Ron Greene’s newest single “Matchbook” represents a stepping up of Greene’s development that anyone familiar with this powerful performer and writer should have seen coming. He’s a concert mainstay in the Pacific Northwest area and his collaboration with singer/songwriter Jerad Finck on this track signals a shift in his efforts to reach a mass audience. “Matchbook” is a classically constructed pop song with evocative lyrics and a central idea behind the track paying off with a memorable chorus. The song, in some ways, is a culmination to the first half of Greene’s musical career as he transitions away from a near Americana approach with his previous music into a more mainstream minded approach that still retains immense style and intelligence. The Indianapolis native is a recording artist of immense talents with a wide open path ahead of him and the willingness to take chances other performers seem temperamentally unable to answer the same challenges.
The way he brings this song off in a distinctly thoughtful comes through, mostly, in the way he juxtaposes his vocal against the song’s arrangement. Greene’s obeys a real ebb and flow in the way he phrases the lyrical content and how adeptly he transitions from one passage to another in this song. The lyrics, co-written with Finck, are adult without ever seeming remote for listeners and definitely provide us with a glimpse, at very least, into Greene’s heart in a way that strikes an universal chord for all listeners. It’s a masterful lyric in some ways – particularly how it balances that hint of the personal with something far reaching enough to include all listeners. “Matchbook” is a tense, steadily mounting tune that draws listeners in from the first without ever laying too heavy a hand on listener’s heads. The percussion, in particular, sets an early tone from its entrance onwards.
There are other powerful strands in the musical arrangement. The fat bass pulse at the song’s heart maintains constant pressure from the opening a variety of percussion sounds punctuate the arrangement. Greene brings a number of synthesizer and keyboard sounds together in a tapestry here that never strains your patience or overreaches instead of playing it more restrained. “Matchbook” definitely isn’t paint by numbers singer/songwriter pop and takes a particular approach to the subject of desperation that you don’t often hear in songs of this ilk. The passion burning through his vocals is palpable from start to finish and never sounds imitative or cheap. It makes this song stand out in ways that the typical pop simply doesn’t. Ron Greene’s “Matchbook” is far different from standard fare in this genre and a whole new road is opening up in the career of this veteran singer, writer, and performer that will likely lead him to the prominence he deserves. It’s a winning tune from start to finish and a superb opening track for Greene’s 2018.