JEREMY STEDING – MY OWN AMERICAN DREAM

cover

You may have seen me cover Jeremy Steding a couple of times in the past. Well he just released a new album and not a lot has changed. What I mean is that he’s remained true to the sound that drew me to him in the first place. That means that My Own American Dream is an album that’s pure country and western without being apologetic about it. While I love his lyrics, I think his real strength is that he loves the music he’s making. He doesn’t waver from that traditional old school, honky tonk sound. Whether it’s a song like “Stay” making you want to put your arms around your girl and watch the sun come up or a track like “Lyin'” making you want to knock back a whiskey in effigy to a certain ex it’s all country from start to finish.

Jeremy is really proud of this album and it’s easy to see why. The lyrics and vocals are outstanding. There’s something about the lilt to his voice along with the twang in the music that brings them together to be more than the sum of their parts. Just listening to this album you can tell that he loves what he’s doing and that’s even more obvious when you see him play live. In person Jeremy has a fresh faced optimism that belies having spent more than five years trying to make it in the music industry. His smile is disarming and the twinkle in his eye when sings will get the most cynical music fan to sit up and listen.

One of the reasons I love Jeremy’s music is because it reminds of the music I grew up on. Most of the new music I listen to is pretty raw these days and leans towards a different side of life but albums like My Own American Dream serve to remind me, and I hope you as well, that good clean country still exists and that it’s still a damn good ride and sometimes, like this one, even Essential Listening.

Four Hour Gig
Stay
Oh Darlin’

Visit Jeremy’s official site, keep up with him on Facebook, buy My Own American Dream and the rest of his albums on iTunes

JEREMY STEDING – I KEEP ON LIVIN' BUT I DON'T LEARN

You all know I am fan of this kid out of Austin by way of Florida. I covered his last album, multiple live shows, and even got an exclusive preview of a track off this album. I Keep On Livin’ But I Don’t Learn is Jeremy’s third album and track for track it’s his best yet. While being a little slower than the previous two albums it’s still straight up honky tonk. While a lot of the Red Dirt scene is sounding and acting more like frat rock than anything else Jeremy is keeping it honest and writing real country music. I know I have been getting in some digs at the scene recently but albums like this only highlight how bad the rest of what’s coming out is these days. I for one am glad there are some folks, like Jeremy, left who care about the music and are doing something about it.

Jeremy can apparently write and sing about anything he sets his mind to. This one has love songs, songs to make you cry, and even a cover song but the one thing they all have in common is that they make you want to drive until you find some place with some sawdust on the floor and surly bartender and knock back some whiskey. What surprised me about this album is how damn sad the sad songs are. You see I know this kid can write fun and happy songs but compared to his last two albums he has found a place that’s pretty damn dark. His sad songs have gone from sentimental to downright hopeless and as far as I am concerned that’s a damn good thing. In fact the only thing that’s upsetting about this album is trying to pick only three tracks to preview with this post. Suffice it to say that this Essential Listening and when it drops on the 28th you should pick it up immediately. I have no doubts this one will end up in my top ten albums of the year because I am sucker for straight up real country music and that’s what this is.

Jeremy Steding – Arkansas Rain
Jeremy Steding – Paint The Town Red When They’re Blue
Jeremy Steding – Don’t Take Your Guns To Town

Jeremy Steding’s official site
Jeremy Steding on Facebook

MIKE KELLY – WAKE THE DEAD

Wake The Dead

This review should have been up weeks ago and I am a horrible human being for not having it posted yet! I saw Mike Kelly play with Jeremy Steding a few weeks back and he handed a copy of his new album, Wake The Dead, and I promised him I’d listen to it. Well I did and I loved it. It’s not what I saw on stage that night because Mike has a full band with him on the album but it’s a damn fine album nonetheless. Mike currently live in Austin but has lived all the country and it’s evident in his music (and his storytelling if you happen to catch him acoustic). He isn’t pure country like Jeremy but he fits right in on the Red Dirt Music scene.

I really like the honesty of the lyrics on this album. I think a lot of artists try to soften things at times but Mike really wrote from the gut on this one. Having recently almost died and still recovering, a little bit, from open heart surgery I can only imagine he had some tough issues on his mind while writing the songs for this one and some of that is evident. But the great thing even with all that going on he still wrote some barroom songs and even a kind of goofy love song. I am pretty appreciated this album even more because I knew the back story behind some of the songs. This guy will go a long way in the Red Dirt scene if he keeps us this kind of honesty and plays this kind of music and I’ll keep listening to him. I really hope y’all like this one because the dude is pretty damn cool and his music is pretty damn good. And I think he must’ve been stalking me right about the time I fired my first wife when he wrote “Two Kegs In The Swimming Pool”…

Mike Kelly – All I Wanna Do Is You
Mike Kelly – The Only Thing I Remember
Mike Kelly – Two Kegs In The Swimming Pool

Mike Kelly’s official website
Mike Kelly on MySpace

HONKY TONK REPORT: JEREMY STEDING AND MIKE KELLY @ THE ARMADILLO PALACE

For the last two weeks I have been six feet under at work. I mean I have been there between nine and eleven hours a day and not able to take lunch, save eating at my desk, much less find time to post about the cool shit I have found. In the middle of all this I got a text from Jeremy Steding that he was playing a free show at the The Armadillo Palace with Mike Kelly. As far as shows go it was an early show so I wrapped up what I could and bailed out of work with the knowledge that I would be playing catch up the next day but that my need to decompress was more important than not adding a few more inches to the hole I was already buried in. I was not wrong.

The show was just Jeremy and Mike trading acoustic songs which was just the sort of thing I needed. Mind you I didn’t know I needed it until Jeremy texted me a couple of hours before the show. Now you may remember my posts (album review and live show) on Jeremy from a while back and he didn’t disappoint. The boy is a ham on stage and obviously loves what he is doing. He played a few songs off his upcoming album and they proved everything I have said about him in the past. He is an amazing songwriter and his talents are only growing. I highly recommend dropping by his site, if you haven’t already, and availing yourself of his first two albums, which he offers for free. And I am not just saying that because he wouldn’t let me buy my own beer at the show!

Mike Kelly is a new face here on 9B and one I hope I get to write a lot more about. He has lived all over the US and is now one of Texas’ own. His songwriting is different from Jeremy’s but the differences made the show that much better. Mike writes about everything and I mean everything. From barroom ditties about the joys of all girls becoming pretty at 1:30 to songs about nearly dying written during his recent recovery from open heart surgery to love songs that only those of us who could drink for living, if it paid, will really understand. This kid runs the gambit and does it with style. My internet connection at home is, on a scale of one to ten for uploading, classified as SUCK so the videos I have of him belting out his tunes will have to wait until I can get them uploaded but suffice it to say this kid is the real deal. I will be reviewing his latest release very soon but I will give you a little preview here…

In closing this show, in a honky tonk only Texas could create, was a just what this cowboy needed to get through a couple of week of hell at work. I can’t thank these boys enough for inviting me out and, shockingly, putting me on their tab. These guys love their fans as much as they love playing their music and in the country music scene that’s something you don’t see that much anymore. I did talk Jeremy into recording a 9B exclusive after the show. Mike was going to but time ran short and the venue was playing their canned music pretty loud so we agreed I’d get an exclusive from him next time he was in town. I hope you enjoy!



Jeremy Steding’s official site (Both his album are available for free here)
Mike Kelly’s official site

THE ROCK REPORT: JEREMY STEDING AND THE BAND OF BASTARDS @ GOODE'S ARMADILLO PALACE – HOUSTON, TEXAS 12-03-09

Some days things just work together. While I was writing up the review of A Damn Good Ride I dropped by Jeremy Steding’s website to look for his bio and such and found out he was playing in town that night. I grabbed a phone number off the site, made a call, and set up some time with him before the show. As luck would have it and one thing leading to another I wasn’t as early as I wanted to be but since it was a Thursday night show there wasn’t an opening act and there was still plenty of time to meet The Band of Bastards and get to know them before the show. And a damn fine show it was…

Jeremy Steding
(In case you’re wondering that is a Jason Isbell shirt on the Eric.)

What I learned is a that Jeremy is originally from Florida and came west to Austin in 2007 with an unmastered, unreleased “Whiskey Songs and Prison Songs” to pursue music in the Red Dirt scene. Having been inspired by old Pat Green (before he went Nashville), Cory Morrow, Robert Earl Keen and the like he figure Austin was the place to be if he wanted to play his kind of music.
I know our gracious host would disagree, being a huge fan of the Florida music scene and rightfully so, but Jeremy made his trek and is now making his mark on Red Dirt Music. One of the highlights of the night was finding out that Jeremy is fan and friend of Pete and Larry from Truckstop Coffee. Those boys are perennial 9B favourites and it’s always nice to find other fans.

Jeremy is at a point in his career that he says many never make it past. He’s playing decent venues and getting decent turnouts but intimates it’s fairly easy to get stuck there for a good long while and some folks can’t handle what seems like being in a rut. He handles most of his own booking, all of his merch, all of the publicity pretty much managing himself and the Band of Bastards. He uses all of the standard methods today such as twitter, myspace, facebook, and so on to get the word out about his music and his shows all while giving away his recorded music on his website. He and the band have a sponorship from Budweiser and they are touring hard. He says he loves the work and doesn’t mind all the time it takes to self manage. I did ask him specifically about giving away the albums on the website and he explained that while they sell a good number of CDs at shows that he wanted more people to discover his music. He thinks that people don’t buy as many CDs as they used to because of worrying about the investment. What if the CD sucks? So he put both albums for free, gives out business cards everywhere he goes that tell people where to go to download it, has a donate button if you want to toss a couple bucks his way, and still sells just as many plastic shiny discs at shows. And it’s working. More and more people are hearing his music and coming to shows. And that’s where Jeremy Steding and the Band of Bastards really shine…

Jeremy Steding And let me tell you: These boys can tear up a stage. I liked the album and that’s pretty clear from my review but seeing them live is just damn good. It’s not as big a difference as Cory Branan’s live vs. his studio work but it is something that has to be seen to be believed. Jeremy is a showman for sure and he pulls in the audience without even trying. He’s still young so the show isn’t as polished as some of the old timers but whether it’s belting out his original songs are having a little fun with classic covers like You Never Call Be By My Name whilst claiming it was written by “…a friend of a friend of a friend of my dad’s” on Canadian bacon in eyeliner you can tell that Jeremy is doing what he loves and the Band of Bastards is having as much fun as he is. And when I say he gets the audience involved I mean the isn’t above calling out the drunk birthday girl to help out with The Boys From Oklahoma.

They're too damn skinny and way too long...
…they’re too damn skinny and way too long…

In closing you shouldn’t miss the chance to see this Florida boy turned Texan play a live show. With a band that cites influences ranging from Truckstop Coffee to Jason Isbell you certainly could do worse. And as far as the more country and western shows go I am not sure you could do better these days.

The Band of Bastards is:

  • Matt Winegardner – Drums
  • Eric Smith – Bass
  • Steve James – Lead Guitar

You can see the full gallery from the show over at romeosidvicious.com .

Here’s some tracks off of Jemery’s first album since I don’t have any live tracks (except the one from this album) from him just yet:

Jeremy Steding – Bonnie Blue
Jeremy Steding – Auburn
Jeremy Steding – The Day to Day, Today (Live)

And the Boys From Oklahoma…

Jason Boland – The Boys From Oklahoma

Jeremy Steding Official Site
Jeremy Steding on MySpace
Jeremy Steding on Facebook
Jeremy Steding on Twitter
Jeremy Steding on YouTube

JEREMY STEDING – A DAMN GOOD RIDE

A Damn Good Ride

I like free music and I think that’s a given for most folks here but the caveat is that music is not like sex or pizza. When music is bad it’s not still good whether it’s free or not. Jeremy Steding’s music is not bad. In fact it’s damn good and both his albums are available for free on his website. He’s pretty new to the Red Dirt scene. I discovered him listening to Radio Free Texas and was intrigued. So I dropped his website and was even impressed to find both of his albums available fro free. The best part is that the boy is good at what he does.

The title track of this Red Dirt Music album starts with a salute to The Old Crow Medicine show and has a zydeco groove that’ll make you want to swing your baby ’round the dance floor if you are so inclined. That’s not the only hat tip on the album. Let the Boys Drink Whiskey is a nod to the deep Irish roots in country music and the chorus is reminiscent, in spirit, of Cory Branan’s Sour Mash. Not afraid of showing his honky tonk roots The Sand Panther Medicine Show takes us back to a better time musically while the lyrics keep us right here today with all the ills modern life has to give and offers us a cure for our ills. Closing the album is a country ballad that could have followed Eddie Rabbit’s classic Drivin’ My Life Away on the radio so many years ago and let me assure you this a complete album all the way around.

Overall this is a solid country album that you might have missed is you weren’t looking for it. I would say get off your ass and buy it but since you can surf on over to his website and download it you have no excuse. So I’ll simply end this with a quote from my favorite song on the album and a nod to AIV’s home state…

Just let the band play dixie, let the boys drink whiskey, lay me in the ground and hoist the Bonnie Blue…

(The Bonnie Blue, for those that don’t know, flew over the short lived Republic of Florida and inspired the Burnet Flag which flew over the Republic of Texas.)

Jeremy Steding – A Damn Good Ride
Jeremy Steding – Let The Boys Drink Whiskey
Jeremy Steding – The Day Today