Hometown musician returns for Pops in the Park Reimagined
By Cathryn Rakich
Musician and singer-songwriter Jackie Greene returns to Sacramento with his signature blend of rock, blues and country for this summer’s Pops in the Park. But this year, due to social-distancing protocols, the annual neighborhood event will be different. The reimagined concert will be live-streamed Saturday, June 6, via the Pops in the Park Facebook page.
“We’re pretty excited,” says City Councilmember Jeff Harris, who recalls Greene’s first Pops in the Park concert in 2004 at McKinley Park. “That was one of his earliest performances in Sacramento. Of course, he’s gone on to national and even international fame.”
Greene grew up in Cameron Park. After graduating from high school, he moved to Sacramento and played in local clubs, such as the Fox & Goose and Marylin’s. He released his first album in 2002, and has since released 10 more, including “100% Greene,” recorded in 2018 in Mill Valley. With the artist on acoustic guitar, the album features 16 songs spanning Green’s almost two-decade career.
“Jackie does a killer show just as a solo artist,” says Harris, who admits to being a longtime Greene fan. “Because he’s so versatile, he’s perfect for something like this.”
In 2005, Green’s song “I Will Never Let You Go” was used in the movie “Brokeback Mountain” and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score. He has toured with music legends such as BB King, Lyle Lovett, Huey Lewis, Mark Knopler, Buddy Guy and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, and was lead guitarist for The Black Crowes in 2013.
Greene recently moved back to the Sacramento area with his wife and infant daughter. “It’s going full circle,” Harris says. “He got started at McKinley Park and hit the big time, and is willing to come back and help his community out when times get tough.”
During the Pops in the Park concert, there will be a “live donation” opportunity to support Women’s Empowerment, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that educates and empowers homeless women with the skills and confidence they need to secure a job and regain a home for themselves and their children.
“Women’s Empowerment is struggling like most nonprofits,” notes Harris, who hopes to raise $10,000 to $20,000 for the organization through Pops donations. “But their services have never been more needed.”
In addition to Greene’s performance, video clips will be incorporated throughout the 90-minute show with live shots of people enjoying the concert via the meeting platform Zoom. “Jackie has his own studio with cameras and sound equipment. He’s ready to do a virtual performance,” Harris says.
“People are raring to eat out and socialize, but with safety,” Harris adds. “People are sitting around their front yards 6 feet apart. I’m envisioning people getting together and having barbecues and drinking wine, but in small groups on the front lawn and making a Pops night of it.”
The “Jackie’s Back” Pops in the Park concert will be held 5:30 to 7 p.m., Saturday, June 6, at facebook.com/eastsacpops.
Cathryn Rakich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.