Michele Dominguez Greene is probably best known for her Emmy-nominated role as Abby Perkins on NBC’s LA.Law. She appears in the upcoming independent film The Legend of Lucy Keyes and on the popular CBS series The Unit. Greene also released her first album Ojo De Tiburon in 2001 and also contributed two recent CD compilations, Spain In My Heart: Songs of the Spanish Civil War and the Grammy-nominated Seeds: The Songs of Pete Seeger. I recently had a chance to talk with Michele Dominguez Greene about her new album Luna Roja, her novel Chasing the Jaguar, charity work and the trick of balancing three busy careers.
Who are your musical influences?
I grew up heavily influenced by the acoustic trios. My mother was a member of a trio with her three sisters. In Latin music I like artists such as Sylvio Rodriquez who do that sort of acoustic based socio-political music. On the North American side, I grew up listening to hillbilly music like Johnny Cash, the Carter family even a bit of Willie Nelson; clean, not terribly complicated melodies. It’s not the kind of country you hear on the radio, but rather what we call Americana. I like to set that over a traditional Latin groove.
What made you decide to cover Bruce Springsteen’s “Across the Border?”
We didn’t realize that immigration would become such a hot button issue. I wanted to do a cover and I wanted to do a Springsteen cover, because I’m such a big fan of his. I love everything on The Ghost of Tom Joad. He’s such an incredible songwriter. He does such definitive versions of his songs, if you're going to do something you can’t do something like him. The song adapts itself really well to the traditional six eight groove.
You’re embarking on a year-long tour?
We’re not going out solidly. We’re just going out to areas where we have a connection to the community. Part of audience is a traditional folk audience, part of our audience is Spanish speaking; part of our audience is bilingual. A lot of the album deals with issues that are going on now, so it’s important to get it out there. We’ll be going to places like Texas, Chicago and Arizona. We are in the process of setting up dates now.