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At 6’3” with long brown hair and piercing blue eyes, Jeremy Phifer is a commanding presence, even off-stage. But when he stands in the spotlight, Phifer becomes even more compelling. A monster guitar player with massive vocal chops, this high-energy entertainer is not just another tall Texan with a duffel bag full of dreams. This is talent – on fire.
“I’ve always really considered myself just a picker,” notes Jeremy. But his emotive voice is every bit as attention-grabbing as his electrifying guitar leads. The fifth-generation musician, now 29, has definitely walked a long, hard road to get to where he is now – and the challenges of the journey are reflected in the passionate nuances he brings to his music. The tragic loss of his baby sister when Jeremy was just two years old colored his early childhood years, and the usual adolescent angst was compounded by reading dyslexia.
High school brought Jeremy the opportunity to indulge in two of his passions: football and music. A defensive end and wide receiver, Phifer also became active in the school’s Jazz Band. The school’s music director encouraged and inspired the budding musician (drums, bass, piano), and it wasn’t long before 15-year-old Jeremy was asked to join a group that would go on to play the Galaxy Club in Dallas. “But one of my most memorable early performances was actually a Jimi Hendrix-inspired version of the National Anthem I played at our homecoming football game,” he recalls with a laugh.
Several bands and genre-bending experiments later, Jeremy narrowed his focus and began to hone the unique Country/Southern Rock/Texas Music sound that he performs today with his Texas BadWater Band (named for the model of AXL guitar he plays.) It’s a sound Jeremy describes as “Lynyrd Skynyrd on cornbread meets Alabama,” noting that “Skynyrd broke the dual lead sound and Alabama made it on three-part harmony.” Phifer’s band makes their living and their three-lead quota with guitar, fiddle and pedal steel.
It’s a life focused entirely around music – and family. Jeremy doesn’t own an iPod or have satellite radio, preferring instead to listen to CDs by artists ranging from Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Merle Haggard to Pink Floyd, Black Crowes and The Eagles. Additionally, this singer/songwriter counts Prince, Muddy Waters and The Beatles among his influences.
The married father of three now lives in Paris, Texas, just a few miles down the road from his hometown of Blossom. The handsome singer can often be found putting down demos in his dad’s studio, practicing new leads or trying out his latest song at a local watering hole. “It’s a pretty quiet community,” he observes. “A great place to raise kids.” And with his family and friends surrounding him, that small Texas town is a welcome respite from the gigs, recording and radio promo tours he is committed to this year.
With a MusicRow Chart single to his credit (his own “Take The L Out Of Lover”) this former bar bouncer (and current part-time college student) is finally living the life he only dreamed about just a few years ago. “We won two talent contests,” Jeremy notes. “Paris Idol in 2009 and the North Texas State Colgate Country Showdown competition in 2010, and I really thought that winning those would get us more gigs.”
The big “break” was slow to come, and Phifer continued to play 150-200 dates a year on the Texas/Oklahoma club/casino circuit. He opened for some big names, most notably Blake Shelton, but it wasn’t until Phifer put together a team of Nashville professionals that things really started to move forward for the young entertainer. “It’s like a light went on,” he states. “And everything started falling into place.”
Phifer knows that no future is certain, but believes that his motivation will overcome any obstacles life may throw his way. “I live for my family,” he states. “Ain’t nothing gonna change that.” So it’s not surprising that Phifer has found ways to blend his love of family with his music. His father Jerry, a Texas lead guitar legend, is the force behind the band’s pedal steel and Jeremy’s nine-year-old son is following in his footsteps … already learning the drums. Two years ago Jeremy, his dad and son shared the stage at the Elks Lodge in Paris. “To have three generations of Phifer’s playing together is a memory I’ll cherish forever.”
As the momentum grows for Jeremy Phifer and the Texas BadWater Band, the fire burns hotter and this star shines brighter. One listen and you’ll agree – there are plenty of memories yet to be made in this newcomer’s future.
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