Jamie Green's musical pedigree runs deep. From a long line of musical women, Green's grandmother and great aunts were the Big Band-era jazz vocalists, the King Sisters, while her mother was a soloist in the 60's girl group, the Four King Cousins. Green joined the King Family roadshow and TV specials at the tender young age of six, learning harmonies from her mother by singing to Steely Dan, the Eagles, and Earth, Wind & Fire. As an adult, Green carried on the family's musical legacy– if with a bit more edge–as a contemporary singer-songwriter in her own right, winning two L.A. Music Awards in the "Indie Pop" and "Adult Alternative" Album of the Year categories in 2000 and 2003, and multiple honors from national and international songwriting competitions. Despite these accolades, Green– like many female artists in their late 20's and 30's– was told by record label executives that she was "too old," and that she should "consider writing for and producing younger artists." Ultimately, her independent creative fire only burned brighter, resulting in a new body of work that stands as her best yet.
The new record is alternately funky, rocking and introspective, reflecting multiple creative streams that flow into one striking body of work. With production qualities reminiscent of Seal, Dido and the hip hop side of Gwen Stefani, the new record was produced by Green and Matt Thorne (TRAPT, the eels, the Donnas). The new album showcases Green's signature storytelling, catchy pop melodies and rich vocal harmonies, as well as her ability to navigate maturely through the dark and the light, the dramatic and the fun. One of the album's celebrated singles, "Girl's Night Out," conjures up images of lamé, neon, and of course, girl-bonding with its Stevie Wonder harmonies and Shaft-era guitar riff. Another funky guitar-driven track, "Make Me Do Right" has the singer admitting to her flaws and the desire to improve her attitude towards self and others. "Oneness," Green's collaboration with two inner city youths from Columbus Ohio, contains a powerful message of racial unity. Global notions also fuel her cover of the Police classic "Message in a Bottle," which begins acoustically and then slides on a subtle world music undercurrent.
Green's first two albums explored such topics as a woman's right to choose, the date rape of her best friend, a woman's need to hold herself sacred, a young girl's need for encouragement, a teenage girl's need to rant, and of course, a woman's right to process relationships gone wrong. On this new album, Green continues her signature storytelling through several different types of female characters: "Unencumbered" features a plucky 14 year-old with "braces and a nose ring" who makes a unique impression on the narrator; "Megan, Lynndie & Sabrina" features the trio of female soldiers at Abu Ghraib who posed "thumbs-up in front of a pile of naked, hooded men," thus forcing the songwriter to question her feminist assumptions about female morality; "Silver" is a requiem for a woman who left the physical plane far too early, as expressed through the tears of grieving friends. It's also arguably the most poignant song on the album.
Green's "rebirth" is best expressed in the cathartic tone of the CD's title track, "Chase the Rain." She observes, "We all make crazy choices. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, and other people don't understand them. I'm drawn to those quirky people who haven't done it the way it's supposed to be done. This is for them, and for me." Given the soulful vocals, infectious grooves and deeply personal lyrics, this record may very well be a record for you too.
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