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The Jesse Greene Band performed on the Black Sheep Stage in 2016 at Bluesfest. 

Bluesfest Local Highlights: The Jesse Greene Band

Written by Terry Steeves on July 14th, 2016

fffphoto: Terry Steeves

BBBphoto: Terry Steeves

Around this time last year, I had decided to check out a young local female artist, who I was told played and sang some mean blues. The rumours were completely true as this woman by the name of Jesse Greene, tore up the stage with her no-nonsense blues mix of originals and creative covers. When I learned that The Jesse Greene Band was part of this year’s Bluesfest line-up, I made sure to mark the date on my calendar.

She boarded the Black Sheep Stage armed with her ruby Hagstrom guitar, and her 3-man force-to-be-reckoned-with contingent of drums (Matt Wood), bass (Kurt Walther), and harmonica (Marc Seguin). The band opened with a bluesier, sultrier version of Peggy Lee’s, “Fever”, a perfect cover choice that outlined Jesse’s smoky vocals.

I loved the jazz-infused instrumentation on their original, “Midnight”, from their recently released EP, Find It Tonight. It featured Seguin’s dynamic blues melody line treatment, and the flawless bassline/rhythm groove and alternating time signatures held down by Wood and Walther. Others from the new album included the quick-paced, “Good Time Lady”, the tribal beat flavour of “Travelling Man”, the blues/rock power-chorded goodness of “No More Roll”, and the title track “Find It Tonight”, a very infectious washboard blues piece loaded with 3-part harmonies, a solid bassline, and more stand-out harp sequences.

Marc Seguin of The Jesse Greene Band. Photo by Terry Steeves.
They strayed from the new album to play “Mojo Man”, one of my favourites from their first self-titled effort. I loved its stop-start goodness, Greene’s sweet and spicy vocals, and the duelling solo banter with Seguin which delighted the crowd everytime. Greene drew out a sexy chord intro on an old classic, “Polk Salad Annie”, which again featured the very Bonnie Raitt-like timbres of her voice, and the passionate drive of the harmonica.

There was a long flowing instrumental opening that introduced their final song, “Rusty Cage”, which had a very Santana-like feel, and highlighted Greene’s dexterity between rhythm and lead parts. The song’s fiery winding rhythm and melody broke into half-time, and delivered a Hendrix Voodoo Child surprise, complete with a great wah-heavy solo.

The Jesse Greene Band sizzled with stand-out performances from all, as well as showcased the band’s incredible tightness. Their new material from their album Find It Tonight impressed me with its array of rhythms, and genre colours of blues, rock, and jazz that wander off the beaten path, and into unique, fresher territory.

For more on the Jesse Greene band, visit their website or find them on Facebook.


The Jesse Greene Band sizzled at Irene’s

Written by Terry Steeves on Monday July 27th, 2015


Local artists, The Jesse Greene Band, shook up a packed house at Irene’s Pub on Friday night, with their highly charged brand of rockin’ powerhouse blues. Now changed from a 5-piece down to a 4-piece, Jesse Greene tells me about the new band configuration:

“At first, I had gotten used to playing with another guitarist, but now I’m not phrasing things around a second player and taking a rhythm in that balance. Having a guest at the show made me realize that while it’s nice to have a second guitarist there, it’s not something that I really need.”

Favourite standards such as “Polk Salad Annie”, “Voodoo Woman”, and “Sweet Home Chicago”, were transformed into thundering rock renditions. Setting the tremendously solid backbone of this band, were drummer, Matt Wood, and bassist Kurt Walther, who worked as a tight unit. I was amazed at how the two completely fed off each other in their silent communication, as their combined forces amplified all the material. Piercing his way through with flavoured accents and electrifying solos was harmonica player, Marc Seguin. I anticipated each moment he’d go into one of his sequences, which he delivered in a storm of fire and passion, and drew an eruption of cheers from the crowd every time.

From underneath her dark long locks that bore a blues-style fedora, came a voice that had the smoky timbre of Bonnie Raitt, the wonderful raspiness of Janis Joplin and at times, the nostalgic tremolo of Bessie Smith. Her guitar playing and lead work was impressive as she churned out some deep-toned progressions on her ruby coloured Hagstrom. Now 32, Greene has been playing guitar since age 11 and has developed her style through her vast array of influences...

Her sultry vocal tones shone during the slow, smouldering numbers like Raitt’s, “Love Me Like    A Man”, and Joplin’s, “One Good Man”, and “Turtle Blues”. I loved the vamped up goodness of “Good Mornin’ Little Schoolgirl” and the swampy blues heaviness of “Amos Moses”. Their arrangements of these songs brought a unique quality to the music and almost sounded like their own compositions. I also enjoyed the very 30’s style swing beat of “Sweet Thing”, an original from their self-titled EP, as well as their Chicago blues-flavoured, “Mojo Man”.

The stage sizzled with heated solo exchanges by each musician and featured some amazing     guest performances by vocalist and guitarist couple, Nathalia and Tony Cook, as well as by guitarists, Fred Carriere, and Jamieson Mackay. I was moved by the electric chemistry that took place onstage when the band really got into their groove and things really started to cook. It was something you could see as well as hear, as the atmosphere intensified with the audience’s reciprocation. The Jesse Greene Band completely won me over and have definitely been added to my list of amazing local talent.