Jeremy Squires surprised even himself with the sonic textures of his newest album, Many Moons.
One of North Carolina’s most prolific folk singer-songwriters, Squires opted to record the songs he’s written on his analog keyboard over the last few years for Many Moons, which he self-produced. The experimentation leads to some unexpected sounds, yet the heart of Squires’ songwriting remains true.
Echoing its title, Many Moons is built around imagery of darkness and dreams. These moments may be pulled from his own life, yet he writes in such a way that listeners can put themselves into the lyrics.
“Whenever I write songs, it’s usually sad, or I’m drawn to the darker side of things,” Squires says. “It’s not necessarily gloomy, but because I’ve experienced those things, I can write about it and find a way to get a positive out of it.”
Squires was born in 1980 and raised in New Bern, North Carolina, where he now resides with his wife and family. At 11, his mother brought him an acoustic guitar she found in an antique store. Squires taught himself to play songs he knew from the radio, while also developing his natural talent for writing songs. A year later, his granny gave him an electric guitar. That ultimately led to Squires joining a number of bands in his teen years, including the punk group Andrea’s Truth.
When his son was born in 2000, Squires scaled back on touring and began gravitating toward solo work. His auspicious 2006 debut album, A Place to Hide, reflected his experiences of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD. He left a decade-long factory job and pursued music full-time when his daughter was born in 2009. Over the next decade, his national following grew due to positive press and radio play for such projects as In the Dark, Central Nervous Station, and When Will You Go….
“I just write whatever I’m feeling at the time,” he says. “I love when people can relate to my music. A lot of people reach out to me and say, ‘This song helped me’ and that means a whole lot to me.”
Squires wrote and recorded Shadows after his mother’s death from an opioid overdose and while his granny lived with him while recovering from a heart attack. The collection made an impression on his fellow songwriters on the modern folk scene, whom he befriended, and set the foundation for the albums Collapse and Poem, the latter recorded with Andrew Joslyn of Passenger String Quartet.
In 2020, Many Moons follows A Collection of Covers and Eastern Glow, a mix of outtakes and older songs, along with a few new songs. The new album opens with the New Wave-esque synth of “Hazy,” then eases into an older song “Cast Spells,” which is arranged around guitars and drums. “Vanishing” explores Squire’s feelings of guilt for passing bipolar disorder to his son, who also faced a challenge with drug addiction, while “Swan Dive” is inspired by memories of his late mother, complemented by the mesmerizing steel guitar of Whit Wright.
Like many of his songs, the enchanting “Labyrinth” began as a poem. Someday, Squires would like to issue a book of poetry and photography, but for now he feels the pull of Many Moons.
“I hope that people who know my music will really enjoy it and see it for what it is,” he says. “I feel happy when I listen to it. I feel like I really wanted to do this album and I know I’m not going to do another one like this one.”
“It's almost like Squires isn't quite touching the Earth.”
- Wide Open Country