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Craig Greenberg: "Spinning In Time"

| August 12, 2010 | 0 Comments

On Saturday August 21, 2010 at Sullivan Hall, Long Island native Craig Greenberg will be taking the stage to celebrate the release of his second EP, “Spinning In Time.”  A long-awaited follow-up to his first EP, “The World and Back” (2007), Greenberg is thrilled to finally start touring and promoting this new album beginning this fall, as well as get into the stream of college shows and music festivals.  Born in Queens and raised on Long Island, Craig moved back to NYC immediately after graduating college in Atlanta. Interestingly, he didn’t begin performing until several years later, while he was living abroad down in Chile and Spain.  It was those two countries that Greenberg credits with getting his “start” as a working pub musician, and later as a singer/songwriter.  Returning to NY when he felt he had gained the writing and performing chops to keep up with the amazing level of talent in the city, Craig has worked diligently to put out an EP that showcases the perseverance, creativity, and the long, winding road that always brings an artist back to the energy of New York City.

What made you select these songs for the album and how are they tied into the title “Spinning In Time?”

Well, I first met Roger Greenawalt (Producer) through our common affinity for the Beatles- he hosts a Beatles ukulele tribute in Brooklyn every year where I’ve performed. When he approached me about recording a song together, I decided to bring in a tune that would work well for our mutual sensibilities entitled “Our Own Way.”  The recording came out amazing, and from there we decided to do a full EP together.  “Our Own Way” gave us a strong, bold starting pointing to leap off from, and from there I brought in other songs from my catalog that I thought would fit well with it on the record.

What do these songs represent to you and the place you are in your career right now?

These songs are a great personal and professional accomplishment for me. They are a high water mark in my writing to date, in the sense that they all have some pretty catchy hooks paired with lyrics that are interesting and not of the everyday fare.  It is my hope that people will initially be drawn in by the tune, but then after sitting with it for a while realize there’s much more to the lyrics than just boy meets girl, boy loses girl.  I’d like them to connect on a deeper level.

Who are some of your greatest influences up to this point?

Well, in my house I heard a lot of classical music and Broadway tunes from my dad, and from my older brother I first got into Billy Joel.  Those two sounds laid the foundation of my musical interests.  In high school, when I first started really getting into music, I was listening to a lot of classic and progressive rock, mainly bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, and of course The Beatles.  I was also into a bunch of the grunge and alternative bands of the early 90′s, like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Radiohead, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  The band that undoubtedly had the biggest impact on my college years was Phish.  I spent many hours learning a lot of their early compositions on guitar.  Behind them, the next influence of that era was probably Dave Mathews.  Since those years, the artist that’s had the biggest influence on me is definitely Ben Folds.

How do you feel they have helped to shape your music both in sound and lyrics?

Well, I started learning piano by sitting with Billy Joel piano books for hours on end.  From him, more than any other artist, I absorbed linear classical structure in pop music.  I definitely learned things like odd time signatures and modulations from the progressive rock bands I was into, which I use sometimes in my music. The Phish influence was enormous to me as a musician in bringing experimentation and improvisation to my writing and performing style.  Lyrically, my biggest influences would have to be Paul Simon, the Beatles, Randy Newman, Billy Joel, and the Old 97′s.

How has living in this city impacted your music and career? Is there another artist’s career path that you respect and work towards?

During my time living abroad I moved around a lot, and the guitar was my main instrument to play and write on simply because of it’s portability.  When I returned to NYC and became a bit more settled, I started playing and writing largely on piano.  The piano to me is much more of a composer’s instrument, and I have felt more connected to my NY roots (i.e. Broadway, Gershwin, Billy Joel, the Brill Building writers) since switching to it as my main instrument.   I started working on more elaborately structured music since the transition, and that has grown to become my dominant sound.

As far as my career, being in NY has been a positive and a negative – positive in the sense that I’ve met many great people, both artists and industry folks that I’ve learned a lot from. Being here really forced me to work hard and focus my sound, because there are so many other people doing the same thing.  The negative would be that being in NY could sometimes make artists act more conservatively than they would in other less industry and money driven places.  So many people are caught up with “making it” here that sometimes the integrity of the art suffers.

The artists I admire most are the lifers, the ones who have been successful over a long period of time due to a combination of great talent, hard work, and persistence, who transcend trends and what’s ‘cool’ at any given time, by just being so consistently good!  New York area legends like Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen top that list for me.

For more information, show schedule, or to hear music by Craig Greenberg, visit him on Myspace (www.myspace.com/craiggreenberg) or on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Craig-Greenberg/7071066195)
or at his website (www.craiggreenbergmusic.com).  Details on the record release can be found HERE.

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