CD Interviews: Jeremy Peace (The Old Paths) on These Truths
Daniel introduced this special CD Interview series with Gerald Wolfe and “A Jubilee Christmas A Capella” two weeks ago. He asked our family if we would contribute in this unique series, and we agreed. We have taken the structure and turned it into a 8-1 format: eight questions from each member of our family for one singer. Sitting in the interview chair for this post is Jeremy Peace of The Old Paths to discuss their recent release, These Truths.
David: In light of increasing national awareness, such as winning “New Quartet of the Year,” are you guys, Old Paths, ever feeling pressured to pick songs that might catch the industry’s attention but don’t share the message you want to sing about?
Jeremy: We’ve not felt pressured to do that. The songs that we have selected in the past and currently today, always represent Christ, the message of Christ. That is one of our strong points as a group; we’ve always made sure that our songs are scripturally sound and lyrically strong. We like some happy-go-lucky songs, some fun songs, but we want to make sure they’re correct before we release it.
Kris: Was there a specific reason you chose “We Hold These Truths” as your title song?
Jeremy: We’ve never recorded a patriotic song or even staged a patriotic song. There are many patriotic songs — wonderful patriotic songs — and we didn’t want to pick a song that had already been done, that is a crowd pleaser. So when we were presented with this song… because of our stance on the patriotic numbers, and singing that type of song, the Lord had to really show us within the song that He wanted us to do it. We gave it to our baritone singer Doug Roark to sing, and he just did an amazing job with it. We felt very safe that we could release that song onto a CD and it would show our heart that we’re still selective on the songs about Christ, and we can still show our respect to our country.
Ben: In Daniel’s review of the album, he highlighted the strong vocal performances on your project. What in your opinion defines a strong vocal performance for a CD?
Jeremy: Oh, now you’re going to get me into trouble. I teach and coach voice. There are many answers to this question, and mine isn’t necessarily the only one, but I personally believe that less is more, especially in recording. When you are singing your solo lines and doing your verse, you can add your character, add your own twist, express yourself vocally. But when you’re singing as a group, cut out a lot of the licks, and some of the “cool” moves. Sure, they sound good, but our average listener is listening to the message. So I’ve been making sure that each person is saying the word the same way, pronouncing the vowel sounds the same way, singing at the same time, coming in, coming out at the same time, those things create one voice during the chorus. Just keeping it simple and picking the places where the music builds, you build; where the music’s not building, don’t build. Follow what the music is doing. I think that creates a great vocal performance for a project. It’s easy for people to listen to, they can enjoy the harmony, they can enjoy the solo-work, and they can enjoy the unity of the group, and be able to understand the message of the song on the CD.
Taylor: Now that your project has been out several months, how have your audiences been responding to the songs you have been singing off the project?
Jeremy: So far the response has been really good. We’re singing “Love Them to Jesus,” “God Said I Love You,” “If It Weren’t For Grace,” and “We Are Those Children,” the first one off the album — that’s a fast, upbeat song; it’s fun, people really get into that one. “God Said I Love You” has really hit home for a lot of people; the first time I sang it, I could hardly get through it. I’m tearing up, the people in the audience are crying. And then we started singing “If It Were Not for Grace” two weeks ago. We were in South Carolina and people started flooding the altars. It’s kind of a huge song for Doug. It’s become a spiritually emotional song for people to look back and realize, “If it weren’t for grace, where would I be?”
Leesha: Your radio single, “Long Live the King,” is a powerful song. What were your thoughts when you first heard it?
Jeremy: Oh, I’m glad you asked that question. I’m not a cry-baby, but I had tears flowing down my face as I listened for the first time. We were all crying when we heard the song. Dianne Wilkinson wrote it, her and Chris Binion — they co-write together. They sent the song to us, and we knew as soon as we heard it — it’s one of those things that when you hear a song like The Midnight Cry or any huge, huge hit song, well, you just know that that’s one of those songs. So we’re sitting in the vehicle and listening to the song, and we’re like, “We could be completely wrong, but this could be the song of the century for us or for whatever group records it, if we don’t record it. It’s a huge song.” Obviously, we wanted to record it, whether it was a huge song or not. We were blown away just by the lyrics: “Long live the King / Where there’s no future / There is no past / He’ll reign supreme / As long as everlasting lasts.” It’s an amazing lyric, amazing song. That’s probably — not us singing it, but the song itself — it is probably my favorite song of all time. The greatest song I’ve ever heard.
Sam: Were there any different styles you tried on any of the other songs on this album?
Jeremy: To answer your question, yes, there was. What we’ve done is take several different styles of music and incorporate them into songs that we sing. We did do that on this album; like “Long Live the King” has a majestic sound. “If It Were Not For Grace” we kind of kept it more of a nice country feel. “God Said I Love You” and “We Hold These Truths” have an 80s feel to them. But we still stay true to the Southern Gospel mix as far as the quality and the overall feel of the sound of our style of music. The song, “We Are Those Children”— that’s pure Southern Gospel; we upgraded, obviously, the guitars and the piano licks and other stuff, but it’s a Heaven Bound song from the 80’s. The song, “Love Them To Jesus,” is more of a — not really an old-style country feel — it’s kind of like a Gatlin Brothers.
Jayme: How did you guys go about finding your songs, especially your solos?
Jeremy: Now that is also a really good question. We are still considered a new group. As we begin to grow into this side of the music business, more songwriters begin to send us songs. Crossroads Music has a lot of songwriters that send them songs for their groups that record with them, and so they pass their songs through us. And we have people that we know personally that send us songs. So we get a whole lot of songs that we have to go through and review throughout the year. And some we might pick for this particular album or we might wait for the next album to record.
But let’s say we already have nine songs, and we’re looking for one great fast one, or we’re looking for a good solo song, or a ballad or slow song. We might go through a hundred songs till we find that song we feel like the Lord wants us to sing. And it’s fun. We usually listen to songs together and are like, “That’s a great song. Daniel could probably sing that one.” Or, “Tim could sing this one.” We’re not very selective as far as “Oh, that’s my song, I’m going to sing that one.”
So we pick songs from great songwriters, and we take songs from songwriters that people have never heard, as long as the message is strong and is scripturally sound, and the words work together. We’ll pick those songs and we’ll rearrange them for the person that’s going to do that song.
Caleb: My question is: on “God Said I Love You,” you hit a really high note . . . [Jeremy: I knew this was coming. (Laughs)] We kept rewinding the song to figure out what note it was. Who’s idea was it to sing that note?
Jeremy: That was actually my idea. [Caleb: It was a good idea!] Why thank you! Generally it would have not been; I’m not one to push the limits on things like that, especially on a recording. Now I would do it live: When I was with the Kingsmen, I would go for just about any high note, because that was their style from the 70s and 80s; they were always known to have a real high tenor singer who would hit high notes. And so when I left there and went with the Old Paths… well, they kept wanting me to do it. I said, “No, I don’t want to do it anymore,” but they wanted me to do it. So I continued.
We recorded a song several years ago called “The I Of the Storm,” and it was just going to be a praise ballad basically. We got done with the song, and at Doug’s suggestion, I went back and, on the last chorus, I recorded an overdub and sang an octave higher, and then hit a high note right in the middle of the last chorus. So that has kind of become a signature thing with the audiences. On our last CD called Right Now, I didn’t do any of that, and I had a lot of people ask me, “Why didn’t you hit any high notes on this CD?”
So this time, I went in and said, “Okay, so obviously some people want to hear it.” On “God Said I Love You,” I went in and recorded three different takes on that particular end of that bridge where the really high note is at. There were three different takes of that section, and I picked the highest one, of course. That’s the one I liked, so I thought, “I’m going to do it and push the limits, and it will be the highest note I’ve ever recorded.” That’s why we did it; it was my fault, so I’ll take the blame for it. [Laughs]
David: Well, you know that makes the eight questions for us, however, Sam is standing next to me, he is just chomping at the bit to have the opportunity to ask a bonus question. Are you up for it?
Jeremy: I’m up for it.
Click “read more” to see the bonus question!
Sam: All right. How many copies of this CD do you, personally, own?
Jeremy: Do I own?
Sam: You, personally.
Jeremy: As in, have I purchased or have at the house?
Jeremy: I do not have one single copy. I don’t! Oh, and that is such a great question. Because it is Christmas time, and do you know how many family members wants me to get them a copy of our new CD? That’s all my family members! “Now don’t you have one at home?” “No! I don’t have a copy at home!” They’re like, “Don’t you sing with the group? Why don’t you have copies at home?” “I don’t know; I don’t keep copies at home.” I couldn’t give one away if I had to. I have it on my computer, I could burn a disc, but people don’t want that. They want to see the picture and all that stuff, not to mention I’d be pirating my own music if I just burnt them a copy…lol So, nope, I don’t own one.
Thank you to Jeremy for answering our questions! You can purchase These Truths at The Old Path’s website: www.theoldpathsonline.com. (And while you’re there, you may want to pick up an extra copy for Jeremy… 🙂 )