I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, often just to hear what they sound like. Some new stuff I like, some I don’t, and a few new artists I love. But my real comfort zone, at my age, is good old-fashioned blues rock, somewhere in the ballpark of Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Savoy Brown, and the Butterfield Blues Band. It takes me back to my college days, making that journey from rock into the heavier blues of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Howlin’ Wolf. So I was delighted to get the recent Alan Greene Band album, which puts me right in that zone....
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Veteran bluesman Alan Greene and his band have been kicking around Northeast Ohio for decades now. Greene and his terrific band are in good form on this studio release. The raucous album opener "Little Black Mark" has ZZ Top-like swagger as Greene kicks out the jams. Greene is at his best when he goes for a rougher and tougher sound. He gets down and dirty on his cover of "Who's Been Talking," and he finishes off the slow-starting "True Love" with a nasty guitar solo. The high-energy guitar and harmonica solos make for a...
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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- But for the Beatles, Alan Greene might be making his living with a trumpet.
The Stow resident, now 66, was in fourth grade in the Shaker Heights school system and ended up getting really good marks on a music aptitude test developed by psychologist Carl Seashore. The bugler sounded the charge, as it were.
“I had my trumpet heroes and took lessons,’’ said the man who was named the area’s best guitarist in different years by both Scene magazine and the Free Times, and is a multiple nominee for the Free Times’ best ax man.
“My hero was people like Al Hirt, a big bear of a guy with a big brassy tone,’’ said Greene, who also played in the...
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The Alan Greene band has come out with his long-awaited release, No Stranger to the Blues, and it was definitely worth the wait! The CD was released on December 16th, 2012, at the Sunday night blues jam at Cebar’s 185th Street Tavern, hosted by Alan and band members T.C. Odegard (lead vocal and harmonicas), Rob Luoma (drums), and Justin Butcher (bass).
The CD features mostly original music written by band members, with a few choice covers like “Who’s Been Talking,” the Chester Burnett classic, and a moving rendition of Steve Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”. “Little Black Mark,” the opening tune on the CD, is a collaboration between all four band members. Lead vocalist T.C. Odegard gets writing credit for most of the other tunes on the album, including “My Little Gal”, “True Love,” “Treat You Right”, and “Meal Ticket Blues,” a song that was used as the theme song for the Cleveland Food Bank. Another gem written by Odegard is “Lonely Nights”, which has the feel of a fifties-style doo-wop song, with lyrics about the life of a bluesman. “Blues Got a Hold On Me” is a stand-out tune, not only as a showcase for Odegard’s songwriting skills, but for his bluesy, whiskey-soaked delivery.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the album is the pop anthem “Angel Love,” a song Alan wrote with former Breathless band mate Mark Avsec and the guitarist Mason Ruffner. The song is a bit of a change of pace, not typical of the style the band is known for, but Odie handles the vocals with ease. Initially called “Too Much About Love,” the tune was one of several Avsec and Greene wrote in the early to mid-‘90s. Avsec turned Ruffner onto the song, and Ruffner asked if he could record it with new lyrics. Ruffner had worked with Carlos Santana before, and got it into his hands. Santana liked the tune and has been performing it regularly in concert for more than a decade. The song finally surfaced in 2010 on a bonus CD on the tenth-anniversary Legacy edition of Santana’s 1999 smash album, Supernatural. Although “Angel Love” did not make it onto the original, the Legacy edition of Supernatural has sold about 40,000 copies.
Playing the circuit for over forty years, Alan Greene has definitely earned his reputation as one of northeast Ohio’s best guitar slingers. He started out in various rock bands, working the Hulla Baloo circuit, and landed a weekly gig for Jimmy Ley, a blues master on keyboards and harmonica, at the Mistake under the old Agora on East 24th Street. There he came to the attention of Jonah Koslen, the founder of the semi-famous group, Breathless. Managed by Mike Belkin, Breathless, which Greene joined in 1978, recorded two albums for EMI Records, which also was home to the Belkin-managed Michael Stanley Band. Greene went on to work with Bill “Mr. Stress” Miller for most of the ‘80s, when Mr. Stress ruled the Euclid Tavern. In fact, up until a few years ago, his band was called the Alan Greene Band Featuring Mr. Stress.
Greene has paid his dues, from his early beginnings in rock and roll, through his foray into the world of pop, and finally coming around full circle to the music that is closest to his heart, the blues. His present band is composed of four top-notch players who all fit together like fingers on a glove. T.C. Odegard has the voice and emotional delivery of a true bluesman, and plays a mean harp as well. Justin Butcher holds down the bass line like he was born to it, and Rob Luoma never misses a beat. Their camaraderie on stage is matched by their musical compatibility; it is evident that they have chemistry as friends and are on the same musical page. These days the band can be found at various local establishments around the area just about every weekend.
- Cat Lilly
NorthCoast Voice Magazine
Alan Greene does a major public service every Sunday night at Cebar’s Euclid Tavern. He has for nearly 12 years.
Greene plays guitar, of course, as he does two or three times a week at various neighborhood taverns in northeast Ohio. Has been for going on 40 years. Among his regular stops: The Moonlight Tavern in Parma, where he recently backed Gregg Allman’s kid, Michael; Smedley’s Bar and Grill, in Kamm’s Corners, and Agostino’s Ristorante in Brooklyn.
At Cebar’s, the Alan Greene Band, featuring Greene, singer Tom “Odie” Odegard, drummer Rob Luoma and the new kid, Justin Butcher, on bass, plays a 9 p.m. set, then lends its equipment to anybody who wants to plug in and jam.
The Alan Greene Band is a treat for serious music fans and great fun for those less dedicated. The other bands? They’re mainly satisfying for friends and family. The gig is perfect for...
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