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Years before he released records like 2016’s Gaslight and 2018’s Antenna Like a Lightning Rod, Deemer grew up in inner-city Baltimore. The FM radio was always on, filling the family household with a soundtrack of rock, pop, folk, and soul songs. He sang along to his favorites, laying the foundation for a career that would eventually find him sharing stages with Larkin Poe, Jesse Malin, and others. Before long, Deemer was making music of his own, graduating from the noisy clatter of his earliest recordings — which he strummed on a three-string guitar discovered in the back of his sister’s closet — to the focused sounds of his first professional bands, including the Shadowmen and Vulgaria.
Vulgaria gradually morphed into the Kurt Deemer Band, whose ranks included longtime collaborators like drummer Steve Rose and guitarist John Christensen. Both of those musicians had been playing with Deemer since Vulgaria’s heyday, resulting in a rich, deep chemistry that brought albums like World Upside Down to vivid life. Laced with electric guitar, organ, gang vocals, driving grooves, and harmonica, those records nodded to Deemer’s heroes — including Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, and the Replacements — while exploring new territory, turning his classic influences into something singular.
Reclaim the Night turns a new page, with songs that focus not on the forces that threaten to pull us apart, but the love and hope that can bring us back together. “I wanna wrap my arms ‘round this world, hold her like a lost little girl, tell her it’s gonna be all right,” Deemer sings in “Reclaim the Night Part 1,” displaying an optimism that wasn’t always so easy to find on the fiery World Upside Down. Likewise, “All the Love” is an open-armed anthem about compassion’s ability to repair the burned bridges between us, while “Sweetness and Light” creates its own uplift with jangling guitar chords and a meteoric chorus. On “Weeds,” he even extends a helping hand to someone lost to addiction, promising that “real love is free…you can call on me.”
For more than two decades, Kurt Deemer has made workingman’s rock & roll inspired by the trials and triumphs of the contemporary world. Already hailed by outlets like Americana UK for his “driving ahead roots-rock,” he brings new drive and dimension to Reclaim the Night, an album whose acoustic-driven songs pack every ounce of power as their electrified counterparts. It’s an album of hope and heart-on-sleeve honesty, delivered by a songwriter who, more than 20 years into his career, is still finding new directions to grow.