Americana singer-songwriter Joey Harkum recently released his new album, Salt and Tar, which, according to Joey, “is a collection of songs that all revolve around new beginnings. New life, new expectations, and a new mentality. Leave the bad behind and look forward to the good in life.”
Joey Harkum has been strumming a guitar for his entire life, and after a decade of touring as the lead singer and songwriter of Baltimore-based folk meets reggae-rock band Pasadena, he released his debut solo album, Love and Labor, to critical acclaim in 2016.
Known for his profound and poignant lyrics telling stories of joy, love, loss, and sadness, Joey brings the human experience to life. In 2018, he released Live at Buffalo Iron Works, followed by Storyboard in 2021.
Comprised of eight tracks, entry points on Salt and Tar include the title track, opening on gleaming guitars that conjure up suggestions of The Allman Brothers Band as a result of the southern blues rock tangs, drawling, and creamy.
“Sick and Tired” is a track about drug addiction. Joey grew up in a blue-collar community near the Chesapeake Bay, where circumstances and the absence of opportunities led many to fall prey to drugs. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, Joey’s voice trembles with emotion as he imbues the lyrics with intense passion.
“Cuz I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired / It’s like every day I’m just feeding the fire.”
A personal favourite, “Respect” rolls out on a low-slung rhythm topped by Joey’s folk-flavoured tones, sitting somewhere in the middle of Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Dylan. Whereas “Regrets” features darker colours and Joey’s cutting inflections, giving the lyrics gravitas.
The intro to “The Muse” travels on a folk guitar, followed by the deep colors of double bass, imbuing the tune with thrumming subterranean textures. The duality of sonic hues, one luminous, the other murky, infuses the harmonics with responsive savors.
“Long Way Home,” the final track blends folk with elusive hints of unplugged punk dynamism. Rife with impassioned timbres, Joey’s vocals give the lyrics an edgy feel.
“Drowning slow / High on hope / Lord, I know it’s a long way home.”
Essentially an exploration of life, on Salt and Tar, Joey Harkum reveals the little things that give living meaning.
Salt and Tar Track Listing:
1. Salt and Tar
3. Sick and Tired
5. Loving Arms
7. The Music
8. Long Way Home
Run Time: 20:18
Release Date: April 15, 2022
Record Label: Joey Harkum Music