Good things come to those who wait, but luck favors the bold. And for Jeremy McComb, the balance comes natural. A storyteller epitomizing “been there and done that,” McComb has explored nearly every facet of the entertainment industry, all on his own terms. From radio to tour managing, releasing five albums, growing an international fan base, hitting the Billboard charts and writing songs for projects selling over 6 Million copies … including a Grammy-nominated soundtrack (Blue Collar Comedy Tour – One for the Road).
Proudly and fiercely independent in both spirit and style, The Average Joes Entertainment recording artist was born in Idaho as a sixth-generation musician. Music is in McComb’s DNA but he’s a distinct branch on the family tree. Obsessed with artists who share a gift for storytelling (and little else), he found inspiration in everything from Jim Croce to Tom Petty, and now bridges the canyons between country, rock and folk.
McComb discovered a revelation during the last eighteen months of uncertainty and the effects of it became an influence for the songwriter. Like the rest of us, the constant state of chaos and complications led him to look back to a time when things were simpler. Which led to his latest project, aptly titled, The Way Back.
For a performer used to touring 180+ days a year in perpetual motion, staying still was a challenge. But he rose to that challenge, finding solace in the silence and assembling an album in the process that perfectly captures the angst, frustration, and the joyous release we all felt returning to normal life, our loved ones, and the things that bring us happiness.
From his new release “Burned Out” expressing the exuberance of getting back to what we love to the nostalgia of the title track, which was inspired by the classic TV show “The Wonder Years.”
“It’s definitely an album rooted in nostalgia,” McComb explains about the headspace while creating the new album. “I should call it the quarantine record, because it was all stemming from all these feelings everybody was having of being locked in and shut out, unable to do the things they wanted to do or be around the people they wanted to be around. It’s not a depressing record, it’s more about getting away from that stuff and going back to the things that matter.”
That desire to get back to normal and really start living again is front and center on the fun-filled track “Burned Out.”
“’Burned Out’ really came from us getting back out and playing and hearing people night after night who are coming back to shows, and the venues that are opening again. It’s about people wanting to get back out and get back to being themselves, having fun, taking care of each other, and spending time with the people they love, dancing and enjoying music. I think that shutdown really showed a lot of people how important being a social animal is… we’re not meant to be apart from each other,” says McComb.
The time spent during the shutdown was definitely a change for the hardworking artist, who was able to slow down and spend quality time with his family. During this time McComb found himself on a binge-watching session of late 80’s show “The Wonder Years” which led him to write the nostalgia-laden new track “Every Road.”
“I think with all the complication in the world, I was searching for something simple,” McComb adds. “Everything was so screwed up, and I just wanted to go back to a more simple time, watching that show as a kid. It was a great way to remember my childhood.”
McComb did some reminiscing when ZZ Top member Dusty Hill passed away, combing through some old classic tracks from the Texas legends and paying homage to the hard-driving band on “Back Before I Knew You,” a song he penned with buddy, and longtime collaborator, Rick Huckaby.
“That one was just kind of fun. I was listening to ZZ Top after Dusty, ‘I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide’ the opening lyric is ‘I’m riding down the road on some cold blue steel, I got my bluesman in the back and a beautician at the wheel.’ I wanted to write something that felt like that. I had this line ‘you were faster than a 66 hard top and I was ragged as a rusted old farm truck,’” says McComb. “And it was kind of the story of back before I knew you, I really wanted you and now I wish I could go back before I knew you.”
A couple of Hardy-penned tunes also found their way onto The Way Back. McComb has long been a fan of the songwriter-turned-artist and found the quirky vibe of “The Price Is Right” perfectly fit what many had been filling their time with during the unexpected time out from the outside world. “Hardy wrote it maybe a decade ago, the song was so cool and I really hadn’t heard anything like it. It’s out there, and out there is my middle name,” he added, laughing.
Hardy also wrote the heartbreaker “No Yesterday,” a sultry somewhat NSFW up-tempo about falling back in with an ex just one more time, even though you know how it will ultimately end. “I love Hardy’s stuff,” said McComb. “The song goes to ‘How about one more time?’ trap we fall into.”
The closer on the new EP might well be McComb’s theme song. The Travis Meadows-penned “Underdogs” basically encapsulates the Idaho native’s career, fueled by his rebellious, stand-back-and-watch-me spirit. It’s a fitting song for this chapter in this artist’s life as he continues to rise against the odds and make new strides in an industry often known for crushing as many dreams as it realizes.
“That song is really me — that’s my entire career,” admits McComb. “I loved it from the moment I first heard it. I’d binge listen to the Travis’ version, it’s so inspiring, telling people to keep swinging — it doesn’t matter what gets in their way. I feel like there’s never been a better version of what I’m doing and never been a better version of me. I think I’ve been living by the adage of self-rescue. – nobody’s ‘f-ing’ coming to help, so you better get up and do this yourself. This one’s for the people who just refuse to quit, and who keep their eyes on the horizon and their feet on the ground.”