Jeremy Squires is easily one of folk and Americana music’s most prolific singer-songwriters
- Americana Highways
For Jeremy Squires, songs can come from the way a camera moves in a movie scene, photographs, dreams or true life experiences. Riddle of Stars is all of those things — nine tracks written, performed and produced by Squires, created during a time of loss and letting go of a longtime musical collaborator, drummer and friend, Carlos Ventura. What started out as an electric album and includes a poem written as a goodbye for his friend’s funeral (Track two - “Blood Pact”), transformed into the heart-stirring collection of intoxicating songs that is Riddle of Stars. Presented with carefully crafted minimalism, primarily by way of guitar finger-picking, piano, and the occasional pedal steel guitar or organ, Squires tells his 12th digitally released album’s story with soft steadiness and ease in his melodies and vocals.
I’m like that photo album
Barely held intact by time
Haunted with you in my mind
- “Blood Pact” (Riddle of Stars, Track 2)
Squires consistently holds space for his artistic expression in more than one medium, living and breathing within cycles of poetry, photography and music. As many artists ultimately leave their hometowns to explore larger cities like Los Angeles and New York, Squires’ life in the Inner Banks of North Carolina from childhood has steadfastly served the inspiration for over 15 albums and now his fourth release on Blackbird Record Label. Raised by his grandmother in New Bern, and the son of a published poet, his mother, and a father that gifted him a flea market guitar when he was a child, Squires began teaching himself to play by way of writing songs and learning Bad Religion and Nirvana songs, eventually leading him into forming punk bands. “My Granny bought an electric guitar for me. I wanted it because it looked like the one Slash played,” recalls Squires.
Jeremy and Carlos met at age 12 and 13, the beginning of nearly three decades of brotherhood and artistic collaboration. “We were musical soulmates,” says Squires. Neither one of them formally trained, the two experimented with bands before officially becoming a professionally touring band, Andrea’s Truth, playing shows at venues and skate parks up and down the east coast. In a surprising turn of events, after recording their debut album, the studio burned down with their files. However, fans initiated a network of passing around bootleg VHS tapes from their live shows which in turn secured their mark and influence on a thriving indie punk music scene in their region.
Becoming a father at only age 21, Squires took a job at a faucet factory and paused from touring for several years until he returned in 2005 to his career in music, photography, and restoring vintage guitars. This is when he began learning to record on his own, playing all instruments with Carlos adding drums on multiple songs throughout his catalogue, unfortunately passing suddenly before being able to track drums for Riddle of Stars.
When your mind is a merry go round, It feels dizzy and slow
May the thorns around your heart form a crown, Dear, you’re free to let go
- “Heart Swell” (Riddle of Stars, Track 8)
Riddle of Stars is visually realized through a series of companion videos produced and directed by Squires and set against a backdrop of the salty-aired east coast’s most compelling natural and gothic features — waterways, Spanish moss, rusted iron cemetery gates and aging statues of angels as graveyard centerpieces. Always deeply inspired to work with his environment and the gifts of his loved ones, Squires has been teaching his 14 year old daughter about light and photography and enlisted her to help shoot the video for “Play Dead” which includes scenes along the Trent and Neuse Rivers in NC, and Lake Worth Beach, Florida where he will soon begin a new chapter of life.
I don’t know why I let things twist my stomach into knots
You withered through autumn then you found yourself in god
I don’t give a damn about what’s just around the bend
But, I’ll always wonder what it could’ve been
- “Play Dead” (Riddle of Stars, Track 3)
Squires signed to California-based Blackbird Record Labelin 2020 releasing Many Moons and then Unravel in 2021, an homage to the grandmother that raised him. In 2022, Blackbird released Hymnal, featuring violinist and vocalist, Autumn Rose Brand. “Blackbird is a great dynamic for my lifestyle,” says Squires, who was excited to find a home for his music with a label unafraid to support an artist that focuses and relies on a consistent creative process, writing and releasing music more than touring.
There’s a beauty found within the pain of his sound, and It’s quite easy to lose one’s self in each phrase that Squires allows to slip from his lips.
- Turn Up the Amp
“Play Dead” is the first single to be released on October 6th, followed by “Vampires” on October 20th and “Graveyard” on November 10th. The full album, Riddle of Stars, releases on November 17th.
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