This New Orleans artist gets inspired by his surroundings from Gentilly to Jackson Square to Lower Decatur to Down the Bayou to The River Bend to The End of the World
From bad decisions to high heeled women to observations of life: “If you get funk in your system, it touches everything. If you got a good song, it’s gonna get on that too—it’s always about the song,” he says.
“As the day begins to fade, and the horns begin to sound
Street Poet makes her station on the busy sidewalk ground
She composes rhyming couplets on her typewriter with ease
The phrases seem to fly to her like birds between the trees” – Street Poet
From New Orleans comes singer-songwriter-guitarist Jeremy Joyce recalling the vintage sounds of jazz, funk, blues, and standard pop, with Street Poet out on May 20. The album was produced by Grammy-nominated Mike Harvey (Hot 8 Brass Band, The Wild Magnolias, Samantha Fish) over at his NOLA Recording Studio. The two captured the various sounds of the Crescent City that have seeped into his blood since moving there eight years ago. He will be hosting a Late-Night Jazz Fest Show during the last weekend of JazzFest on 5/8 at Carnaval Lounge starting at 8 PM. A formal cd release show is still in the works.
“What makes New Orleans great is you can break all the musical rules,” says Jeremy. “No one looks at you sideways if you are writing out of four or five different traditions,” he says. Indeed, one glance at the songs sung or written by Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, and Dr. John provides ready evidence of the Crescent City’s long obsession with mixing musical traditions. Players on the album are a mix of local musicians from street to seasoned session players, along with guests Scott Graves (Samantha Fish) and Ghalia Volt (Ruf Records). Special horn arrangements from Alex Geddes from Durand Jones give it that New Orleans authenticity.
“Follow the river down to the side of town where the night people go to meet
Down on Decatur, where late gets later, and the sidewalk sticks to your feet
Drugs in your hand, a one-night stand, you got a reason to stay awake
Ain’t no heart that likes to play in the dark that doesn’t know how to break” – Lower Decatur Blues
Jeremy’s masterful guitar work and almost mischievous singing start with “Street Poet,” which continues with softer songs like “What Love Used To Be” of love, heartbreak, and reflection. His more prevalent funk-leaning sound is simultaneously vintage and timeless, prompting dancing up and down Frenchmen Street. He offers a glimpse of the songwriter’s inner romantic and philosopher “Love Changes.” And after the night is over and the new day is dawning, Jeremy addresses the city’s ongoing social issues in the song, “Times Like These.” He states, “that these times must change, and so we must change, to see each other as fundamentally equal and draw back the veil of individualistic isolation due to capitalism.”
“I’ve seen people in the streets with blood on their face
A punk in the heat laid his body to waste
A mother making groceries on a roll of dimes
Wonder how she’s gonna pay the bills this time” – Times Like These
Joyce is chill on the outside but complex from the inside, which makes him the perfect street musician and a Bourbon Street band leader at the same time. He’s seen a lot from those perspectives, whether it’s from the stage or the bike taxi, fanning the flames of his lyrics and melodies. Every day Jeremy has dealt with drugs, guns, drunks, and tourists coming to town to let their hair down in the City of New Orleans. A city whose spirit dances between the shadows and the light revealing her religion just around a darkened corner or on the banks of Bayou St John after Midnight. “Written specifically to play late-night Frenchmen Street gigs and encourage the audience to sing along, “All Night All Night” is all about a backbeat and a good time,” states Joyce about the song.
Jeremy hails from Philadelphia, PA, and made some pit stops along the way – New York City – Texas – St. Louis, MO before landing in NOLA to be a musician full time. Self-taught, he’s explored genres like rock, country, jazz, rockabilly, and more as he created his own sound, solid and expressive. From punk to indie rock to almost folk music, he’s been very creative and prolific, releasing two albums, two EPs, several singles. He has played some of the city’s biggest festivals – French Quarter, Cigar Box, and the New Orleans Film Fest Music Initiative. Last year he released his single, “Come Back to New Orleans (Celebrate the Mardi Gras),” for Mardi Gras when most of the celebrations were sidelined due to the Coronavirus pandemic. OffBeat Magazine chose the stand-out song as an anthem of sorts to give everyone hope for the future. Since moving, Jeremy formed bands, developed a stage persona, done solo work, and collaborated with others in The Crescent City to obtain a substantial life as a full-time musician fulfilling the aspirations handed down to him from his actor-father.
Life for Jeremy has been a big adventure between life-changing decisions and losses, living on the edge, and always hanging out with those on the fringe. Somehow, he’s always found his way back to the streets where the word is – watch your step or get in step.