Ron Greene Bio
One of the most eclectic, busiest gigging artists gracing the Pacific Northwest, Ron Greene celebrates a decade since the release of his critically acclaimed debut album Sketches with a new single as fresh and incendiary as its title promises. Spinning freely off the intimate folk and smoldering funk/blues driven pop rock of his successful 2016 full length collection In Honor of a Critic, “Matchbook” finds the multi-talented, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho based performer in a more straightforward pop mode, maintaining a high wire act of not wanting the relationship to end badly but knowing it’s time to cut the cord.
Over a foundation of densely percussive, mid-tempo grooves, Greene expresses the emotional dilemma he’s facing with powerful vocals that tap into his multitude of rock and soul influences: “’Cause I don’t want to burn it down/But this is madness sticking around/And we could fight it, ride it out/But I would just rather go and kiss it with a matchbook…” The track coolly shifts momentarily into a reflective, piano-vocal driven bridge, where he makes his difficult decision: “Gotta go, had to go/I need a little room to breathe/Had to go, gotta go/To save a little piece of me.”
While In Honor of a Critic showcased Greene’s creative dynamic with longtime musical ally, bassist and producer Eddie Ramirez, “Matchbook” marks his first official collaboration with Jerad Finck, another major force in the Pacific Northwest music scene. Finck is well known indie hit maker who launched his career with “Runaway,” which was at one point in 2011 the #1 independent song in the country, scoring high on the adult contemporary, Hot AC and Hot AC Indicator charts. Greene originally met Finck in the mid-2000s, when Greene was the guitarist in the Spokane based, Coldplay/Dave Matthews influenced group The Nate Schierman Band. Greene recorded and toured with that popular ensemble from 2003-2008 before a positive open mic experience with his own material inspired him to launch his solo career a singer-songwriter equally passionate about acoustic and electric guitar.
“Jerad and I have been in and around the same musical circles for years, and our mutual love for pop/rock and desire to work together is finally coming to fruition,” says Greene. “What makes us a great team is that our strong mutual respect for each other. Independent musicians can sometimes be overly competitive, worrying about who is getting what from whom, but he and I are all about the music and moment we’re in. He’s a great musician and a strong melody writer, while my strengths have always been in the storytelling and lyrics. Songwriting with Jerad is a new process for me. With Eddie, we’d have sessions and come up with ideas together that we would go off and work on. With Jerad, the minute we have an idea, we work it through and don’t leave the room till the song is done. Vibing with different writers opens up exciting new opportunities.
“When it came to the vibe of In Honor of a Critic,” he adds, “I just did what came natural, not trying to please anyone in particular but making sure we pleased ourselves first as the musicians creating it. That same creative spirit has opened me up now to feel free to explore other genres and discover different songwriting opportunities that present themselves. Jerad and I worked on some earlier material before deciding ‘Matchbook’ was in the direction we wanted to go. We sat down and he asked me, ‘What are you going through right now?’ Talking about different emotions led him to lay down the musical bed for the song and the story just came out, based on certain real life experiences. I look forward to working with Jerad again in the near future.”
A dynamic solo performer who artfully alternates between solo acoustic gigs and fronting his cleverly named band GRE3NE (which features Ramirez on bass), Greene has performed everywhere from New York to his home region of the Pacific Northwest. Among his more notable live performances were the main stage at Choochokam MusicFestival, six consecutive appearances at Spokane Pigout in the Park, and sharing the stage with such diverse artists as Kings X, Rusted Root, PM Dawn and Paulo Nuttini. In 2017, the singer did a two week Western U.S. tour that reached from Seattle and Portland to Utah, Northern California and his former hometown of Phoenix. His regular regional gigs include monthly slots at MickDuff’s Beer Hall in Sandpoint, ID, Seasons Fresh Grill in Coeur D’Alene and Arbor Crest Winery in Spokane.
Greene’s journey in faith and music has been driven by following an intuitive inner compass that leads him ever-closer to his inner truth as a person and artist. The Indianapolis native grew up in a church-going family and had his first musical epiphany seeing a video of legendary acoustic and electric guitarist and vocalist Phil Keaggy at a church social event. “The next day I learned three guitar chords from my neighbor,” he says. His awakening to music – which also included Christian rockers Servant, DC Talk and White Heart, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Graham Central Station and Prince - coincided with a deep spiritual transformation when he began attending his neighbor’s church. Greene learned guitar on the pulpit playing in the church band. He played with a variety of Christian groups in the years leading up to his joining The Nate Schierman Band.
“All of this has been an incredible journey for me, musically and otherwise,” says Greene. “Whether playing in other people’s bands or leading my own, the thing that brings me the greatest joy is the opportunity to interact with people live – just seeing their faces as they get into what we’re playing and feel the music and lyrics in a deep way. I love seeing them get lost in the music, because that’s what I feel when I’m playing it, fully immersed in something transcendent. When I see the audience connecting on that level, it gets me going as a musician and artist. Sometimes it’s difficult to translate some of the energy that happens in my live show to the studio, but with ‘Matchbook,’ we were thankfully able to get that level of performance.”