbed down his songwriting on Till the Light Comes, and "1961" and "The Holy Land" confirm he still has a genuine gift for telling an emotionally compelling story that has something to say. But while the frequent comparisons to Dylan sometimes made Jackie Greene sound like the musical equivalent of shredded wheat - good for you, but not much fun - Till the Light Comes is a lot more like Cinnamon Life, tasty but with some substance, too.