Songs by
Jacob Greenleaf

What Makes it Good?

My favorite artists are writers first and performers second. This isn't to say that Loudon Wainwright III can't sing, or that Bruce Cockburn can't play the guitar, but their profound facility with the language, and their connectedness to the emotional and spiritual world is what draws me to them. Whatever my own ability with writing, it is what I consider to be the primary skill, a complicated and arduous discipline that, for me at least, is draining, painful, and revealing of just how clever I'm really NOT. It's humbling when you get it wrong, and even more humbling when you get it right... the few lyrics that I've written which I consider to be really good fail to illuminate their own genesis so completely that the only things left to feel when reading them are gratitude, or bewilderment.

ANYhow, those are my criteria for greatness, and what I strive falteringly toward in my own work.

There are so many people that should be called out for their intelligence and sensitivity that even thinking about listing my favorites is a bit like trying to decide upon wedding invitations - I just don't know where to draw the line. So, following my usual pattern, I will be conservative and only list the handful that have been played on my commute in the last year. Here is an incomplete list of folks whose music I love.

Google These People:

  • Peter Mulvey
  • Kris Delmhorst
  • Bruce Cockburn
  • Dave Carter
  • Stew
  • Chris Smither
  • Dan Reeder
  • Tom Waits
  • Paul Simon
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Colin Hay
  • Kelly Joe Phelps
  • Leonard Cohen
  • David Byrne
  • Gillian Welch
  • Jackson Browne
  • Loudon Wainwright III
  • Nick Drake
  • Tracy Grammer
  • Randy Newman
  • Steve Gillette
  • Josh Ritter
  • Iron and Wine
  • Kings Of Convenience

Personal Connections

There are a number of additional singer-songwriters whose work is important to me, but whose recorded material is not as available (or is completely non-existent), because they are my dear friends and family, and not famous recording musicians. Many of them are mentioned on the roots page, but I feel like putting them all here as well, since I really can't say enough about these people. I have been listening to music from some of these folks since I was in-utero, and they've shaped my life in ways that they can't imagine. In some cases, their names will link to an available recording or album (or a youtube video), but most of them you'll just have to take my word for it.

Obviously, I wish that I could bring you all along to camp out with the Sack of Hammers on the bank of the Okanogan river, to hear what I hear, to meet and listen to this wonderful loose net of affiliates (just realized that calling it a "group" was a bit too formal) who have given my life such wonderful depth and meaning, but at least a couple of us are pretty damned reclusive, and really don't want to meet everyone else. I'm doing my very best to synthesize what I've heard there to share with you, here.