Steve Perry has joined forces with Irish folk group The High Kings for their new single - and he's told us why

Steve Perry recording in the studio, and The High Kings
(Image credit: The High Kings)

Steve Perry has made a surprise guest appearance on a new single from the Irish folk group The High Kings, The Streets Of Kinsale, which is released today. 

Talking to Classic Rock, the reclusive former lead singer of Journey has also confirmed rumours of a duet with country superstar Dolly Parton on Parton’s upcoming rock album, said to be titled Rock Star. The pair worked together on a new version of Journey’s Open Arms.

Perry became involved with The High Kings through a friendship with the song’s writer, Glen Power, drummer of Irish group The Script. 

“I thought the song was beautiful and the more I listened to it the more fascinated I became, so I went to my home studio and started stacking some vocal harmonies against what was already there,” Perry tells Classic Rock. “The band really loved the results, so I ended up singing on the master-track.”

“When we heard what Steve had done to our song, I had to sit down,” says Darren Holden from The High Kings. “In the studio we zoned out everything else and just listened to Steve’s wall of sound. It was so astonishing my jaw hit the floor; there were tears in my eyes. It’s something that only Steve can do with that tone that the world loves and knows.”

Based on separate sides of the Atlantic band and singer are yet to meet face to face but although Perry isn’t planning to make stage cameos with The High Kings when they tour America, the way he did with the US alternative band Eels in 2014 – his first time onstage as a lead singer in 19 years – it’s something that he won’t rule out.

“You never know,” smiles Steve. “But it’s a good idea and I do love the guys. Darren’s voice is scary. If it were to happen, I might be a bit intimidated.”

“Oh, come on Steve – seriously?” responds Holden. “But we would love to have Steve to sing with us at some point. Who wouldn’t?”

Having kept a very low profile since leaving Journey for the second time in 1998, Perry is in no hurry to follow up his fourth solo album, 2021’s Christmas set The Season. However, he was thrilled to record with Dolly Parton for her album which is reported to feature the likes of Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Nikki Sixx, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin and pop singer Pink.

“I’ve still got so much [of my own new] music backed up in my studio, but the truth is that I’m a bit lazy,” Perry admits with a mild chuckle. “Right now, I’m only doing things that I can really emotionally connect with. Anything else, I kind of pull away from.

“The duet between Dolly and I on Open Arms has just been mixed by Chris Lord-Alge and it sounds great,” he reveals. “Dolly told me she had always loved the song and wanted to sing it on an album. Open Arms has been recorded many, many times down the years, but, honestly, she killed it. Dolly is singing her tush off.”

The High Kings play this evening (April 28) at the Talbot Hotel in Tipperary, Ireland, before embarking on a tour of Australia and New Zealand next month. The band's UK and Ireland schedule runs throughout June, with US shows in July. Full dates below. 

The High Kings 2023 Tour

Apr 28: Tipperary Talbot Hotel, Ireland

May 11: Fremantle Mojos, Australia
May 12: Perth Rosemount Hotel, Australia
May 13: Adelaide The Gov, Australia
May 18: Brisbane The Triffid, Australia
May 19: Melbourne Croxton Bandroom, Australia
May 20: Sydney Manning Bar, Australia
May 24: Auckland Tuning Fork, New Zealand

Jun 01: Carlow Visual, Ireland
Jun 02: Balbriggan The Lark, Ireland
Jun 03: Castleblaney Glencarn Hotel, Ireland
Jun 04: Loughrea Hotel, Ireland
Jun 09: Wicklow The Arklow Bay Hotel, Ireland
Jun 10: Ennis Glór Theatre, Ireland
Jun 15: Bradford Ilkley Kings Hall, UK
Jun 16: Manchester The Lowry, UK
Jun 17: Edinburgh The Queens Hall, UK
Jun 18: Sunderland Firestation, UK
Jun 20: Bristol St Georges Hall, UK
Jun 21: Liverpool Epstein Theatre, UK
Jun 23: Birmingham Town Hall, UK
Jun 24: London Shepherds Bush Empire, UK
Jun 30: Sligo Park Hotel, Ireland

Jul 06: Eau Claire Pablo Center At The Confluence, WI
Jul 07: Bloomington Center For Performing Arts, IL
Jul 08: Indianapolis The Vogue, IN
Jul 09: Des Plaines Theatre, IL
Jul 12: Ann Arbor The Ark, MI
Jul 13: Cincinnati Memorial Hall, OH
Jul 14: Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, OH
Jul 15: Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, OH
Jul 16: Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, OH
Jul 18: Warrendale Jergel's Rhythm Grille, PA
Jul 19: Annapolis Rams Head On Stage, MD
Jul 20: Annapolis Rams Head On Stage, MD
Jul 21: Hopewell The Beacon Theatre, VA
Jul 23: Waterville Opera House, ME
Jul 26: Clayton Opera House, NY
Jul 27: Laconia Therte, NH
Jul 28: Rockport Shalin Liu, MA
Jul 29: Rockport Shalin Liu, MA
Jul 30: Nashua Center for the Arts, NH

Sep 30: Dublin National Stadium, Ireland

Tickets are available via the High Kings website.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.