By John Ostapowicz
With over 40,000 streams on Spotify and a track with 2.4 million streams, the Jacksonville, Florida band Honey Hounds incorporates funk, rock, pop and soul into traditional delta blues.
Comprised of guitarist and lead vocalist Nick Izzard, drummer Tyler Watts, bassist Nathan Ranew and keyboardist Max Zargon, Honey Hounds has released two LPs, an EP and 12 singles, with the song “Spinach” being the band’s most streamed track across all music platforms.
From living on a sailboat in Key West, Florida to busking on city streets, the musical duo of Izzard and Watts released the band’s debut album “No Sleep” in 2016.
The band originally started as N.W. Izzard, which combined reggae and blues rock, but the band’s repertoire expanded and prompted a fresh start.
The addition of Ranew in 2018 sparked the official name change to Honey Hounds. Izzard said the change is credited to the band’s increased interest in rock and roll.
“Being blues fans, we wanted something that sounded bluesy that was still playful,” Izzard said. “We settled on the Honey Hounds because it described the vibe and the band’s energy.”
In 2021, Honey Hounds added Zargon, which completed the band’s current lineup.
The creative partnership between Izzard and Watts began in 2014 when the pair started to write music and build a network for the band to gain traction.
The collaboration led to international shows, an opportunity to perform on the cruise line Virgin Voyages and a television appearance on News4JAX.
The band’s fan base has spread beyond Florida, with Texas and Colorado as some of Honey Hounds’s biggest markets. Watts said he looks forward to hitting new venues as the band consistently draws in new fans.
“There’s always a little bit of anticipation when you get to a new market, never playing there before and to see who shows out and supports us,” Watts said. “It’s refreshing and a nod that you are on the right path.”
While songwriting, Izzard takes inspiration from Albert King, Amy Winehouse, Chris Isaak and Josh Homme. Izzard said he is constantly listening to new music that inspires him to experiment with Honey Hounds’s sound.
“With rock and roll in general, there are not many rules to it, you can get a little weird and experiment here and there with tonality,” Izzard said.
The band’s discography features several different genres that can be heard on tracks such as “Going Down Tonight,” “I Got What You Need” and “Shine On.” Watts credits the bands broadening musical horizons for its diverse sound.
“It’s hard to put your finger on [it], our catalog is all over the place, but there is still a common thread of Honey Hounds running through it,” Watts said.
With the start of 2024, Honey Hounds is currently working on a third full-length album and gearing up to host its annual Honey Island Music Festival on Feb. 24 at the Dutton Island Preserve in Atlantic Beach, Florida.