A new solo album from Jeremy Stephens features a host of Bluegrass greats.
Rebel Records has announced Jeremy Stephens’ second solo release with the label, How I Hear It. This album provides not only an exciting auditory experience, it delivers a musical education as well. One would expect no less from an artist who is not only a world-class musician, but also a musical historian and scholar.
Jeremy Stephens, whom bluegrass audiences will recognise through his work with High Fidelity in addition to other high profile artists including Jesse McReynolds and The Chuck Wagon Gang, began his musical journey at the age of five. Growing up in southside Virginia, he was exposed to the rich musical culture and history of the region. This exposure formed a love and passion for the bluegrass, old-time, and related music which he heard.
I’ve been greatly blessed to have had some really special mentors in my life who have shaped who I am and the music that I play – Jeremy Stephens.
In this album Jeremy’s demonstrates his love and commitment to his craft. Whether it is a blistering banjo instrumental such as Don Reno’s Sockeye, a cross-picking mandolin showcase like Lady Hamilton, or the tasteful guitar stylings in You’ll Be Lonesome Too, Stephens’ admirable versatility and mastery of each instrument are on full display.
Along with his instrumental prowess, Stephens’ vocal chops are front and center. I’m Lonesome” is a solo feature which demonstrates his smooth lead vocals. Numbers such as Since Wedding Bells Have Rung and Beautiful Blue Eyes show how he is equally comfortable singing tenor. Coincidentally, both of these cuts have guest lead vocalists to add nostalgia to the performances. Since Wedding Bells Have Rung features Ronnie Reno singing lead, 55 years after he sang harmony with his father Don Reno on the song in 1966. Beautiful Blue Eyes was recorded by Red Allen in the 1960s, and Jeremy recruited Danny Davis, a singer whose voice is as close to Red Allen’s as you’ll ever hear, to handle the lead vocals on this song.
Jeremy Stephens’ talents stand out on How I Hear It, and the band he has assembled for this remarkable album is top-notch. Among these is dynamite fiddler Corrina Rose Logston, Jeremy’s wife and fellow bandmate in High Fidelity, who plays fiddle and guitar on the album and sings some beautiful duets with Jeremy. On guitar is David Grier, one of the most influential guitarists of his generation. In-demand session musician and multiple IBMA award winner Mike Bub handles the bass duties on almost the entire album. Hunter Berry, long-time fiddler for Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, contributes his strong Benny Martin influence to this recording. Rounding out the album is audio engineer Brad Benge, who recorded, mixed, and mastered the project and plays bass on one song.
Twenty years have passed since my first solo project, Scarlet Banjo. In that time, I’ve grown considerably as a musician and singer, and I felt it was time to make another solo album as a picture of where I am today in my musical journey – Jeremy Stephens.
One may hear tunes, songs, or arrangements he or she has never heard before. That’s all part of the education; Jeremy Stephens specialises in bringing obscure material to life. No doubt, the listener will be happy with how Stephens hears (and performs) the music that molded him. Sit back and take notes while How I Hear It plays through the speakers. Class is in session.
Click here to stream or purchase How I Hear It on your platform of choice.