Jeremy Joyce – Street Poet
This artist from New Orleans is inspired by his surroundings – how refreshing. What Joyce does is mix traditions into his repertoire. A staple of legendary artists such as Dr. John (“All Night, All Night” quite cool), Aaron Neville & Allen Toussaint. And you’ll hear it.
Jeremy Joyce (guitar/vocals) covers the standards of heartbreak, reflection, social issues & vintage music with an edge but never heavy-handed. I don’t totally agree with everything Joyce adheres to, but the showcase is solid, well-performed & recorded. Originally from Philadelphia, the expressive singer-songwriter has created a 10-cut, 37-minute CD Street Poet (Drops May 20–Independent).
Produced by Grammy-nominated Michael Harvey (violin/bass/string arrangements) the set begins with typical street-singer vocalizing. There’s plenty of soul, funk & rhythm that emanates from the songs but on “Street Poet,” it would’ve been nice if Joyce didn’t go for the novelty-oriented overabundance of lyrical rhymes. Joyce is not a novice. He has played many festivals & venues.
But the material surrounded by proficient performances requires a little more punch. The female choruses aren’t as dynamic as Bobby Rydell’s early 60s female support, but Joyce’s do add sufficient lift & color to these mainstream tunes.
Yes, they’re vibrant, catchy & radio-friendly but it’s usually the horns that steal the show or rather, enlighten it when they step forward. There’s a likeability to Jeremy Joyce’s musical ground cover. The most pertinent melodies apparently are the ones that are written more with an old-timey nostalgic tint. “We Could Linger Though the Raindrops Fall,” sounds like a great lost Hoagy Carmichael.
There are some awkward vocal moments that can be forgiven since Joyce does personalize the tune that adds character. A nice walk down memory lane. The piano & sax are excellent. Breezy, atmospheric.
“What Love Used To Be,” & “Lower Decatur Blue” are both wonderful clever tunes. Joyce’s voice is at times a challenge, but he does have a fortifying delivery. “Times Like This” is Joyce at his best & Emily Robertson’s backup vocal is superb, haunting & powerful. A stunning song as exciting as Simple Minds’ “Alive & Kicking,” with chilling backing vocalist Robin Clark.
“High Heel Blues,” would have even more appeal if it had sharper intonation & phrasing. The song’s good nonetheless. Now, “Be Bad To Me Baby,” is where Joyce shines again. This has Ray Charles & Jackie Wilson-soul. Exuberant guitar & rhythm that’s just shy of sizzle. The sax has that tonal quality of the Rockin’ Rebels’ memorable “Wild Weekend.”
Musicians local & seasoned are — Ghalia Volt (BG Vocals), Alex Geddes (Sax & Horn arrangements), Jonathan Bauer (Trumpet), Chip Wilson (Slide Guitar), Daniel Meinecke & Anuraag Pendyal (keys), Rose Cangelosi & Scott Graves (drums), Sam Albright & Robert Kling (bass).
Photo by Daniel Grey. The CD is available @ https://www.jeremyjoyce.net/