By Maxim Mower
One of the most enchanting new voices in the liminal space between country and folk, Evan Honer spoke to Holler ahead of his highly anticipated performance at Dreamy Draw Music Festival 2023 to discuss his setlist, new music and more.
Dreamy Draw will already be hugely momentous for Honer due to it being his festival debut - but the fact that the country extravaganza is set to take place in Honer's home-state of Arizona inevitably makes the occasion all the more special.
Honer underlines, “This is my first festival ever so I am excited to experience a festival crowd”, before endearingly adding, “Most of my family will be coming, and a few of my friends as well”.
The fast-emerging artist stresses how his Arizona roots and his trips across the state-line have coloured his sound and storytelling, “Arizona has played a pretty big part in my music, and the experiences I've had here with friends have also played a big role. I spent four years living in Riverside, California attending California Baptist University, and most of my writing was done in my dorm room and when I was back home”.
The name of his debut album, West on I-10, was inspired by the long, winding drives he'd take to University, and the project is pervaded by the kind of evocative introspection and existential musings that seem to arise most potently when chasing a white line.
Since Evan Honer released West on I-10 in April, the singer-songwriter has shared a smattering of singles and his Julia DiGrazia-assisted live EP, Someone You Don't Know.
Tantalisingly, fans can look forward to more new music from Honer this Friday, November 3, “I will be releasing three live covers of my favourite songs on Friday, and then after that I will start releasing more singles that will be a part of my sophomore album”.
He's set his sights on an “April or May” 2024 release date for his West on I-10 follow-up, but Dreamy Draw Music Festival attendees will get a sneak preview of what to expect from the project.
Evan Honer reveals that he'll be “trying out a few new ones at Dreamy Draw. This is my third show with a full band, so I'm trying to get used to it. It's been awesome rehearsing and trying to come up with cool things to do at our shows”.
One of the most celebrated aspects of Dreamy Draw is its sonic diversity, with the line-up comprising a refreshingly eclectic mix of artists such as Midland, Lord Huron, Hailey Whitters, Trampled By Turtles, Breland, Stephen Wilson Jr., Nolan Taylor and more.
It's the perfect setting for Evan Honer to showcase his sparse, intricate songwriting and earthy arrangements, with the Arizona prodigy nimbly darting between country, folk and Americana.
As for the categories he feels the most affinity for, Honer shares, “I listen to a lot of different music and have gained inspiration from so many genres, but I would say I personally lean more towards indie-folk, Americana and emo-country”.
He then quips, “But if you want call it country too, I'll take that!” before emphasising how strict labels, boxes and boundaries don't factor into his creative process, “I don’t think identifying the genre matters too much in my eyes”.
Arguably one of the most renowned and revered genre-blenders in the industry is Tyler Childers, who has repeatedly rejected any attempts to bind him solely to the ‘Americana’ bracket of artists.
Childers is undoubtedly a key influence on Evan Honer's own style of music, with the up-and-coming artist paying homage to the Kentucky maverick in 2022 with a stellar cover of his fan-favourite, mythicised unreleased song, ‘Jersey Giant’.
Honer confirms Tyler Childers is on his bucket-list of duet partners, “Tyler Childers would be a dream to to collaborate with - I might be too starstruck to say anything though! He was the one that really got me into singing and playing guitar back in 2019, and was the first artist I felt a strong connection to. His lyrics made me feel something”.
As Evan Honer readies a big announcement for Monday, Dreamy Draw will present fans with the ideal opportunity to hear exactly why there's so much buzz around the ‘Mr. Meyers’ songsmith.
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