Rootsy Southern gospel artist Buddy Greene brings a wide variety of traditional American influences to his music, from country and bluegrass to folk and blues. In addition to his prowess as a songwriter and singer, Greene's virtuosity on the harmonica has made him an in-demand session guest for quite a few fellow Southern gospel practitioners. Greene grew up in Macon, GA, and began his musical training by learning folk songs on the ukulele; he soon graduated to guitar and immersed himself in popular-music mainstays like Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Motown, which gave way to an intense interest in the deeper roots of that music. Greene's first recordings were cassette-only releases devoted mostly to his harmonica playing; Praise You Lord and Praise Harmonica were later compiled on CD as So Far. But Greene truly hit his stride with the 1990 album Sojourner's Song, which won the 1991 Dove Award (the gospel equivalent of the Grammys) for Best Country Album. In 1992, Greene's songwriting collaboration with Mark Lowry, "Mary, Did You Know?," earned him another Dove nomination and has since become something of a modern-day Christmas standard, with recordings by Kenny Rogers, Kathy Mattea, Christopher Parkening, and the Gaither Vocal Band, among others. Also that year, Greene released the concert recording Buddy Greene and Friends -- Live!, which captured his good-humored, easygoing stage show. The following year, Greene hit the road with speaker/author Steve Brown for a series of seminars which included Greene's musical meditations on God's grace; this format resulted in the 1994 record of their work Grace for the Moment. Greene returned to the studio in 1995 for the proper follow-up to Sojourner's Song; Minstrel of the Lord featured heavy musical input from dobro player Jerry Douglas and fully captured Greene's interest in a variety of American roots styles. The follow-up, 1996's Slice of Life, continued in much the same style and was released concurrently with a video of the same title. Among Greene's other projects of the '90s was Simple Praise, a soothing, reverent album of traditional hymns performed on Greene's trademark harmonica. Greene rang in the new millennium with an album of all-new material, 2000's Sinners and Saints. ~ Steve Huey
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