Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jeremiah Freed

Good Sunday evening my fellow indie music lovers! I trust that your weekend has been full of health, happiness and indie tunes... just as it should be!

I'm glad you've checked in tonight because we're going to take a trip back in time to 2002. I hope that the band name in the title will be somewhat familiar to some of you.

Jeremiah Freed was a five piece band from York, Maine, USA. Formed during their sophomore year in high school, the band, made up of Joseph Smith, vocals; Kerry Ryan, drums; Nick Goodale, guitar; Jake Roche, guitar and Matt Cosby, bass, signed a major record label deal with Republic/Universal Records not long after graduating high school together in 2000. They released their debut self-titled album, Jeremiah Freed, on March 26, 2002, and immediately began burning up the alternative rock scene with their debut single Again.

I remember when this band first hit the scene. I was living in Dallas at the time and Again was on heavy rotation on the local alt/rock station. I couldn't find this cd fast enough after the first time I heard it. I remembered thinking, "Damn, this band really has that 'it' factor going for them." I was sure this band was going to be around for a while.

Fast forward now to 2011. I've all but given up on mainstream radio and have already embarked on my journey of indie music discovery. I run across this local band who, regular readers of this blog will recognize as my all-time favorite band, Lit on the Flash. Over the course of the next year and half, I follow this band all over Maine and New Hampshire. In the process, I become good friends with... you guessed it, two members (Jake and Kerry) of Jeremiah Freed! Talk about a small world, huh? It was one night after a LOTF show in Dover, New Hampshire that front-man Jake Roche first told me the story of Jeremiah Freed's rise and fall in the music industry. Long story short, it turns out the contract Jeremiah Freed signed with Republic/Universal was a move the label made to keep them from going head-to-head on the mainstream charts with another alt/rock band out of Mississippi (who coincidentally are still making the rounds on your radio... I won't name them here, but you might be able to put two and two together to figure out who they are) that they had also just signed and began promoting. The label effectively shelved Jeremiah Freed to the point that their future success on mainstream radio was kaboshed!

Suffice it to say, hearing this story only fueled my passion for the indie artists that I'd come to know and love. That's where the foundation for what this blog would become to be was first laid (thanks Mo for the nudge to become a blogger!).

So the other day, I got an email from Jake that contained a link to an archive of a show Jeremiah Freed played in Portland, Maine at the WCYY Holiday Bizarre in December of 2002. This was right after the band was let out of their contract with Republic/Universal. Not long before this show took place, the band released a 5-song EP titled Times Don't Change (which is what I'm rocking to as I type these words). While I never got the chance to see them live, this recording is a pretty good example of how big this band was at the time. The crowd for this show was amped and they rocked the hell out of the State Theater because of it. Track 7 on the playlist, Impromptu Jam, was exactly that. The band had an impromptu jam session because Nick Goodale's amp caught fire after they ripped through Again! Luckily, he had a spare head to swap out on the amp, so the jam filled the time quite nicely!

The band carried on and released one more album independently, Slowburn, which in my opinion, was their best release. It's hard to come by a finer example of blues/rock anywhere. It wasn't long after that the band went their separate ways and the rest of their stories are written in indie lore.

Download music by Jeremiah Freed on Amazon 

Download music by Jeremiah Freed on iTunes 

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