Live Review: Craig Greenburg

Rockwood Hall  New York, NY

Contact: [email protected]

Web: craiggreenbergmusic.com

Players: Craig Greenberg, piano guitar, vocals; Hiroyuki Matsuura, drums; Jim Kuras, bass; Wayne Silver, guitar

Material: There is always a danger of pigeonholing an artist by trying to fit them neatly into a genre. Though more on the pop-rock spectrum, with comparisons to Billy Joel and Ben Folds, Greenberg is still his own creation who chronicles relationships and how he sees the world through his own unique prism. His songs are mostly piano- centric with a backing band, but the piano is commonly the driving force. Relationships and self-examination are the subject matter at the heart of his song content, occasionally veering off into other directions. ”Going  Back To The Start,” Greenberg revisits less complicated times with the hopes of returning to them: I’m going back to the start when the future was bright/I’m breaking the chains of my heart/ Gonna make it alright/No sense of anger/No fears slow me down/It’s gone in the blink of an eye.

“In Need of A Friend,” Greenberg follows  parallel lives on a lonely track who connect: I’m left alone at the end of a night/I feel so low when I’m cold inside/And I know I’m in need of a friend/I held the flame but it burned too fast/The plans we made weren’t made to last/ And so I am looking for a friend/And your light will soon shine in my window/..And one day the stars align/She greets me with a smile…And just like that we know the seed begins to grow.

Musicianship: Greenberg’s got great piano chops and really brings life to the songs, as a result. He also plays a more than respectable guitar. Vocally, he is never overpowered by his own playing, creating a nice balance between the two. Matsuura on percussion and Kuras on bass add color and nuance to the performance.

Performance: Despite a slight cold, Greenberg soldiered through the set, showcasing a good mix of material. Switching to guitar while also featuring Wayne Silver for a guest artist spot, added diversity to the musical and visual landscape. Greenberg’s songs are packed with stories and his songs would be even better served with some anecdotes or revelations as to what these songs mean to him, further endearing him to his audience. 

Summary: Though you can clearly hear the influences behind his music, Greenberg doesn’t chase musical trends. He sticks to his guns with his own brand of piano-centric material. Letting more of the personal genie out of the bottle with dialogue and backstories will further cement him to his audience.  

– Ellen Woloshin