Native Northern California musical gem Jackie Greene returned to another north state jewel, the classy stage of the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room in Chico for two sold-out shows on November 17 and 18 (this piece - photos and words - are about the 18th). With long-time, trusty Nate Dale on guitar and a brand new bass/drum combo, the quartet ran through an inspiring rock and blues set, with Jackie's soulful and skillful guitars, keyboard, and vocals ruling the night.
While many know Greene from his tenures with Phil and Friends, Trigger Hippy, and the Black Crowes, the Jackie Greene Band is his bailiwick, and Big Room General Manager Bob Littell billed Greene as “perhaps the Big Room’s most popular performer.”
Greene and the band leaned on his current “Back to Birth” album, performing four musical pieces from the record. Greene also mixed in the old and familiar, including spirited versions of opener “Don’t Let the Devil Take Your Mind,” rockers “I’m So Gone” and “Spooky Tina,” and obligatory Grateful Dead cover, which on this evening was “New Speedway Boogie,” with a bit of “Bird Song” thrown in. While Greene is a command performer on guitar and vocals, he is equally adept at displaying a different skill set when he shifts to his dual piano/Hammond organ station. There, his offerings included the catchy “So Hard to Find My Way” and one of Greene’s oldest originals, the poignant blues number, “Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right.” Before departing, Greene got the dance floor rollicking one last time by finishing up with an energetic encore of “Like a Ball and Chain.”