On the road with Small Houses

Songwriter Jeremy Quentin has earned friends and supporters in cities like Rochester during his difficult months-long tours around the States.

Jeremy Quentin, a native of Flint, Mich., has spent nearly a decade recording and touring with his folk project, Small Houses. His studio albums are rich and full-blooded, with percussion and guitar layers and vocal harmonies coloring the plaintive acoustic songs.

But on stage, Quentin stands alone, yelping his way through 50-minute sets and plucking the guitar held snug to his chest.

It’s not an act. The rustbelt spirit that permeates Quentin’s songwriting is present in the singer himself, who often takes to sleeping in his blue Subaru after a concert.

Amid the lighters and deodorant tubes and crumpled papers in the passenger seat, there’s a palpable sense of resignation as real as the curtains he’s strung up in the backseat to keep curious eyes out.

Life on the road for Quentin means putting the music first and the particulars -- a safe overnight parking spot, which Wal-mart he’ll wash up in that day -- second.

As Quentin arrived in Brooklyn for a show at Union Hall, he talked about the support he's gotten from cities that share his sensibilities, including Rochester. Without places like that, he said, Small Houses likely wouldn't be where it is today.

And where will Small Houses be tomorrow? It depends on who's offering up a couch, who's buying records at the shows and, of course, who's listening.

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