RIP Jack Greene

RIP Jack Greene khaz jack greene 20130315

Nashville is mourning the loss of one its true legends of the Country Music industry today. I'd like to add my own perspective to the chorus who knew, respected and loved Jack. He was an incredibly kind, gentle soul and always treated everyone with the utmost of respect. As a member of Stonewall Jackson's band, I had the opportunity to back Jack on several occasions. There wasn't a time that I didn't stand in awe of the way he carried himself and delivered a song.

I remember backing Jack on a Michigan road date. I can't remember the town, just that it was Michigan and at a campground with about 1000 folks in attendance. One of the songs he wanted to do was Dottie West's "Here Comes My Baby Back Again". I should have known it but am ashamed to admit that I completely butchered the thing. It was rough, really rough but Jack delivered his clear vocal right over the top of my foul-ups. For a few years after that gig, every time I was on the band backing Jack, you could tell he was as nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs but still, he'd let me be a part and never mentioned the train wreck in Michigan.

It was at that Michigan gig that we began to suspect what I later understood was diagnosed as alzheimers and for the next several years I observed the most incredible thing. Jack was such a "pro" that he could still shake your hand and greet you, just as if he knew who you were, even though it was clear the disease had already taken its toll. On stage was even more amazing. I remember we were working at the Ryman one night and at this point, Penn (his band leader) had to lead him out to the stage. The moment that first note was hit on the intro, the most incredible thing would happen. You could see him come alive again. His voice rang out clear and pure and with perfect pitch and timing. He knew where to hold the mic, where to stand, and how to project just like the true star that he was.

For those of you who have had loved ones who suffered with alzheimers, you know how they often lose the most basic of abilities but not Jack. The man was a truly legendary entertainer. Thank you sir, for blessing us with your talent. Rest in Peace. I'll see you on the other side.

Rick Ryan