Close To The Soul
Keith Greeninger, Chris Kee, and Brain unite for this stellar live studio session. Right away you can hear the chemistry between the three musicians. The way they lock in together so naturally makes it feel as if they have been playing with each other all their lives. Cookie Marenco’s astute attention to detail in the recording set up surely plays a big part in elucidating this. If you close your eyes, you can feel yourself sitting in the studio with the musicians; it’s that good of a recording. The warmth of the instruments, that live atmosphere, the way these three riff off each other and accompany each other: you can really hear and almost feel these things in a visceral way. This studio session is the perfect slice of Americana. Greeninger’s voice is reminiscent of Van Morrison, but more resonant, heartier, raspier, capable of a big, full sound as well as a soft, tender sound. Combined with Kee on bass and Brain on drums and you have the perfect Americana trio. This music has soul indeed.
Opening track, “Into The Mystic” begins gently, first with Greeninger’s acoustic guitar jamming along, then with Kee and Brain joining in. As the song builds and builds, Greeninger’s voice grows stronger until it reaches an emphatic and uplifting note. The warmth of the sound and message behind the song feels euphoric and uplifting, giving us the strength to go on. “Moon Is Shining” follows and provides a tender, beautiful contrast. Rather than the sharper twang of acoustic guitar, here we are serenaded with gentle fingerpicking and gorgeous harmonies. “Shake It” is the perfect jam session song. Greeninger sings, “Life is what we make it / let me see you shake it,” and it’s certainly enough to get you out of your seat and dance along. This is a celebration of life, a welcoming of the good and the bad, and the acknowledgment that everything will be alright.
We invited some special guests to be present for my (Cookie Marenco's) NPR Interview. Along with Laura Sydell & Cindy Carpien of NPR the sessions were attended by Andreas Koch of Playback Designs as well as the musicians: Keith Greeninger on Guitar, Mandola & Voice; Chris Kee on Bass and Bryan Mantia (Brain) on Drums. Special thanks to our Blue Coast Crew -- Patrick O'Connor, Tim Jones and Albert Llaguno, -- Scott Thompson for his BBQ skills and to Harold and Eric Fethe for their ability to add humor and attentive listening to the session. Another day of magic at the studio.