Today we would like to introduce you to Honky Tonk Special.
Honky Tonk Special is a band we have been in relations with since we first started Country Underdog. These guys just love music and love playing it. They have this down-home sound that will get you moving on the dancefloor in no time. Keith Kire (Middle) is the frontman and plays acoustic guitar and drums. Joe Khlan is on piano/keys and vocals. Web Sparks plays steel guitar, fiddle and Sax. Jake Smith is on drums, acoustic guitar, and vocals. Tom Kindle is the lead guitarist, and Tracy Addison is on bass. These guys are about to release their first full album titled “Home To Texas”. We were blessed with a sneak peek of it and let’s just say we were blown away by the hit potential of the songs on the album. It is an expansive move forward into the future of this band. “Home To Texas” will be one of our top albums of 2020.
Interview with Honky Tonk Special
“Honkytonk Special is a 6-piece, traditionally influenced country band based primarily out of the Beaumont, TX area. The band got started pretty much when Keith got out of the Army. He came home and realized that the area was really lacking any “real” country music. There were hardly any bands with fiddle and/or steel guitar. So Keith set out to remedy that. Piece by piece Honkytonk Special was built into what it is today. The best thing about the band is 4 of the 6 members are all military veterans.”
Who are you inspired by?
“The group has a lot of varied influences, but some of the more common ones are guys like Keith Whitley, Daryle Singletary, Merle Haggard, and George Strait, to name a few.”
When did you first start playing music together?
“The group first formed back in 2013”
What’s the biggest problem you have had to overcome?
“Mainstream radio is the biggest issue really. With the state that radio is in, we’ve had some trouble getting our music out there to people outside our area. Thankfully, publications like this one have helped make that easier.”
If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
“I would change the blurred lines between genres. I would make country music actually country music again! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still out there, you just gotta know where to look to find it.”
Are there hidden meanings to your music?
“Our music is pretty straight forward, but we do focus on more of a heartbreak/storytelling lyric”
What is one venue you dream of playing?
“That’s a hard one to pick just one. Here’s the top of our list. Luckenbach, Gruene Hall, and Billy Bobs.”
Are you working on any new music?
“We have a new record coming out after the new year! It’ll be our first, full length, studio album. We mainly focused on bringing back the 80s/90s country sound. We took about a year and a half to put this record together. We focused on picking songs that ALL have hit potential, we didn’t want any “fillers” on the record. We’re calling back the days where you could listen to a record from start to finish and not skip any songs!”
Home To Texas
Home To Texas will be released on January 4th on any platform you listen to music.
Mark that date on your calendar because it is going to be phenomenal.
Listen to Their Music
Don’t have Spotify? Listen on any platform HERE
Follow Them On Social Media
Jacob Stelly Releases “Johnny Walker”
Between the lively tempo, and the opening verse “Hey Johnny Walker watcha doin’ in Louisiana, don’t you call East Texas home” I was hooked immediately. Get hooked on this absolute vibe from the Texas A&M and rising star Jacob Stelly.
Phone interview with Jacob Stelly
Reed: What is the background behind “Johnny Walker”?
Jacob: I wanted to write something about my grandfather, we called him Big John. He passed away when I was in fifth or sixth grade, great guy, but he he was one of the most interesting characters you’d ever meet. He was really just an old hippie. He went and hunted all of his food. He was a hell of a cook, he grew his own pot, and he would just literally just smoke weed pretty much every single day of his life.
So the idea was to write something about him. Then there’s this character, you know that the song is about Johnny Walker, and it all is kind of loosely based off of that drifter lifestyle that he that he led.
The actual name for the song Johnny Walker comes from, my lead guitar players grand grandpa, his name was Johnny Walker. I just I thought that was that name was just cowboys shit when I started writing. But the actual song tracks a story about this musician is kind of traveling all over the country playing music, and um, it’s just kind of three different kind of peeks into his life. He starts off in Louisiana then Chattanooga he’s playing songs for free all the way up to California, and he’s kind of made it at the end of the song. So the whole time it’s kind of a family member or a friend talking to him, asking “Well…what the hell are you gonna do when you’re not writing songs anymore? So that’s kind of where everything comes from and the inspiration behind Johnny Walker.
Reed: When I first listened to the song (for whatever reason) I heard it from the perspective of a sad guy driving down the highway running out of sad country tunes to listen to driving down the highway. This guy is sad and getting over a breakup or whatever in which he was drinking a bunch of JOHNNIE WALKER (the alcohol) haha. Eventually he gets over it, is happy again, reaches success, therefore Johnnie Walker (the alcohol) misses him because he isn’t sad and drinking anymore.
Jacob: Yeah, and so and you bring up a good point, the chorus part I have that kind of double meaning. The idea about it when I was writing it (if you’re looking at it from a really literal perspective) was that it’s somebody asking Johnny Walker, “What are you gonna do when you run out of songs? And, you know, if you assume that he’s a musician then you know, one day, this is all gonna come to an end, and he’s gonna have to figure something out. But, then there’s that other side of the token. A whole lot more general kind of perspective yeah… “What happens when you run out of sad songs to play when you’re going down the road? That’s a really cool perspective.
I’ve always been told that poetry, but especially music, is that 50% of it is the writer and 50% of it is what you bring to the table as the listener.
Reed: What’s your favorite lyrics from Johnny Walker?
Jacob: My favorite lyrics… I think I’d have to say, “Moon dog chasing the greyhound station while he’s young enough to roam”.
That came from a rough draft I had written for the song and it was way different. I was sitting in class one day because, I’m at A&M (and I’m almost done). When I was in class I was kind of humming the melody, you know, “just a moon dog chasing the Greyhound station while he’s young enough roam. And I kept going through my head with it. Like, okay! I really dig that.
Also I’m actually a big Matthew fan. I fucking love that movie The Beach Bum (Matthew McConaughey plays Moondog) That’s kind of where the the idea for that lyric came from. So if I had to pick a favorite line it would be that… “Just a moon dog chasing the Greyhound station while he’s young enough to roam”. It really encompasses the whole energy of the song in one line.
Reed: Where did you write the song?
Jacob: So the the song kind of started off as most of my songs start off; just a melody in my car I was driving to, I guess I was driving up to Shreveport, Louisiana or something. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It wasn’t until I got back to college station, sat in my room and smoked a little weed. That’s my thing I guess it gets me creative haha. So I did a little bit of that sitting in my room until about two o’clock in the morning, and it all came out in about 20 minutes. The first draft of it, um yeah. So I guess if I pick a location, I guess it’d be in my room under the influence of some good devil lettuce.
Reed: What else would you like to add about the song?
Jacob: Well, let me think. I love the song. It’s a little piece of me you know? I feel like I put in a lot of work to this particular song, but man, I mostly am just looking forward to what’s coming out next. I think this is just kinda showing everybody what we’ve been working on, and and the kind of style that we’re we’re kind of transitioning into. I just really like what we’re doing now. I really love the producers we’re working we’re working with. They used to play in six Market Boulevard and we’re working with them out in Stephenville. So, you know, I love the people were working with. I love the sound that that we are developing, and I just I can’t wait for what comes next!
Josh Serato & Ben Hussy (Producers)
Ben Hussy (Bass)
Jack Pirtle (Guitar)
Logan Bowers (Drums)
Jacob Stelly is managed by Dalton Domino & Honco Music Group. He is definitely in great hands over there. If Dalton Domino sees this kids potential (we surely do) and is investing his time into him… be prepared folks for more amazing music in the future.
Check out Jacob’s performance from our 2020 Country Underdog Award Show!
Single Spotlight: Jacob Melton “Pass It Around”
Jacob Melton is a 34 year-old male singer/songwriter from Short Mountain, TN . ‘Pass It Around’ was released back on December 17th! He describes his music as a rock/country mix(like a redneck Rob Thomas). His first solo project and “Self Titled” debut EP released April 10th, 2020. With such tracks as “90 Proof and Smooth”, “Concrete Rodeo” and “Live This Lie” there is absolutely a song everyone can connect with. Finding his own sound rooted in unforgettable melodies and southern soul, he brings a classic style to these modern days of cross-pollinating musical genres.
Interview with Jacob Melton
What is the backstory of ‘Pass It Around’
The song is about all the times we lived for the moment and then looking back and sharing all those memories with the friends e makes them with.
Where did you write the song?
I wrote the song around a bonfire in Temperance Hall, TN with my friend Seth Willowby
Favorite lyrics and their meaning
“I crossed that line a time or three. it’s how it goes being life of the party. Don’t throw stones just roll with me – we all make mistakes, take things too far.. but you have to chalk it up to lessons learned and move on.
What else would you like to say about the song?
The song was produced by Adam Shoenfeld
Are you working on any new music?
I am currently writing songs for a new full LP in 2021
Follow Jacob on Social Media
Single Spotlight: Hayley Giovinazzo “Lipstick on Your Car”
Interview with Hayley Giovinazzo
Tell me a little bit about you Hayley
I’m a 20-year-old singer/songwriter, from Massachusetts. I’ve been writing music since I was about 11 years old and playing guitar since around the same time. I’m currently a junior in college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin getting my business degree while pursuing music.
What’s the backstory of Lipstick On Your Car?
I’m not sure I should admit this haha but the song is actually a true story. One of my friends was cheated on, and so me, her, and a couple of our other friends decided to go to the guys car and write on it in lipstick. Unfortunately I think a lot of people can relate to the situation, but writing it I was hoping to give people who have been in the same situation some kind of release. Sometimes the only closure you need is calling someone out for what they did wrong.
Where did you write the song?
I wrote it while I was home from college for the summer in Massachusetts! I didn’t really plan on writing a revenge style song, but when I sat down to write the memory came to mind, and I thought it was too good of a story to not make into a song.
What’s your favorite lyric from the song?
I think my favorite lyric is “do you recognize this from the color of my kiss”, I think it paints a clear image of what’s happening. It’s about getting back at the guy using something that had good memories tied to it, the lipstick. He wrecked a good relationship by cheating, so he’s called out with a kiss goodbye.
What else would you like to add about the song?
While it’s a revenge style song, it’s also a song about letting go of someone who may have shown some red flags from the beginning. It’s the second song I’ve released, so I hope people enjoy it!
Are you working on any new music?
I am! I have two more releases coming in the next few months, but I am also writing a TON of music that I am already super excited for.
Follow Hayley Giovinazzo on other platforms