Jason Greene is an upcoming singer/songwriter currently based in Idaho who recently released Local Animus. The album consists of mostly his guitar and vocals with some harmonica thrown in. There's no denying this is a folk album and Greene was influenced by artists by Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Dave Brubeck.
After spending some time with the album it’s obvious Greene has some talent. He’s a good songwriter and is a solid vocalist who knows where he sounds good. That being said Local Animus succumbs to some of the common pitfalls I’ve seen quite often with this type of music. Throughout most of this album Greene serves up slow moving melancholy songs. The songs especially on your first listen through the album meld into each other and don’t carry enough distinct characteristics.
Greene obviously took his time writing the lyrics to these songs. Even though the feel of many of the songs sounds similar he crafts a different narrative for each song.
Up first is “Now That It All Comes Back To Me.” It’s a catchy tune and deals with a classic bohemian folk trope. He sings about leaving different towns and cities such as Bismarck, Bozeman and St. Louis. He sings “Bozeman was the perfect town, but I the greatest fool around / Left before she had a chance to show.”
The next couple of songs “Learn How To Kill,” “Closing Anaconda” and “Last of the Detroit Bands” feel closely related despite having different subject matters. To his credit there is some variation when he implements a lead guitar. “Cambridge Union” which is the sixth song on the album is one of the songs that has its own unique vibe. This is an instrumental track that feels loosely inspired by Django Reinhardt style jazz.
If you enjoy one of Greene’s songs you will enjoy them all. There is a danger in creating a album with too many disparate styles and there is also a danger in having an album that contains songs that sound too similar. Greene just needs a nudge towards the former and I think he will be well on his way. From his photos he looks like a young man who has plenty of time to define his craft. Overall, this is a solid start that builds a foundation and with a little more time I predict his songwriting will evolve and diversify.
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