NYCS First Impression: Sykamore ‘California King’ EP
Canadian singer-songwriter, Jordan Ostrom, better known as Sykamore released a new extended play last Friday titled California King. This EP is a follow-up to her 2018 debut EP, Self + Medicine. Ostrom co-wrote all five tracks on the new record.
Sykamore grew up on a farm just outside of Calgary, Alberta, listening to the likes of country music icons, George Strait, Alan Jackson, and the Dixie Chicks. When she moved to Nashville, she signed with HOME Team Publishing, the company founded by Thomas Rhett and his father, Rhett Akins. Akins discovered her on Twitter and was quoted in saying “I read her name, I was curious…I saw her face, I was intrigued…I heard her voice, I was done.” California King, produced by ACM Award-winning producer, Michael Knox (Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson) is the first music to be released via Music Knox Records / Wheelhouse Records.
“Even before I started performing, music was always a means of escape for me,” Sykamore said in a recent press release. “I wanted to write a thank you to music for being a support system that was always there when I needed it.”
The first track, “Record High” is reminiscent of Eric Church’s “Record Year”, as Sykamore sings about how she uses her records as medicine to get her through difficult times. Sykamore has musical inspirations from many different genres and she refers to them in this track in a very creative fashion. Those artists include ACDC, Led Zeppelin, George Strait, David Lee Murphy, and Kenny Chesney, Gloria Gayner, Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvin Bishop, Prince, The Beatles, and Hank Williams. Listen to the song and see if you can catch all the references!
“I got an Amarillo by morning to get me through the night / Everything’s gonna be alright, I will survive / I’m on a record high”
Another cleverly written track, “Where to Find Me” is about someone who has had such a bad day and gets so down on themselves to the point where they feel lost. However, there is one person who helps them feel better and regain who they really are. Lyrically, it sounds like a song written by rising singer-songwriter, HARDY because the chorus, like in most HARDY songs, uses a lot of assonances. In a song such as “He Went to Jared”, HARDY writes “See him sitting there with a white horse and carriage, nearly three karats. He went to Jared, I went to the bar,” he uses that “air” sound to create a great hook. In “Where to Find Me”, Sykamore doesn’t just rhyme the last word of each line, she uses assonance to make the chorus more fun and catchy.
“‘Cause when I’m down, I swear you can read my mind / ‘Cause you know where to find me / When I forget what I’m worth, you remind me / When I can’t find the silver lining / Yeah, your light, it comes shining through”
“Out of Luck” is the third track on the album and is definitely her most vulnerable one. This song goes beyond your usual “one who got away” love story; it gives it an interesting twist. The first verse/chorus is all about her and how she is dealing with the breakup. She sings “If you only get one – a single shot at love. If you only get one, then boy, I’m out of luck.” In the second verse/chorus, she discusses the guy on the other side of the breakup. In the verse, she sings “Are you happy with things or do you reach for me, when you’re half asleep and your feeling weak” and goes on to say in the chorus “If you only get one, then boy, we’re out of luck,” meaning she knows they both messed up and that they were really meant for each other.
The title track, “California King” is about the type of man who peaked in high school and still thinks he’s all that. He believes everyone should know his name and all the girls will catch feelings the instant they lay eyes on him. Sykamore can immediately see that in this man, cutting him down to size and not falling for any of his pick-up lies.
“You walk around like you deserve a crown / You think that I’ll free-fall, you’re so Tom Petty / Like I heard about you all over town / So get down off your white horse tonight / You’re such a California King”
The EP ends with the most fun, upbeat tune, “Local Singles.” This song would be perfect for your tailgate/pre-game playlist to get you and your friends ready to hit the town. Sykamore says that the reason the bars are buzzing is due to all the local single girls looking to go out and have a good time.
“We keep the neon flowin’ in those “Cold Beer” signs / We’re the only reason they don’t roll up the streets at night / This town would be a bust if it wasn’t for us / Your local singles, drinkin’ doubles”
There is clearly a lot of singing and song-writing talent here. With Sykamore signing to HOME Team Publishing and already being recognized as one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country”, we can foresee a future in which she goes from opening for Thomas Rhett on tour, to becoming one of the biggest, most influential women in country music.
To keep up with Sykamore, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
California King is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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