Artist Q&A: Jeremiah Tall

Photo credit: Jessica Pohl

Roots rocker Jeremiah Tall will come to Bethlehem next Friday, April 28 as part of the 2017 Southside Arts & Music Festival, presented by ArtsQuest. The Bucks County native will perform at 7 p.m. at the Touchstone Theatre, and will include selections from his 2015 release, “Where the Lore Began.”

Jeremiah took some time out to answer our questions. Check it out below, and don’t forget to see him perform next Friday!

The first thing I need to know is about the suitcase. How did you come up with the idea to hand-paint it and then use it as a kickdrum?
The idea of using a suitcase instead of a standard kick drum was proposed to me by a friend. I was looking for a way to save space while traveling. All of my hardware goes inside the suitcase during travel. Super convenient. My mom painted it for me to give it that folk art feel.

What’s the significance of the painting? Who does it represent?
I wanted the suitcase to become a piece of folk art. Kind of a tribute to a time in America when things were hand made and on of a kind. I picked John Wayne because he symbolizes that time and is an American icon.

So much of your lyrical content is inspired by the stories you were told in your youth. How do you feel the songs you write do these stories justice?
That’s hard for me to say. In my heart, I feel good about it. But, once I put them out there into the world for others to hear, it became up to the listener. Stories and songs affect everyone differently. If the song is able to stir up a little emotion then, to me, I did good by the story.

Of course, like most artists, your own life’s journey surely informs the content of your music. What about everyday life inspires you to write?
I’d have to say traveling has shaped a lot of my new songs. Other than that, right now and in the past, I think my conscience. My inner voice. The two little mes that sit upon my shoulders watching over my decisions.

In 2015, you released your most recent full-length effort, “Where the Lore Began.” For those who are unfamiliar, what can listeners expect?
To be honest, I hope they don’t go into it with a set expectation. A free mind and headphones is what I’d recommend. But as to give something, you can count on heavy train like strumming chugging along to a thumping kick drum with a good story.

It’s been a little while since the album came out. When can we expect a follow-up? 
I think those who work with me would like me to say “soon.” It’s hard to say. I have been recording for a while now. I’m super happy with the new stuff and can’t wait to share it.

What would you say is different about you musically, from “Where the Lore Began” to the material you’re working on now?
The biggest thing for me that is different isn’t necessarily style, but that I went into this album with nothing. No songs or concept thought up. I’m coming off of a lot of touring and wasn’t writing at the time. So, now it is way different to know that I need to put out a new album, but have to start with a clean slate. It feels more present.

On Friday, April 28, you’ll be performing at South Bethlehem’s Touchstone Theatre as part of the Southside Arts & Music Festival, presented by ArtsQuest. What do you have planned for the folks in attendance that night?
Well, I hope you will come find out in person. As far as what can you expect from a live me? Energy, rhythm, motion, and a little piece of my heart.

You have a bunch of other dates coming up around the region, as well. Where can we go online to learn the latest?
The best way to find me is at jeremiahtall.com and sign up for the mailing list. Other than that, social media. I’m there too!

Check out the video for Jeremiah’s song, “Bleed,” below.

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