10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: December 2017

From a Dwight Yoakam protégé to an Australian singer-songwriter proficient in outlaw twang-rock

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King Leg
Emily Joyce8/10

King Leg

Sounds Like: If the Smiths grew up in the Nineties, had a sense of humor and were fronted by Roy Orbison

For Fans of: Dwight Yoakam, indie alt-country and, yep, Orbison and the Smiths

What You Should Pay Attention: A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Bryan Joyce grew up wanting to be a clown, admiring funnymen like Jerry Lewis and Jim Carrey. Though he played music as a teenager, he arrived in Nashville with a plan to attend med school, with music taking a back seat for several years. A stint working concessions at the Ryman Auditorium helped kindle a love for classic country, which became a noticeable influence on Joyce's rock & roll roots when he moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and got serious once more about performing. King Leg, named for a cockroach he'd once found under his couch, became a vehicle for channeling his various interests, mixing mod style with a campy, tongue-in-cheek sensibility. The band's debut LP, Meet King Leg, was co-produced by Dwight Yoakam — whom Joyce had met while waiting tables in Music City — and released in October by Sire Records.

He Says: "I actually grew up avoiding country music. I wasn't interested in it at all. When I moved to Nashville, I knew country was a big part of the town, but I was planning on looking for other rock players," Joyce says. "[King Leg] is kind of an amalgamation of everything that's influenced me since I was a child – starting out with Elvis, getting that bug, then the Beatle bug, and coming up through the new wave stuff I liked from the Eighties. Coming to L.A. made sense in a lot of ways because a lot of the music I grew up listening to was made here. [Yoakam] and the people here in L.A. saw through the jokes or novelty in my music and really found something deeper that maybe I wasn't even aware of."

Hear for Yourself: "Great Outdoors," an ode to the sprawl of the American landscape, highlights Bryan's Morrissey-esque voice and features a video co-directed by his mentor Yoakam. J.G.

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