It isn’t often that you will come across a singer, whose vocals are so innocent and pure that they need very little, if any, tweaking to them. Sydney Adams is one of those talented singer-songwriters that has a gift unlike many others yearning to be a performer. The Corbin, Kentucky native has been performing since she was 12 years old. The quiet and shy pre-teen was tricked by her mom to perform at the Bell County Fair.
“I was so nervous that I remember clinching my fists against my pants. I was wearing my tracksuit, not even a real professional outfit to be performing on stage,” Sydney recalls. “I performed Alicia Keys’ song, ‘If I Ain’t Got You.’ Somehow I ended up winning the talent contest. Over time, I still have those nerves, but I’ve gained confidence along the way.”
Sydney would be right on gaining confidence as one evening she posted a comment on Kentucky Country Music’s Facebook page in regards to a question asking followers to list female singers of Kentucky that we should check out. After checking out her cover of, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” (written by Laurel County native Darrell Scott), we were begging for more.
In December, Sydney was featured on Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen Christmas special that aired on KET television channel throughout Kentucky.
Over the last 8 months, Sydney Adams has been working on her first EP release, “Always Home to Me.” During the process, she had a Kickstarter to help her supporters to contribute to the project in exchange of different merchandise options.
According to Sydney, “I was very surprised by the amount of support from family and friends. I went from asking ‘what if we don’t meet the goal’ to ‘we ARE going to meet the goals.” It wasn’t long after starting that campaign that she exceeded her goals.
When it comes to songwriting, Sydney Adams has honed in her craft. At the young age of 15, she wrong “Half Empty.” The song is the opening track of the 5 song EP release. The slow and sultry song speaks drinking away the memory of a heartache that keeps haunting someone. “Interestingly enough, I don’t drink, but that song just came to me. I ended up writing it in 15 minutes,” Sydney said.
While there may be songs of eastern Kentucky, there are not many songs about the Cumberland Valley region. With a driving sound with banjo, bass, fiddle, and guitar, Sydney Adams reflects on life in Corbin with “Always Home to Me.” The song was inspired while living outside of the area years ago. “My husband and I lived in Maryland for 2 years before moving back to Corbin,” recalls Sydney. “I felt like there was a whole piece of my life was missing. That part was my home in southeast Kentucky. My mom helped co-write the song. My parents have been a big influence with my music as mom loved the funk and soul style and dad loved traditional country music. I think you hear both in my music.”
When Sydney Adams returned back to Kentucky, she enrolled into Hazard Community Technical College’s Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music. It was there that she learned how to truly craft her unique sound via the instruction from legendary musicians Bobby Osborne, Dean Osborne, Scott Napier, and Virgil Bowlin.
“Long Way to Memphis” was originally going to be a fast song. However, to get the full effect of lonesome, it worked out better to be a slower song. Whether it is Memphis, or heaven, the song brings the sorrow of leaving home. The overall song reminds one of something that Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, or Rory Feek would record.
Released as her first single, “I Don’t Care,” is an upbeat tune that truly could be an anthem for many that don’t care what others think. “I’ve had so many people telling me what they didn’t like about me, that I was inspired to write something to tell them I don’t care,” Sydney recalls. “We live in a negative world at times and this song really could uplift others.” The 22 year old is very right with this song to let the world know that one should tend their own garden and not worry about what others think.
The final song on the 5 song-EP is “Bringing Her Memory Home,” and you cannot help but think it was something that Tammy Wynette would sing. The song asks if her loved one is bringing home the memory of a previous love. The heartache is felt in Sydney’s vocals, even though she is happily married in real life.
Sydney Adams was enthusiastic in talking about recording at Gem City Studios in Jellico, Tennessee. “The album was produced by Matt McQueen and my guitar playing Dustin Lambdin helped on some songs. Dustin also helped co-write some parts of songs to help improve them,” according to Sydney. “I was very fortunate to have Smith Curry, Ross Holmes, and other Nashville musicians to perform on the album.”
On Friday, July 12th, the dream of releasing an album will come true. Sydney Adams’ release “Always Home to Me,” is a true reflection of what Kentucky music sounds like. You can hear the country, bluegrass, as well as soul and funk influences within the record. Her heritage is clearly on display through her songs. Her personality, musical style, and songwriting has made Sydney Adams one of Kentucky Country Music’s New Artists to Watch for 2019.
Be sure to pick up a copy of “Always Home to Me” at one of her shows, as well as via download on Spotify, I-tunes, Amazon, etc. You can catch up on the latest at www.sydneyadamsmusic.com, as well as on her Facebook page.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.