If you haven’t yet heard of the band Greta Van Fleet, you’re in for a very special treat as this young band is taking the world by storm with a sound that is both familiar and different at the same time.
When I first heard their single ‘Highway Tune’ on the radio, my initial thought was akin to anyone who’s listened to good old rock n’ roll, “This sounds like Led Zeppelin!!!! Why haven’t I heard this before? Did they finally decide to record some new music?” After the song finished, I listened intently for the artist to see if my suspicions were correct. “That was Greta Van Fleet – Highway Tune,” the radio DJ said, to my utter surprise; the single itself was released in March 2017. From the opening riff to the first vocal cry, it was like Robert Plant had been somehow reincarnated along with Jimmy Page, or at least this new band had studied Led Zeppelin extensively; which can also be heard very distinctly in their second single ‘Safari Song’ with the guitar solo sounding like the psychedelic Jimmy Page himself. Both singles are from their first Double EP titled ‘From The Fires’, which sounds like the long-lost Led Zeppelin EP. According to the band members, though, their influences were very different.
Greta Van Fleet is comprised of brothers Josh (21, vocals), Jake (21, guitar) and Sam (18, bass guitar/keys) Kiszka, and longtime family friend and a friend of Sam’s since kindergarten, Danny Wagner (18, drums), all from the tiny Michigan hamlet of Frankenmuth. For Sam, his major influence was James Jamerson by watching performance music videos, listening to recordings, and practicing to perfect the riffs and style, then evolving his own style. Jake’s big influences were Jimi Hendrix, Elmore James, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend and Woody Guthrie. Josh’s vocal influences were Demis Roussos, John Denver, and Wilson Pickett. Danny’s drumming chops come from studying Buddy Rich and John Bonham and then carving out his own performance style.
The band has recorded a phenomenal rendition of Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’, certainly giving the famous British singer a run for her money! And they haven’t gone unnoticed in the UK either, as Sir Elton John himself is even a fan having personally asked the band to perform at his annual Academy Awards viewing party set for early March.
They also have shared influences of Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix, which has helped to develop the music they make; a high-energy hybrid of rock’n’roll, blues, and soul, rolled into one that’s breaking through barriers of time and music. As Jake declares in describing their music, “We liked to see how the English bands had reinterpreted the blues, and we wanted to interpret it again – Y’know, wouldn’t it be interesting if an American band came right back and reinterpreted the reinterpretation that the English did? No limits, no barriers, no boundaries. It was like that when we were growing up, and it’s like that when we’re making our own music.”