Crooksville native Joey Adams is on a country music mission

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – The music is stained in the fabric of Joey Adams’ soul.

Ever since he was a child watching parents Troy and Linda Adams sing and choose songs with friends, he was drawn to the entertainment.

It wouldn’t be long before the Crooksville native found his own niche. That’s exactly what he did in the Appalachian foothills of the West Virginia Panhandle.

Adams, 21, learned to play guitar in high school. It wasn’t until he started studying marketing at West Liberty University, just a few miles from Wheeling and the famous Capitol Music Hall, where he began a journey into country music.

It all started with his acoustic guitar playing and singing for friends on campus. This turned into songwriting and the songs were eventually recorded on Apple Music and Spotify. His music reflects his varied background – a bit of old school country and bluegrass, a bit of country with a modern rock sound.

“It’s just a good mix to strike a good balance between the two,” Adams said.

According to his website,, Adams “combines both the rock n’ roll he grew up in and the Appalachian bluegrass he grew to love.”

He has released EPs – ‘As Good As It Gets’ and ‘My Home’, both in 2021 – and is preparing to release his first full album in 2023.

“I wrote catchy songs that all my friends were singing, I just started playing in bars and from there I started putting my music out there,” Adams said.

Crooksville native Joey Adams is an independent country artist with original releases.  Currently living in Wheeling, West Virginia, and studying at West Liberty, he has four dates in the area this summer.

When COVID-19 hit in 2020 and shut down most bars in the Ohio Valley and beyond, he lost the ability to get his music live to the public. Luckily, he had a college buddy with a music degree and plenty of drive – Ryan Smurthwaite, an Akron-Canton area native, excels in instrumental music and production.

Adams met Smurthwaite at West Liberty as a freshman, when Smurthwaite was a senior. It has been a harmonious relationship.

“We got together to eat in the middle of Wheeling and from there we went,” Adams said. “I told him what songs I wanted to release and it kind of took off from there. He co-wrote the instrumental parts for all the songs, and we used a distribution service to get things out on all the streaming platforms. just continued from there.”

Like many budding artists, it started in front of friends in Wheeling-area bars before crowds overflowed on weekends singing along to his music. It helped him pay his bills.

When he released the single “As Good As It Gets”, it was released nationwide in various cities and eventually expanded to other countries. He and Smurthwaite have collaborated on 13 original releases — and Adams appreciates their ability to share ideas.

National and global growth is something he never thought possible.

“When I released my second EP, ‘My Hope,’ that’s when everything doubled and tripled in terms of listeners and streams,” Adams said. “I have listeners all over the country. I have big groups of listeners in Seattle, Denver, and Austin, Texas, places I’ve never even been, and a lot of people are listening to my music.”

Although he has a degree in marketing and is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration, he admits he doesn’t care about school and thinks a permanent day job ‘seems absolutely terrible’ .

He may not like school, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t pay attention or didn’t have a plan, on the contrary. He chose marketing for the sole purpose of learning how to promote his brand and understand market research and viewership data.

He cited country stars Brad Paisley, another West Virginia product and West Liberty graduate, and Eric Church among current artists with a background in marketing.

“A lot of great artists were marketing or business majors,” Adams said. “I could have majored in music, but I don’t think that would help me the most.”

Despite a useful degree, creating music is his #1 priority. He longs to travel the country.

“I think that’s the end goal of any artist who wants to make a name for themselves,” Adams said. “That’s basically what I do. I don’t expect to be a millionaire country singer who’s super famous or anything, but I want to make a living and I want to travel with him whenever possible. . “

He said Troy and d’Linda were on board.

“One hundred percent,” Adams said. “But they’re realistic in a way. They know that, ‘Okay Joey, until you make money off this’ – and I make money on shows, I make money on streams – ‘you need to have money going in to make money.’ That’s the truth I’m a bartender a few days a week (at Bridge Tavern) in Wheeling it’s just stuff like that to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head until the music comes on become full time.

While he hasn’t ruled out a move to Nashville in the future for networking purposes, he’s far from tied to it. He talked about top artists, like Sturgill Simpson and Cody Jinks, who shunned major labels to stay true to their own sounds.

It’s independent artists like this that provide the model for what Adams wants – to stay close to his roots and his writing.

“They play stuff they like and stuff their listeners like, instead of going for what the label tells them to do,” Adams said. “I really resonate with that. I don’t want to make music for anyone other than me and the people who appreciate it. I don’t want to be an artist who’s here just trying to get more streams and listeners.”

Adams can be found on Facebook at Joey Adams Music on Instagram at @thejoeyadams. His videos are also available on YouTube.

It has seven shows scheduled through mid-September, including the Smiling Skull Saloon on Friday in Athens and the Crooksville-Roseville Pottery Festival on July 15. It is also scheduled for the fourth annual Outdoor Bash in Adamsville on September 16.

He is happy to head home.

“I love that I’m from Crooksville because a lot of country music comes from that rural, small-town energy,” Adams said. “You hear a country song that’s about country or small town life, what else can you think of but Crooksville? There’s no better inspiration for music along those lines. “

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamBlackburnTR

Comments are closed.