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…
(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…
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…
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:
And the Boys From Oklahoma…