REVIEW: Greta Van Fleet – Black Smoke Rising (2017 EP)

GRETA VAN FLEET – Black Smoke Rising (2017 Republic records EP)

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.

4/5 stars


  1. Sounds a wee bit too derivative for my liking. Reckon if I wanted to listen to something that sounded this much like Led Zep, I would just listen to Led Zep.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These kids are smoking. I haven’t been blown away by a new band in a long time and these kids do it for me. I agree on Black Smoke Rising. That is more of what they probably will or should strive for. It is my favorite song on the EP. Good write-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Which begs the question – when does ‘influenced by’ pass the point of no return into ‘derivative’?
    Like you said though, they’re teens, so if it’s a sign of good things to come, that’s encouraging!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank You!!! My 21 year old son turned me on to greta Van Fleet back in January? I think. So I listened. Loved it. Primary Black smoke Rising. So I start making comparisons to Zeppelin at first. Later on I thought “Hey, they sound as much like Triumph as the do Zeppelin, primarily in the vocals.
    So I pulled out the old album and played some classic triumph. When “Fight The Good Fight Played” I said to my son, who was with me at the time, doesn’t this sound shockingly similar to Greta? He had to admit that I was right.
    So I googled the phrase “Greta Van Fleet sounds like Triumph “. I found out that others see it too. Awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jeff, thanks for the awesome comment! You are the first person I’ve heard say the same thing about Triumph. I heard some old Triumph on the radio today and still felt there are similarities to Greta.


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