A native of Florida, Jeremy Steding was raised on the sounds of Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Dylan, and Prine. While attending the University of Florida, Steding was turned onto Cory Morrow and Robert Earl Keen and eventually moved to Texas spending a decade there, becoming a staple in the Texas/Red Dirt scene. In June '16, Steding relocated to Nashville where he has created his latest album, Odessa (which includes the Top 20 single, “Late Night Love Song”). Prior to heading out on tour, Steding kindly checked in to talk about the release, the stories behind the songs, and more.
With Odessa being your fifth record, did you find yourself doing anything differently this time around?
A little bit. I worked with the same producers, Chris Gill and Gavin Shea [Handmade Productions], but since we moved to Nashville in mid-2016, we recorded the record here - and because of that I was able to get into the studio and have more of a hands-on role with things like mixing and everything else which was really cool.
Were the songs for the album all written after you moved to Nashville or were some ones you had in your pocket?
It’s been three years since my last record and in the interim, I probably wrote sixty songs. Eight of the songs on the record are brand new and the others are ones that stuck with me and resonated with people when they heard them live. Those two songs “Get The Hell Off This Rig” and “Odessa” which were songs I had written for the Acoustic Saloon, were written before the move, three more were written soon after, and the final three were written for the album after the Indiegogo was done. I wrote them all myself except for "If It Takes A Lifetime" which I wrote with my good friend, Mike Ethan Messick.
Even though you moved to Nashville, there is a lot of Texas in this record. You mentioned the title track and the closer. Why did you choose to bookend the album with those songs?
For sure. I definitely consider it a Texas Country record as opposed to any type of mainstream country record and by having those songs as bookends, the album begins and ends with a West Texas theme. There’s really no place anywhere else like West Texas – it’s inspiring and/or depressing - and I took a lot of what I’ve seen from that culture and put it in the album.
I chose "Odessa" as the starter because I always like to just jump into an album with something up-tempo so the album comes out swinging and then falls into a groove from there. And I closed with “Get Me The Hell Off My Rig” because I wanted to leave it on an almost eerie note.
Not only is "Odessa" the opening track, it's also the title of the record. Why did you choose that track as the album title?
It was the first song I had written for the album, so I was tossing around titles with the word Odessa in them when my wife suggested simply calling it Odessa, which I really liked. And now, with the Odessa hashtag being used on social media to promote the album, I probably have the most Ukranian connections in Texas Country (laughing). Turns out, Odessa is the second largest city in the Ukraine and is probably what Odessa, Texas is named after.
That's pretty funny! The current single is “Feels So Good To Be Back Home,” which seems very personal. Can you tell the inspiration behind the song?
It’s one of the most personal, heartfelt songs I’ve ever written. I had the idea for the chorus in my head and finished it up when I was back touring in Texas after we moved to Nashville. I kept it really literal with the verses then re-wrote it to be about coming back home and the real self-within.
The musical landscape in Texas is so unique; it's something you highlight in “I Need A Texas Song.”
There’s a cool honky-tonk scene in Nashville, but it’s different from Texas. You don’t hear Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others like them outside of Texas that often, so wrote this song with an old Texas dance hall vibe and a Johnny Bush style rhythm. Sometimes you just need a good Texas honky-tonk song!
Besides Texas, where will you and your band, The Rebellion, tour to support the album? Do you play in Nashville?
Just a little bit. I’ve played some honky-tonk nights and songwriter showcases, but the live scene here, as opposed to Texas, is mostly cover based. To support this album, we’ll be in Texas, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado and then we’ll do a Southern run which will include Florida and Georgia. And I would love to go to Europe again. We were there in 2012 and it was fantastic. The people were super into the music, attentive and appreciative.
Sounds busy! Is there anything you want to do this year that would be a first for you?
The goal is to release the album on vinyl. I’d like to write two more songs, put them on a vinyl only edition and release it in the Fall. Vinyl is great because it’s something to listen to, but also gives a real piece of memorabilia to hold onto.
Finally, is there any artist that you’re listening to and recommend people check out?
Oh, tons and tons! Statesboro Revue’s latest is fantastic, my friend John Baumann is a great songwriter and both Shane Smith and the Saints and Mike and the Moonpies are great!
For more information visit his official website
Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify
Purchase Odessa HERE