Jedediah Smith on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith was originally formed as a one man band, by guitarist and Colorado native, Dakota Diemand – under the name I Hope You Freeze to Death. Things changed forever when Dakota journeyed to Musician’s Institute’s Summer Shot 2010, where he met bass player extraordinaire, Connor Coram. After completing the summer program, they kept in touch via Facebook. Eventually, the two reconnected as full-time Musician’s Institute students, forming the progressive metal project, Jedediah Smith, in honor of the legendary mountain man and explorer. With the help of former Allegaeon drummer, Jordon Belfast (named a Sick Drummer in 2007, by Sick Drummer Magazine), Jedediah Smith wrote, produced, mixed, and mastered its debut album, HeSapa, out of Dakota’s Hollywood home studio. The album was released independently, on October 31st, 2012.

After the release of the first album, the guys focused their attention on their studies, to learn as much as they could about music. Learning from famed instructors, such as Greg Harrison of the band PDP, who also taught both guitarists in Scale the Summit. Connor and Dakota’s other instructors have included: Sid Jacobs, Stu Hamm, Menno Verbaten, Ken Steiger, Dave Hill, Ken Rosser, David Kief, and many others. In 2013, Connor completed his associate degree in bass performance, graduating as the Most Outstanding Player, and is now in the bachelor program. Dakota is nearing completion of his associate degree in guitar performance and sound engineering.

Taking aim at a diverse array of metal styles, thrown in with stylistic variations and unexpected genre changes, the band spent the first half of 2013 writing their new concept album, “Tall Tales.” After months of writing, transcribing and practicing, the band started laying down tracks for this behemoth. Similar to the first record, the album was recorded in Dakota’s home studio. Diemand took up drum duties, in addition to playing guitar. Tracking wrapped up, in February 2014, and the album is now slated to be mixed and mastered by studio pro, Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, Scale the Summit, and Perceptionist).

Unique, for an instrumental album, a fictional e-book will accompany “Tall Tales.” Inspired by Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, The Twilight Zone, Groundhog Day, To Build a Fire, and the Back to the Future series, the story tells of a man who awakes on a frozen tundra, with no memory of his past. He has to fight through time and space to save his family. The e-book is meant as a companion guide for the musical journey that is “Tall Tales.”

The band continues to rehearse and is close to solidifying a full line-up of musicians. They plan to be playing shows and melting faces before the end of the year. Until then, they will be keeping themselves busy with the promotion of the new album, rehearsing with new band members and adding to their large collection of online cover videos.

Stylistically, the band takes their cue from progressive metal frontrunners, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Haken, and Scale the Summit, as well as 70’s prog rock bands such as Yes, Kansas, Rush and Pink Floyd, among other influences. Dismayed with the overall mediocrity of modern popular music, Jedediah Smith hopes to help expand people’s musical horizons and open listeners’ ears to the musical possibilities of the future.