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Jeremy McComb didn’t exactly take the traditional route to becoming a country music artist. Oh, he grew up in honky tonks watching his dad perform, and becoming more comfortable in dive bars than school. And he definitely spent years singing, writing songs, and touring regionally with bands around the Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho border where he grew up. But as a teen, he also worked as a music director and afternoon drive DJ for KIX-96 in Spokane, Washington, developing a love for being on-air that he still holds to this day. It was while working at the radio station, in fact, that he met a talented young comedian who was coming through the area, and the two struck up a fast friendship. Jeremy knew the comedian, (known as Larry The Cable Guy), was going places – big places – and that friendship actually led to Jeremy’s next job - when Larry invited him to come on the road as his road manager.

Soon Jeremy was contributing a song to one of Larry’s movies and turning the head of Larry’s manager, J.P. Williams, who agreed to manage him and put him on the Blue Collar comedians’ label imprint on Warner Bros., Jack Records. When Jeremy’s album became mired in red tape at the label, Williams formed Parallel Records to release the project, “My Side Of Town.” The album is a diverse musical landscape, with emotions that run all over the map - from the awful pain of regret to the giddiness of vacation love. Also, McComb is proud to give a nod to his humble beginnings and the colorful characters of his hometown which helped shape the first two decades of his world.

“The way I grew up colors everything I do,” explains Jeremy. “It influences the songs I write, and the ones I record, and that’s why I named the album ‘My Side Of Town.’ It’s kind of like a portrait of blue collar America and a tiny town that nobody gives a sh*t about, and nobody really knows where it is, and it’s just like a million other places out there. And the funny thing is, all those kids who live in those tiny towns full of teenage angst are all singing the same songs, and going to parties, and listening to Marshall Tucker and the Steve Miller Band, and that’s kind of where this record was for me…describing Anytown, U.S.A. And I know there’s a lot of people who grew up like I did.”

Jeremy’s new single, “This Town Needs A Bar”

Though he’s come a long way from that small town, Jeremy still makes a point to get back as often as his tour schedule will allow him, and he heads straight for his favorite watering hole where he still plays every time he goes back. “I have a bar I’ve been drinking in since I was about 16 called the “Saddle Sore”, and my song “Slow Me Down” is really about that. They’ve got my head painted on the wall in there along with two of my buddies. I’ve never bought a drink in there…and I probably never will. I still play there when I go back. It holds maybe 100 people.”

Jeremy’s new single, “This Town Needs A Bar,” paints a picture of a man in dire need of a place like the “Saddle Sore”, and the tune has already struck a chord with many soldiers in Iraq, who heard the song on the soundtrack of the “Health Inspector” movie featuring Larry the Cable Guy. He receives letters all the time from servicemen and their families who can relate to the quiet desperation of the tune. Influenced by writers like Jim Croce, Shawn Mullins, and Kris Kristofferson, Jeremy has been writing for years and penned most of the tunes on his debut. One exception is the catchy “Wagon Wheel,” which was originally written by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack to a 1972 film, “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.” As the story goes, Dylan never finished the song, and when Old Crow Medicine Show lead singer Ketch Secor heard a bootleg of it, he filled in the gaps and finished the tune.

Produced by Marshall Tucker Band drummer Paul Riddle, McComb’s album features a wide variety of material, and Jeremy hopes that fans will find something to like on it once they hear it. “I think people are looking for a soundtrack to their own little movie they’re living,” he says. “I don’t know if anybody sees life the way it is. I think people live in this little mini-drama that just takes 70 years, and people look for their soundtrack to what’s going on in their scene at that point of the movie. So, I’m happy if people find some of these songs fit their scenes.” / Issue 84 - September 2018
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