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JEREMY STEPHENS - HOW I HEAR IT (REB-1877), 2021
Jeremy Stephens: Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Autoharp on track 14, Lead & Harmony Vocals
Corrina Rose Logston: Fiddle, Guitar on track 6, Harmony Vocals
Hunter Berry: Fiddle
Mike Bub: Bass
David Grier: Guitar
Brand Benge: Bass on track 12
Paul Brewster: Lead Vocal on track 3
Ronnie Reno: Mandolin, Lead Vocal on track 5
Danny Davis: Guitar, Lead Vocal on track 12
Produced by Corrina Rose Logston and Jeremy Stephens
Recorded and mastered by Brad Benge at Tunesmith Studio, Goodlettsville, TN
Mixed by Brad Benge, Corrina Rose Logston and Jeremy Stephens
High Fidelity frontman Jeremy Stephens briefly steps away from a band setting to present How I Hear It
, his second solo release for Rebel Records. 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.
Stephens – whom in addition to his role with High Fidelity has performed alongside 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,” says Stephens. “How I Hear It is the music I love; played and sung the way I hear it.”
The listener of this album reaps the benefit of Jeremy Stephens’ love and commitment to his craft. Whether it is a blistering banjo instrumental such as “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 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 Stephens has assembled for this remarkable album is excellent. Among them is dynamite fiddler Corrina Rose Logston. Corrina plays fiddle and guitar on the album, and also sings some beautiful duets with Jeremy. Corrina is Jeremy's wife as well as band mate in High Fidelity. The two have etched their place in bluegrass music as one of the top vocal duets on the scene. On guitar is David Grier, one of the most influential guitarists of his generation. Top bass player and in-demand session musician 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 the recording.
“Twenty years have passed since my first solo project, Scarlet Banjo
. In that time I have 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,” says Stephens. One may hear tunes, songs, or arrangements he or she has never heard before. That is all part of the education; Jeremy Stephens specializes 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!