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Singled Out: Jeremiah Tall's Graves


K. Wiggins | 12-29-2019

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Jeremiah Tall

Americana star Jeremiah Tall recently released his latest album "From Bare Bones" and to celebrate we asked him and Ben Mazz to tell us about the song "Graves". Here is the story:

Jeremiah Tall: Imagine you find yourself standing alone in the middle of the street. Surrounded by chaos. The end of times, doomsday or the rapture how ever you see it. "The living will have no place to hide and the dead will rise." Standing there with your chest out knowing you won't be saved. You're not on the list. Yelling " Ain't no grave can hold me down." That is what this song means to me. I will live for today even though death may be knocking on my door. I wrote the main part of this song a long time ago, but never seemed to be able to finish it. With the new record shaping up I took what I had and laid it down. I knew I wanted harmonica and organ. I asked a friend, Kevin, to do his thing with his harmonica. I was in love with what he played right away. The sound reminds me of a turkey or some big ass bird dancing around doing a mating call.

Ben Mazz: What was most important to me once JT played me Graves for the first time was accentuating the gothic dread the song made me feel. First things first, I wanted to take that gnarly dobro riff and turn it into an even more ghostly sound than it already had going (which it had in stripes). We recorded it through my dirty 4-track to add some serious tape hiss, and then ran it through my space echo machine giving it a real ghostly feel. It turned out great, sounding like we trapped the riff in a casket and buried it underground. Then the next element that was important to me was adding a funeral march feel to it, so we decided to forego a more standard bassline, and I slapped a slow eerie light vibrato on my farfisa and pounded out bass chords. Rather than getting busy with the riff like some of our other stuff, we just let'm ride out and fill the space. The end was nigh. Hail Satan...

Jeremiah Tall: The song shaped up for me once I laid in the howling backing vocals. I had the idea hit me some time around 12am in the lab. I knew if I didn't start to record them right then and there I would lose the magic. I think I left the studio around 4 or 5 am. Well worth the loss of sleep. You can sleep when your dead! I can only hope that I one day look up to see Rick Grimes with his Colt Python to his own head and in the background is the howl of those vocals calling out.... "Ain't no grave can hold me down" then, click.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself right here!


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