Sometimes a tune just comes outta nowhere and takes over. Greta Van Fleet’s very Zeppelin-like “Highway Tune” is one such song. Who are Greta Van Fleet? Three young brothers and a buddy from Frankenmuth, Michigan of all places! (These guys weren’t even born yet when I was last in Frankenmuth singing Zeppelin karaoke, so I cannot claim to have influenced them at all.) They describe themselves as “a blues influenced rock n roll band picking up where classic rock left off”. Black Smoke Rising is their second EP, after the very rare Greta Van Fleet: Live in Detroit (2014).
They call themselves “blues influenced”, but the truth of the matter is that they sound like the second coming of Led Zeppelin. That’s not a terrible thing, and given their ages, certainly forgivable. They have a whole career ahead of them in which to grow. The good news is that regardless of the various shades of Zep, all four tracks are excellent.
Singer Joshua Michael Kiszka is a born star. At times he’s a dead ringer for young Robert Plant. At others he’s more like Andrew Stockdale. He also shows his own character and lung power. The point is, this guy is special. Not that anyone in the band is a slouch, but there is one obvious immediate standout.
It’s easy to compare these tracks to earlier ones. “Highway Tune” is a bit of an amped-up “The Rover”. Zep bleeds into “Safari Song”. You can hear “Down By the Seaside” and “Your Time Is Gonna Come” at the tail end of “Flower Power”. Their most unique song is closer “Black Smoke Rising”. If anything it sounds more like “Fight the Good Fight” by Triumph than anything like Zeppelin, but it’s more than that. It sounds like a hint of what this band can progress into.
Keep an eye on Greta Van Fleet and by all means, get this EP.