The Essence of RockBy Andrew Selbst
Released March 26, 2002
Jeremiah Freed’s self-titled major label debut is a nothing less than a celebration of all things rock. From melodically rich intros to emotional lyrics and singing, it has everything that a fan of the genre could ask for. The album exhibits influences from all over the rock spectrum, including many of the classic greats, such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Aerosmith, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Many of the songs are quite different from each other, roaming in opposite directions, yet unified by the drive and emotion behind the entire album.
The band consists of five guys, all around twenty years old, all having graduated from the same high school in June, 2000. They came together in their sophomore year of high school to worked toward careers as musicians. Their frontman is Joe Smith, on vocals, and behind him are Nick Goodale on lead guitar, Jake Roche on rhythm, Matt Cosby on bass, and Kerry Ryan on drums. Smith and Goodale grew up together, and met each of the others in school, joining together to form Jeremiah Freed.
The relationship between Smith and Goodale comes through in their music. Before the band was formed, it was just the two of them singing and playing guitar. It’s easy to imagine them writing songs that had to sound good without drums or bass, and working to make the voice and guitar complement each other fully. While the other three instruments put everything together, most of the songs are centered around a powerful combination of the lead guitar and vocals that come out of a lifelong friendship.
A fluid style of guitar dominates the album, with many of the songs centered around intricate melodic riffs with an occasional chord thrown into the mix. Several songs, including one of the singles, “Again,” begin with full guitar intros, which are often referred to again in the song. These intros are pleasant, skillfully played, and illustrative of the breadth of the band’s influences. In “Wait For Me,” between the straightforward drumbeat and opening guitar sound, the song could easily have continued into something on a John Mellencamp album. However, “Eyes, Life, Change” contrasts starkly with “Wait for Me” with an opening that must have been inspired by “Foxy Lady.”
Nirvana’s intention was to take music back to the sixties, or more specifically, to the Beatles, while bringing a new feel to it. Jeremiah Freed managed to accomplish a similar goal very well. While there is no question that their album is new rock, and distinctly their own, it is easy to tell that a great deal of their influences come from the era of classic rock. They bring a new feel to all of the old classics, appealing to rock lovers of different generations.