One listen to Jeremy Steding’s new album I Keep On Livin’, But I Don’t Learn and you’re hooked. The music captures the spirit of the South. You can easily imagine Jeremy Steding’s voice belting out songs at a bivouac by the fireside during the civil war. The music is timeless. He may be a reincarnate.
Lucky for us though, he is here today, and accompanied by modern instruments. Most impressively the lead guitar which sings a beautifully distorted sound that is very original. The closest I can think of is X out of Los Angeles. That is how unique it is. It brings a gritty edge to the music. The band seems to have an easy time changing up tempos and traveling through styles – from modern honky-tonk sounds in “I Keep On Living, But I Don’t Learn”, the title track – to the 1800’s in “Five Aprils”, a Civil War era song or on to the acoustic rendition of “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”, which possess a haunting sound and is accompanied by a female back-up voice that even sounds antique – it’s beautiful.
My favorite song is “The Old Man On the Bridge”, which is worded like an excerpt from the great American novelist Louis L’ Amour and is a fine example of how Jeremy Steding can take you back in time. The song begins “The sky was red and violet, and the wind was calm and quiet, and the moon was rising and the song was flying, where the water grants the sky and his black hat had three corners, standing on the bridge on Congress in a long black coat, with a long gray beard and a love to song, to sing—Life comes with no guarantees it’s just nice to know I lived before I die.”
The modern subjects receive their attention too. “Sometimes, You Need a Hurricane” relates how preparing for a hurricane can make a sensitive man become aware that he is his taking his woman for granted. “Sometimes You Need a Hurricane” is authentic honky-tonk with nitty-gritty sounds and knee slapping riffs. It’s so good that you might feel like you are actually in a honky-tonk. If you close your eyes and imagine, you may smell the stale beer, burnt cigarettes, popcorn and feel the whiskey rise up from your gut.
A lot of imagination can be noted in the lyrics and the music is awesome. Not the usual break up songs here. It’s very sophisticated. It’s hard to classify, if you like to classify, a lot of honky-tonk and southern country, a little blue grass, a smidgeon of folk, a lot of heart and soul.
I rate this album with an emphatic 9 out of 10.
Goes good with: Johnny Cash and Hank III