Joey Stuckey’s new music is heating up summertime. We stole some Q&A time with the Macon, Georgia producer and touring musician to learn more about the music and his upcoming plans.
1) Hey Joey thank you for joining us. What’s the most exciting part of releasing new music?
Thanks for having me, I am always honored to be able to share my music and story!
The best part about releasing new music, well—it is funny, I find that I am always excited about the most recent thing I have written:-) So, one of the best things about new music is that you get to share who you are at that moment with your friends, family and fans. It also means that you are doing something right because you have the opportunity to do something new. This means that your past effort at least made it possible to strive harder and make progress as an artist and writer and your next record might be the “big one”.
2) Tell us the meanings behind the lyrics to your favorites!
Lyrically, I write about a lot of things. I find that one needs to be mindful as an artist to make sure the art is accessible. So, if I write about something you can’t relate to, chances are you won’t be moved or inspired by what I have to say. Of course, there is the other side of that coin that I take very seriously which is the role of the artist to introduce people to new ideas and sources of thought and inspiration.
As a society, artists are critical to not only remind people of the past, acting like historians, but also to share ideas for a better tomorrow. I truly believe music is the most powerful force I know for positive change and it is as essential as clean water, food, clothing etc. It isn’t a disposable commodity but rather sustenance for the soul.
However, that isn’t what you asked me:-) My favorite lyrics are those that put on display my somewhat gallows sense of humor and my love of irony, so I would say songs like “Bad Dreams” from my 1999 album “Ironies, Pain, and The Light That Guide” is a favorite. It is in the same vane as the lyrics to my current single “You’re So Wrong”. Both of these are somewhat humorous and in a fun way talk about being in a bad relationship. Lots of whimsical lines like in “Bad Dreams”—“my confidence changed its legal name, says it’s moving where it doesn’t rain on its parade day and night while feebly trying to find an alibi for emotions fading like youth and people saying hey man what’s wrong with you, I just smile and lie”. This is basically talking about that erosion of self-worth when you love someone, but they don’t love you back, but they keep stringing you along promising to love, only to find they aren’t capable of love.
In the same way, in “You’re So Wrong”, there is the line where I say “Writin’ songs lookin’ for the right sound, that gets us to that penthouse downtown, they all say it comes in time, but I hate your reason and you hate my rhyme”.
Here I am relating a few things. First, how a relationship based on very different values can’t ever work! Also, how hard it is to be in the music business and how impossible it is if your spouse isn’t 100% on board with your passion for music. Sadly, I know several talented folks that don’t have that all-important support from their spouse, mate or even parents! I personally am blessed that my wife and my friends and parents are actually bigger fans of my music than I am, though I have had friends and girlfriends in the past that didn’t get it! In the case of “You’re So Wrong”, you might not be able to relate to being a musician and being on the road, however, we’ve all known someone that was what I call “fifty shades of wrong” and needed to be told so, for personal sanity if nothing else:-) That is why I think the chorus is so catchy—“You’re so wrong, Darlin’ that I wrote this song, cause I thought that you should know this time I’m really gone”.
3) How long were you in the writing and recording mode with this new project?
It is tricky as I make the bulk of my living as a recording engineer and producer and also a music educator. So sometimes my own music gets pushed to the back burner. However, I write all the time and record my music all the time. So I am always in some mode of writing or recording my music. In the case of the current album “In The Shadow Of the Sun” I had a period of heavy work in mid-2018 that was overdubs and mixing/mastering the album. I had to have a complete shoulder replacement at the end of October of 2018 and didn’t really get back to work until late February of 2019. So at the end of October of 2018, the record was in the can and just being pressed. We got all our CD’s, download cards, digital distribution and t-shirts by early March of this year and finally got the vinyl copies in late April.
The basic recording of guitar and lead vocals, bass and drums were all done in 2017 in about 3 hours at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis,TN. We were on tour and had a day off and I thought it would be fun to record at Sun Studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash and so many others made some of their seminal recordings. We did it just for fun, but when I got home with the tracks and gave them a listen, I was pleased with what we had done and decided to make it my next record. This is the first time I have ever paid for recording time as I have always owned my own studio (www.shadowsoundstudio.com). At Sun we were all in the same room with just a handful of mics, truly recording old school like they did in the 50’s and 60’s. At my studio, I’ll use upwards of 12 mics on just the drums:-). On the writing side of things for this record, I had a song that that was already released back in 1999, “ Still Me” but the trio I have with Charles Arnold and Nestor Jaenz did such a cool interpretation that we recorded it again. Also, we recorded another version of a song I wrote with my dear friend Charlie Hoskyns, who sadly passed away in 2017. This song, “Ain’t It Good To Be In Love”, is really special to me and features the legendary trumpet playing of Al Chez, of Tower of Power and The Paul Schaefer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band fame and also a 30-voice middle school choir.
For the first time, we also recorded a few covers and then I finally produced a studio recording of a fan favorite of mine I have been playing live since 1997 or so, “Truth Is A Misty Mountain”. I did write two brand new tracks for this album, “You’re so Wrong” and “Troubles Come In Threes”. I work fast because that is just how my mind and spirit work. I have 2 modes, full speed ahead and off:-) So I wrote these two new songs about 72 hours before the recording session and it took me about an hour to write both.
So, my rather verbose answer is all in all I probably worked on the record from start to finish about 3 months over the period of 18 months or so from late 2017 to early 2019.
4) Were you an integral part in the production process as well?
Oh yes, I acted as chief engineer and producer deciding the tone palate and picking who would perform on the record. I was the writer and arranger for all songs. Of course, I performed all lead vocals and all guitars and a few backing vocals and a smattering of keys and percussion. I also acted as executive producer worrying about marketing, budget, and all that fun stuff and drove the vision from start to finish.
One of my gifts is to surround myself with other talented people and to know who is the correct choice for each project. I get people I admire and tell them to just be themselves and do what they do, after all, that is why I am hiring them, because I love what they do. I don’t micromanage much, though I am not afraid to ask for what I want. I just work hard to get people involved that will either bring out a new side of my music or that already thinks in a similar way as I do.
5) Will your long term fans be in for any surprises soon?
Well, if I tell you that it won’t be a surprise:-) But I am excited to report that I have a lot of great new music that I am working on and will be releasing as soon as I have gotten all the good out of the current record. Also, I am working with a wonderful group of people that are working hard for me on my social media, marketing, booking and publicity. It takes time to put the right team together for any endeavor, but I think I have got a great team working smoothly and we are making great progress finding the right places to perform. So for my fans we’ll be coming to a venue near you and I am on the road performing, teaching and speaking more than ever before.
I’ll be in NYC in October for AES and we are lining up some great shows. In July, I’ll once again be working with and learning from my friend Alan Parsons and dropping in on a few LA venues and in late July, I’ll be in Detroit rockin’ some cool venues there. Check the concert calendar on www.joeystuckey.com to get all the dates and hit me up @jstuckeymusic on Twitter or IG and let me know a good venue to play in your hometown and we’ll do all we can to come perform!
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6) Touring plans to support the new music?
Yes, we just finished a killer tour of NYC, NJ and DC. One of the things I love best is meeting new people and experiencing new places. When I was a child my parents made sure to expose me to lots of different places and cultures. I was a very sick child as a result of the brain tumor that took my sight. But my mom and dad took me everywhere they could within my health limitations. I still have the same sense of wonder I did as a child and just love to explore life and the incredible places and people that make this world so amazing.
We have plans to be everywhere we are wanted:-) and we are already working hard on lots of shows, master classes and inspirational talks for 2020!
I would love to give a shout out to all the new friends we made on our recent tour of the Hotel RL Living Stage In Brooklyn, Coney Island Baby, Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse, Silvana, and Gypsy Sally’s. And again, I’ll be in LA, NYC and Detroit over the next few months.
7) Where can we find you on line?
All the usual suspects regarding digital content, iTunes, Amazon, CD baby, Spotify, Pandora, though I should let you know that my Pandora station features my jazz music and not the Progressive Americana that we are currently promoting.
And lots and lots of stuff on YouTube:
Like this lyric video for “You’re So Wrong” youtu.be/ICBHkWpgygQ
This behind the scenes video about my song “Aint It Good To Be In Love” youtu.be/0TzNmvRm8B4
And this music video for my track “Blind Man Drivin” youtu.be/hkhLDuMj2t0