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BIOGRAPHY

Jeremy Facknitz has been entertaining audiences with his lovingly crafted music and high-energy performances for over a quarter century. Since the 2002 break-up of his Detroit-based band "The Ottomans" (they earned a 2001 Detroit Music Award for Best New Alternative Band, beating out "The White Stripes"),  Jeremy has performed primarily as a solo act, marrying folk-rock and jazz stylings to showcase his intimate stories of life, love, and self-discovery. 

But from 2003 to 2017, those stories seemed to fall on deaf ears. Facknitz carved out a living performing at bars, coffeeshops, and corporate events while teaching lessons on the side. "I was happy to be making a living performing music, but my original music wasn't being heard - and as the years passed I found myself more and more frustrated playing to little more than the din of drunken conversation." Things came to a head on July 17th, 2017 when Jeremy was diagnosed with viral meningitis. "I came face to face with my mortality, and I realized it was time for a change. I quit performing at bars and spent the next year making the leap to house concerts, touring, and performing solely for listening audiences." 

The leap has paid off. Jeremy was named a top 24 finalist from over 800 entries in the 2020 and 2022 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competitions at Kerrville Folk Festival. His songs "Ballet of an Unhatched Chick" and "Michigan (Something In The Water)" were awarded semi-finalist distinction at songoftheyear.com, also in 2020 and 2022.  

While occasionally performing with his 6 piece band in Colorado, Jeremy continues to tour solo - performing at house concerts and listening rooms in the United States, Canada and Europe. His 6th solo album "Smilin' At The Future" is set for release March 31st, 2023.

SMILIN' AT THE FUTURE

Jeremy Facknitz’s new album is titled Smilin’ At The Future, a caption from his high school graduation photo in the hometown newspaper. If the songs smile at the future, it’s not idealism but a need to transcend the struggle of the present and the wounds of the past. This is the sixth record by the two-time Kerrville Grassy Hill New Folk Songwriting Competition finalist, and it’s his strongest songwriting most imaginative music yet. Facknitz describes his music as “indie rock with a made-for-the-theatre twist. I’m a singer-songwriter, but I’m not 3 chords and the truth - I’m 8 to 15 chords and cryptic cynicism. Less like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt - more like Elvis Costello and Lin Manuel Miranda.”  

Surprisingly, these lively descriptors make sense. Like Costello and Miranda, Facknitz is a gifted storyteller open to finding new forms and new sounds. Writing about his album From These Sweet Ashes, Collin Estes writes that Facknitz’s “emphasis on song-craft is immediately apparent, and the album an artistic triumph.” Loring Wirbel writes “The next instantiation of Nick Lowe and other power-pop barons already exists, and From Those Sweet Ashes is his defining work to date.” Wirbel goes on to compare Facknitz’s music to Andrew Bird and John Darnielle.  

Through the ten songs on Smilin’ At The Future, you’ll hear a Van Halen-esque violin solo played through a distortion pedal, a bluesy, Dylan-tinged protest song, a song he describes as “Sinatra in the verse and Green Day in the chorus”, a song in 5/4, and, an intimate song for acoustic guitar and voice. There are also cameos by the lead singer of the United States Air Force Academy Band, Serenity Holloway, and singer-songwriter Edie Carey.  

Yet, the album never feels like a sampler platter because the songs converge so well. Owing much to producer Jarrod Headley’s unified vision, the ten tracks hold space for the current zeitgeist while presenting new facets of it. Take, for example, the country-tinged “As of This Morning,” a bittersweet look at relationships that didn’t survive the Covid lockdown. The upbeat tempo and soaring violin keep the song focused on the fact that this is a new beginning. As Facknitz explains, “This is pointless to carry on, so I'm pulling the plug, and yes it's sad but it's the right thing for both of us, and there's nothing better and nothing more loving I can do.”  

“There’s No Going Home Again” is a clear-eyed reckoning with how time affects a place—and the person viewing it. Inspired by the similarly-titled Thomas Wolfe novel, the song finds Facknitz returning to his home state of Michigan, assessing it and himself. Serenity Holloway, lead singer of the USAF Academy Band, adds soulful, elegiac vocals. With a backdrop of fierce fiddling, Facknitz evokes Richard Shindell’s voice throughout, singing "And if you think this town has changed too much for you, don't forget you've done some gentrifying too. You're a stranger coming in from out of state, with a suntan and new license plates."  

Facknitz turns historical on “Ste. Genevieve,” looking back on how a small Missouri river town held off a flood in 1993. In need of hope amidst wildfires and Covid, the songwriter found himself identifying with the underdog town. Like Ste. Genevieve, the song acknowledges the huge obstacles of the past but is more interested in celebrating resilience. “If she survived that cancer, if river towns can do this, perhaps we'll find some answers, and maybe we'll get through this,” the final pre-chorus asserts victoriously.  

While the songs on Smilin’ At The Future differ musically, the themes of the album are clear. Throughout the record, Facknitz enlists music to help him find hope while rationally acknowledging everything we’re up against. And if he doesn’t find hope that things can change, he turns inward and works toward acceptance. There are no cliches or platitudes here either; there’s just inspired songwriting and songs that carry it through.

From Those Sweet Ashes (2020)

Jeremy Facknitz

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JEREMY FACKNITZ,"FROM THOSE SWEET ASHES"

All songs copyright 2020 Jeremy Facknitz, ASCAP.

Produced by Jarrod Headley.

Recorded, engineered and mixed by Jarrod Headley at Northpark Studios in Colorado Springs, Colorado from February 2019 through January 2020.

Studio assistant, Levi Jones.

Mastered by Clint Wagoner at Clint Wagoner Mastering,

JEREMY FACKNITZ, "FROM THOSE SWEET ASHES"

All songs copyright 2020 Jeremy Facknitz, ASCAP.

Produced by Jarrod Headley. 

Recorded, engineered and mixed by Jarrod Headley at Northpark Studios in Colorado Springs, Colorado from February 2019 through January 2020. 

Studio assistant, Levi Jones. 

Mastered by Clint Wagoner at Clint Wagoner Mastering, Dallas, Texas. 

Album artwork and design by David Probst. 

All music by Jeremy Facknitz. 

All lyrics by Jeremy Facknitz except THE BEST THAT WE CAN, lyrics by Jeremy Facknitz and Edward Keneski.  

All string arrangements by Jeremy Facknitz except MOTHERLAND, arranged by Jeremy Facknitz and Roma Ransom (Grace Easley and Gordon Lewis), HEAD ON, arranged by Jeremy Facknitz and Jarrod Headley, and THE BEST THAT WE CAN, arranged by Mary Lindsay, David Siegel, Jarrod Headley and Jeremy Facknitz. 

THE JEREMY FACKNITZ BAND is Jeremy Facknitz (lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, trumpets, glockenspiel, toy piano), Mike Kimlicko (bass, backing vocals), David Siegel (violin), John Standish (piano, backing vocals) and Brad Plesz (drums). 

Guest musicians include Ricky Sweum; sax on BALLET OF AN UNHATCHED CHICK, Jeremy Van Hoy; trombone on BALLET OF AN UNHATCHED CHICK, Mary Lindsay; cello on HEAD ON, WATCH THIS BIRD FLY, LONGEST SHORTEST, MOTHERLAND, LOVE SO BIG and THE BEST THAT WE CAN, Marc Niehof; concert bass on HEAD ON, LONGEST SHORTEST and MOTHERLAND, Eric Blackmore; lead guitar on SON OF A and LITTLE DEVILS, Matt Podschweit, Hammond B3 on LITTLE DEVILS, and Gary Coleman; native American-style flute on MOTHERLAND.  

Jarrod Headley plays electric guitars and drums on HEAD ON, and rhythm electric guitars on MOTHERLAND and BALLET OF AN UNHATCHED CHICK. John Standish and Lindsay Facknitz sing harmonies on LOVE SO BIG. Lindsay Facknitz (Jeremy’s wife) also sings harmonies on THE BEST THAT WE CAN. Deborah Facknitz (Jeremy’s mom) and 5 year-old Elaine Facknitz (Jeremy’s daughter) sing on LONGEST SHORTEST. Erick Facknitz (Jeremy’s dad) whistles on HEAD ON. Jeremy Facknitz Band and Lindsay Facknitz make noises and sing back-ups on BALLET OF AN UNHATCHED CHICK and LITTLE DEVILS.  

THANK YOU 

To the band (Mike, David, Brad and John), words cannot express. This record is as much yours as it is mine. Producer Jarrod Headley, you’re a champ. You mixed extreme professionalism with extreme fun and my gut still hurts from the laughs we had in the studio. Guest musicians Ricky, Mary, Eric, Marc, Gary, Matt and Jeremy, you gave your all to the cause and I’ll forever love you for it. The monthly songwriters group of Edie Carey, Lindsay Facknitz and Edward Keneski, thank you for the great suggestions, but mostly for the encouragement you showered on me at a time when I really needed it. 

Special thank-you to my wife Lindsay, you made this album as well as this dream possible. My children, Elaine and Evan, oh the joy you bring me! My life would be so dull without you.  

Also thanks to my parents Rick and Deb, sister Kara, brother and life-long musical co-hort Jarod, and my extended family and in-laws. The team behind the scenes; Lila Mori, Kayla Coleman, Zak Sloan and Sloan Song Studios, David Probst, Gabe Jacobson, Rupert Wates, Ben Pratt, Ken Janzen and CSLCS, Teddy Nazario, Christian Lawrence, Chris Combs, John and Cindy Hooten and Stargazers Theatre, Nick and Lisa Davey, and the Pike’s Peak arts community. All the house concert hosts who first opened their doors to me, with special nods to Gary and Kim DeVilbiss in Colorado Springs, CO, Kathy and Wes at Montgomery Court House Concerts in Mt. Vernon, WA; the Miskey’s in Edmonton, AB and the Hackett’s in Squamish, BC who rekindled my musical relationship with Canada. Also thanks to Roma Ransom, Tim Board, Tri-Lakes Radio, Mark White, KCOS Digital Media, all the radio DJ’s, all the old fans and all the new fans and anyone who has ever come to a show or streamed a song. If I forgot you, type your name here. Thank you, _______________________. See, I was just saving the best for last. 

This album is dedicated to some special souls I love dearly who’ve passed on since my last album; my dear grandmothers Pauline Zeigler and Wilma Facknitz, my friend and mentor Ashley Peacock and my former manager Cicily Janus.  

This album is also dedicated to anyone who is still out here writing, touring, recording and busting tail with little motivation to do so aside from that annoying little fire inside your belly. 

Thanks for reading, listening and being a witness.  

  • Jeremy 

For lyrics, past albums, tour info, pics, videos and much, much more, visit www.jeremyfacknitz.com and the fan site, www.fackheads.com

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"SON OF A (SUICIDE, PART 2)" MUSIC VIDEO