A young Keith Sykes walked into a pawn shop on Memphis famed Beale Street and paid $20.00
for his first guitar. Since that day music has been Sykes sole passion, and he has made a name
for himself as a performer, guitarist, songwriter, producer and publisher contributing to projects
as diverse as Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Todd Sinder, Roseanne
Cash and Patty Loveless.
Now on his tenth record Don't Count Us Out, Sykes showcases not only his finely honed talents,
but those of some of his dearest and most talented friends as well. All with a confident
A native of Murray, Ky., Sykes moved to Memphis when he was eight years old. He bought the
guitar the day after Christmas while he was a senior in high school. The day after he earned his
diploma, his mother gave him a lift to the edge of town where he began a two year odyssey of
hitch-hiking and odd jobs and ultimately ending up in New York City to showcase at the Bitter
end coffee house.
That led to his stint on the National Coffee House Circuit where he played some 75 colleges and
numerous concerts all across the US. At the same time, his songs were beginning to be recorded
by various artists such as The Gentrys and The Lonesome Rhodes, Jerry Jeff Walker and
McKendree Spring. He recorded his first two records for the Vanguard label and starred in the
Japanese movie Summer Soldiers.
From New York Sykes moved to Austin, Tx. then Key West, Fl. where he met Jimmy Buffett.
Buffett later recorded two of Sykes songs for the Son of a Son of a Sailor album and Sykes then
joined him in the Coral Reefer Band. It was then he and Buffett co-wrote the parrot head anthem
Sykes has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits. He has been featured in Time
and Newsweek magazines and garnered record reviews in Rolling Stone.
As a writer or co-writer or publisher, Sykes has had one or more songs on one of Billboard's
charts from 1978 to 1984, and again from 1986 to this year. His covers range from George
Throughgood to The Judds. His production credits run from John Kilzer to B.J.Thomas. Ask him
his favorite project and he's sure to say mentoring Todd Snider. "Todd wrote for the publishing
company for five years and I got him his record deal at MCA/Margaritaville. The best thing is
we are still friends".
Sykes has hosted a songwriter showcase on Beale Street for 10 years, where he has been joined
by some of the most accomplished writers of our time. (see the web site for a listing of writers)
Along with Kelcy Warren, Sykes has built a label, Syren Records, and a recording studio, The
Woodshed. (more on these at www.syrenrecords.com)
Keith Sykes is back as an artist full time turing, recording and writing. You could say full circle,
but Sykes would say it's all part of the road. That crazy road we all call music.
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