Something Worth Doing
by Roberta B. Schwartz
Greg Greenway is one of those artists who is so rich a talent that it is difficult to categorize him. He traverses, combines and mixes up musical genres, and manages to open a window on global events that bring us together as citizens of the world. Like other great performers before him, Greenway's message is that we can all play a part and make a difference in the course of both our private and public lives. But few musicians can do just this with such style, passion and sheer musicality.
On that note, it is more than appropriate that Greenway opens his new recording, Something Worth Doing, with the uplifting In the Name of Love/Pride, a truly stunning and artful combination of a Greenway original, In the Name of Love, with U2's Pride. It's a celebration of those brave giants, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ghandi who dedicated their lives to the cause of peace.
Going to hear Greg Greenway live is something like attending a religious revival. Firstly, you get caught up in Greenway's passion for living, and for the big questions and issues he cares about. But those of us in the audience can't help but join in with this dynamic performer with the supple, melodic tenor and energetic stage presence, which is difficult to capture on record. I think "Every Little Day" is one of those Greenway songs that translates well on disc. Although he addresses the closing of a life, the death of a friend, and the beginning of life in the birth of another, this anthem celebrates life and the journey it takes us on, from beginning to end. The assembled chorus includes Greenway regulars Patty Barkas and Ginny Fordham, as well as favorites like Stephanie Corby, Colleen Sexton and Tom Prasada-Rao. This would be a great band to take on the road.
Greenway knows how to be passionate, but he also knows how to be quiet and draw you in as well. You Don't Travel Like I Do is a beautiful telling of what it's like to be far from home and away from those you love. Greenway's expressive tenor is particularly good here.
Passion Dance gives Greenway a chance to shine on guitar as it opens with a lovely instrumental passage. Rhythmic with an elegant melody and powerful vocals, it is quintessential Greg Greenway.
Great melody, great voice, great guitar - what more could you want in a song? Every artist needs a train song and Runaway Train is a solid addition to this genre. It makes you want to jump on that train and follow it across the country.
Midnight in Khartoum is a wonderful instrumental, which brings to mind the walk of camels across the African desert. Greg Greenway on guitar, Lisa Brown on drums and Bruce Abbott on sax bring us into the heart of Africa.
The title song, Something Worth Doing, is Greenway's take on that moment when "you change the I to we/ and something worth doing." It becomes a dreamy meld of jazz and pop aided by both of Greenway's notable backup singers and Duncan Watt's inspired work on the organ.
Greenway closes with a stirring rendition of Phil Ochs' The Crucifixion.
Greg Greenway is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting performers on the acoustic stage. His passion and dynamism are often difficult to capture on record. Something Worth Doing succeeds in giving us the best of Greenway's live performances. Its straightforward production values and well-crafted songs allow Greenway's unique talent to take center stage. And it doesn't skimp on the passion or the power. Something Worth Doing is a recording that should be in every music lover's collection. After all, who else but Greenway can place the values we all hold close in every song? He is truly a troubador of the times - a singer with the words, the voice and the passion to move us and inspire us.