When I first met Jeremy dePrisco, I found that at nineteen years of age, he was already a prolific songwriter. His songs were earthy and honest. They had a raw kind of “live” and “in your face” quality about them. Keep the earthiness and honesty and add a lot of refinement as a musician and songsmith and that is the Jeremy of today.
Many songwriters get into the same old habit and eventually songs begin to sound the same. You won’t find that here. Jeremy’s musical journey has encompassed the globe. He has drawn musical elements from folk, rock, Eastern European ethnic music, and musical intricacies of the Far East, weaving them together to tantalize your musical palette.
Catch the Squirrel, Jeremy’s latest collection, is a metaphor. The squirrel is the hunted and Jeremy, the songwriter and musical performer, is the hunter. The hunt is the artist’s path and where his prey leads him is not in full view. As Jeremy explained it, the squirrel will scamper about and jump from place to place. The pursuit can lead you almost anywhere. Therefore, it is not the catching of the squirrel that matters, it is the chase.
Catch the Squirrel begins with “Rusty Hearse” and is followed by “On the Edge”.
Both songs tell a story of someone standing still, looking for more, wanting to search for whatever it is that is missing, and though something is lacking and they are “ready to leave for the shore” they have not taken the leap.
“Once In A While” …waiting for the judgment… this song picks up where the first two leave off. “Going Down to Smyrna” is a song that mixes escape from the present confinement while, outside, the world is passing quickly by.
“Satyananda” and “A Fairytale” are both hinting at hidden truth. They are both perfectly placed within the context of this music collection. They are followed by “Cold, Cold Night” by San Francisco songwriter Dan Cantrell and the original “Something is in This House”. Again, these two songs give the listener the sense that there are things of the past hanging over them… experiences have left an impression…. spectral images, memories, shadows all about.
“Jockey Full of Bourbon”, by Tom Waits, reminds me of those great old pirate stories. Treasure Island and Long John Silver come to mind. You get the feeling that whatever the person is going through at the time, they fear winding up in Davey Jones’ locker. The song is a metaphor about having to pay the piper.
“Whoa Back Buck”, a dusty Leadbelly song, and the original “Shotgun Shack” sound like Appalachian Blues with a little Bonnie & Clyde in the mix. Then, the collection turns to “Black & White” addressing obligations and a positive future. It wraps up a collection of tunes that take you through the trials and tests of life, judgment, lessons learned, false perceptions, realizations, and finally points to a brighter future.
If you could sum up the entire collection in one simple sentence, I suppose it would be that we shape our destiny. How we see things and what we allow ourselves to learn from our experiences can cut like a double-edged sword. In the end, though, life is not about destination, it is about the journey. It is a truly Eastern Philosophy.
Jeremy dePrisco is walking that path as a musician, an artist, a songwriter. He has goals, but, he is open to wherever the journey will take him.
If you are looking for things to ponder, you’ll find a lot of it here. Catch the Squirrel, if you can.
Mickey Maguire – March 2007