Inspired by his love of California rock and frequent songwriting trips to Nashville, singer-songwriter, and Babysguitarist, Joey Sykes has formed a new project, Honey River. A trio that blends the influence of country-rock artists like the Eagles, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne with well-crafted lyrics and insatiable melodies.
Joined by Jay Mags (vocals/bass/guitar) and Chris Vincent (guitars/vocals/dobro/mandolin), Sykes and Honey River have recently released their first single and video, “Peace, Love”. An infectiously harmonic track that calls for a simpler time in an ever-changing and volatile world.
AXS recently spoke with Joey Sykes about Honey River and their forthcoming album, I Miss America, songwriting and more in this exclusive new interview.
AXS: How did your new project, Honey River, come about?
Joey Sykes: I’ve been going to Nashville for the last twelve years and have written with some of the most amazing writers. During this time, I’ve been piling up a lot of really great songs and was disappointed that they weren’t getting their due. I’ve always been a fan of the Southern California and country-rock genres and it inspired me to go for it. I pulled in a few great drummers on the album, including Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty). I wanted to make the record I wanted to make and I’m really proud of it.
AXS: How would you describe the music of Honey River?
JS: First and foremost, it’s always about the song. The eleven songs on this record are very strong, both lyrically and melodically. As far as a sound, Americana and country rock are good ways to describe it. There are country elements in the lyric writing and harmonies, but it also has the Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and Eagles kind of rock.
AXS: What was the songwriting process like?
JS: Whenever I get in a room with someone, I’ll usually be the one to throw out the musical idea and melody. But the thing that’s great about working with Nashville lyric writers is that they’re able to dig in and craft a really clean story. I just love that. That’s what I learned on for the bulk of this album.
AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new album, beginning with “Peace, Love”.
JS: That was a song I wrote myself. The world seems to be at a crossroad right now. I’m not a news junkie but it always seems to be in your face. “Peace, Love” is really just a simple summary. Is it too much to ask to just live our lives, have a laugh here and there and have peace? To just be happy with whatever you are whatever level you’re at? It’s a simple thought but that’s what the song is about. It’s a very timely message.
AXS: How about the track, “I Miss America”?
JS: We’re shooting a video for that one right now. Anyone who sees the title might think its political but it’s not. It’s basically just me writing about what I miss about growing up and what America meant to me as a kid. Simpler things once again. It’s about the things you have growing up that, as you get a little older, don’t seem to be as readily available as they were when you were younger.
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Interview with Joey Sykes by Clicking Here!