I can’t imagine how annoyed the boys must be getting compared constantly, in every interview, to Led Zeppelin, but when you hear Josh’s vocals flying over Jake’s virtuoso guitar playing, Sam’s god-like bass slapping, and the only non-blood family member, Danny’s slammin’ drumming, you can’t help but do it.
While the comparison is obvious, if you look a little deeper, you hear exactly where they’re coming from, and it goes so much deeper. You’ve got a lil Wilson Pickett, Joe Cocker, Howlin’ Wolf, some Willie Dickson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Muddy Waters all over it. Robert Johnson, Elmore James, and a heavy pull from Aphrodite’s Child songs like the Four Horsemen can be heard in the backbone of the band. If you haven’t compared them to these guys, you may not really know Greta, or Led for that matter.
It’s no surprise that they grew up in a musical family. Listening to the classics above on vinyl in their small town of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Even getting their name from a town elder, Gretna Van Fleet. The genre that glues their magical music together is blues, but don’t be mistaken, they each have their own specific favorite genres: Josh is the world music man, Jake is the rocker, Sam is the jazz man, and Danny brings the folk.
If you search hard enough (and of course I did), you can find videos of them rocking smaller stages, when they were all barely able to drive. The band started in 2012 with the Kiszka brothers and another drummer, Kyle Hauck, until they brought in Danny on the skins. And while Josh is the lead singer, it was Jake who pushed his twin (yes, the lead singer and guitarist are twins) into actually pursuing their musical aspirations. They all heard him sing growing up, in the car, etc., but never hearing him release his full range until the band was formed, and that voice was released into the wild.
I was lucky enough to see them at an event on July 17th at E&C Studio in New York, and I’ve got to say something. Being a music lover, I grew up wishing I would have been at two shows, first this one, Led Zeppelin in Denmark, March 17th, 1969, and/or The Beatles here, on August 22nd, 1962. Now that I saw Greta Van Fleet, I feel like I got to have one of those experiences. Take a look at the entire performance here. In no way is it the best camera work, but you’ll definitely feel the power of the band (and wish you were there).
Now when you go to listen to them, because you should already have them playing in the background, you’ll only find four songs on their debut EP. Do not worry! There’s been talk that they might release a few EPs and then a full-length. But considering the rocket ship they’ve attached themselves to, they might just dive right into a full-length. And with over 25 tracks already written and being played out in the world, it sounds like it’s closer than ever to dropping.
The playlist from that first night at E&C Studio gave a lil’ hint at some of the things to come in that regard. I’m going to throw out a guess for whatever is released next. You’ll find “Watching Over,” “Edge of Darkness,” “When the Cold Wind Blows,” “Lover Leaver Taker Believer,” “Talk on the Street,” and “Get You Down” on whatever they put out, but that’s only my guess. We’ll have to wait and see to know for sure.
The most exciting thing I’ve heard from them in one of their many interviews is that they’ll be writing while on tour, and that they think it might make their sound a little heavier. You know the whole, writing-in-the-back-of-a-tour-van-writing. Picture it. A heavier Zep…
I’ll call it right now, when their debut full-length hits, they’ll be the biggest band in the world within a month.
Mark my words.
Now, if you can see them, see them. If you can’t see them, prepare to hear them on the radio, see them on TV, and be recommended them from every angle.
[UPDATE October 25th, 2017]
Greta Van Fleet has announced a double EP release coming out November 10th, 2017. You may notice two of the tracks that I called back in September!
- Safari Song
- Edge of Darkness
- Flower Power
- A Change is Gonna Come
- Highway Tune
- Meet Me On The Ledge
- Talk On The Street
- Black Smoke Rising
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