Award-winning singer-songwriter Jeremy Facknitz will perform at Steve’s Guitars on June 23. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, his sound is a kind of indie rock with pop-punk and folk influences, creating a medley all his own — nostalgic yet refreshing and new.
Facknitz first played at Steve’s in 2020, at the height of streaming concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic. He opened for Birds of Play and performed songs from his 2020 album, “From Those Sweet Ashes;” an album in which he tried on several hats and personas as he found his sound.
“I tell people, ‘I’m not three chords from the truth, I’m 11 to 15 chords in cryptic cynicism.’” He joked, “That album in 2020 opened up some doors for me. I was a Kerrville New Folk finalist with a couple of those songs off that previous album, so I was coming back to this point of trusting myself again as a songwriter.”
His career began at the age of 17 with a band called The Ottomans, who beat out a now renowned rock group, The White Stripes, at the Detroit Music Awards in 2001. Facknitz then went on to form a duo with his brother, Jarod, before breaking off around 2003 as a solo cover artist. He made a living playing in pubs, at corporate events and weddings.
“It has been 26 years since my first professional gig, and I’m immensely grateful for what I have now and where I’m at,” he expressed.
Currently residing in Colorado Springs, Facknitz is touring to promote his new album, “Smilin’ at the Future,” a conceptual retelling of stories from his life after graduating high school blended with current events. The album and song of the same name were inspired by a headline in his hometown’s local newspaper and the photo caption.
“When I graduated, this woman took a picture of me and my friends while we were talking outside. She said, ‘Look this way,’ and she snapped the picture… The next day, there was my picture on the front page of the local newspaper and just: ‘smiling at the future,” Facknitz explained, “I came across that little newspaper, and I thought of that line that’s in the song. ‘I was the future of smiling at the future,’ and wrote the whole song based on where I’m at in life now as a 45-year-old.”
While his career has been adventurous, it has also had hardship. In 2017, he suffered from a bad headache that would not go away. He was later diagnosed with viral meningitis. After four days of being in the hospital thinking about life, death and everything in between, he realized it was time for a change.
“I started honing in the craft of songwriting, entering into song contests, trying to make that leap from playing in bars to touring and making a living off of my own music, and that was almost six years ago now,” he said. “It’s been a trip.”
He is excited about his upcoming performance at Steve’s for several reasons, but what he looks forward to the most is building a connection with the audience.
“What I love about what I do is that connection, and seeing that connection while I’m on stage with people when maybe they wipe away a tear, or they laugh … It’s like, ‘You are me right now, and I am you.’ This is your song,” he explained.
He elaborated that his vulnerability in performing and the vulnerability of audiences are mutually rewarding. When he finds himself questioning music, he reminds himself of his conversations with fans after his shows throughout his career, which triggers fresh inspiration.
“I’m just chasing those moments. That’s why I love going on the road, playing shows and playing my material; especially for a guy who played in bars singing ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ a million times to be out now and making money and playing my songs for people and getting that connection.”
He reminisced, “Often as a kid, I felt terminally unique, and there might be people out there who feel that way too. So I share myself, and they connect, and they don’t feel so alone. It’s the best.”
For updates on Facknitz’ music and tour schedule, visit jeremyfacknitz.com, or follow him on Instagram: @jeremyfacknitz.
For tickets to the Steve’s Guitars show on June 23 at 8pm, visit www.stevesguitars.net