XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Highway Tune” by Greta Van Fleet

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Greta Van Fleet | Photo by Michael Lavine

Greta Van Fleet are a four piece rock and roll band from Frankenmuth, Michigan, about an hour and a half North of Detroit. The band was formed in 2012 by brothers Josh (lead vocals), Sam (bass and keyboards) and Jake (guitar) Kiszka, and includes Daniel Wagner on drums. They released their debut EP, Black Smoke Rising, in April.

Greta Van Fleet play a mix of classic rock with touches of blues. With influences including Muddy Waters, Wilson Pickett, Joe Cocker, Sam & Dave, and Howlin’ Wolf, there’ve been lots of comparisons to Led Zeppelin, a function of lead singer Josh’s similarities to Robert Plant. The band took their name from a woman in town named Gretna Van Fleet. Josh tells the story:

Well, Gretna Van Fleet with an “n” between the “t” and the “a”. I never really got to meet her prior naming the band after her. We had to come up with the band name a day before one of the shows we were doing, the first big show we would do in the street at the Auto Fest there. Our previous drummer, the original drummer that we had for about a year, had gone to lunch with his grandfather and his grandfather was going to drop him off over here so we could practice here in the garage. It’s the epicenter of our meanderings. We said “My grandfather said he had to go cut wood for Gretna Van Fleet. I think that could be a cool title.” So we took the “n” out because it would be easier. That’s what we stuck with. We went into town and did the first show and from then on, that was title. A lot of interesting things happened since with the title. Because she’s right in town, we would play festivals at the Fischer Hall downtown and there would people calling Gretna asking at her house asking if she was playing a show there. She used to be a drummer in a polka band. Her and her husband came out to listen to us and they gave us their blessing. We’ve had a good relationship with them.

Below, listen to “Highway Tune.” The band play Rock Allegiance at the BB&T Pavillion in Camden, NJ, on October 7th.

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