How can you categorize Jeremiah? Is he a singer-songwriter, period? Are his songs waiting for a full band? Is he a finger-picker begging for an electric guitar?
Try all of the above, and add a line saying he’s also a great singer. He goes from sock-knocking primal scream to soul-caressing whisper in a second, and even though not every single song is gold, the ones that are have “hit” written all over them. When he performs, his ease and conviction are enough to make you fall for him.
His six-song set at the Enchilada Warehouse on Friday was part of the “Egg On” benefit for local bassist Matthew Shelton, who had a motorcycle accident on New Year’s Day and is now miraculously recovering from a serious brain injury in Austin (See “Recovery quest,” February 9, 2011). (Hang in there, Matt.)
Too bad some people still confuse “intimacy” with a license to be a drunk ass and talk on one side of the room, oblivious to the fact that perhaps San Antonio’s best young singer-songwriter is busting his butt onstage. At least, a sing-along chorus of about a dozen new Jeremiah fans made up for the disrespectful bunch of idiots.
I’ve been around for a while, and I’ve never seen such a level of communion between public and performer for someone with such a short career (Jeremiah comes from bands Euthanasia and Euterpe, but his real career starts now). His songs can be traditional singer-songwriter folk, alternative rock, or avant-garde explorations with long instrumental passages. He can strum forcefully or finger-pick something that’s not blues, but has a blues feel, and at his best (the near-perfect “Waterwoman”) his usually existential lyrics turn to romantic simplicity (“You make me want to move and shake the earth/you make me want to swallow the universe/you’re the only water to quench my thirst/so hold me down so I don’t go and get you now”).
He closed his set by going Native American with the haunting “The Indian song,” for which he used his disarming smile to finally ask “for a moment of silence.” Previously, he had played a part of an unfinished song with a chorus of “All I want to do is what I want to do.” All I can say is: finish that one and all the others you didn’t play, man. We want to hear more.