What does it sound like?:
I’ve had this album about four or five months now and over that period it has become one of the most played records in our house, loved by both myself and my wife.
Stop reading now if you have no interest in Country/Country Rock/Americana because this album is packed with music that fits down that particular rabbit-hole. Superb music, but if pedal steel guitar sets your teeth on edge this is not an album for you. On the other hand, there is a constituency here that loves that sound and this review is very much for you.
I’d never heard of Amanda Ann Platt until July this year when I read a review of this album on the No Depression website. But it was strange review, written as an open letter of complaint because The Honeycutters have existed for a few years and now Amanda Ann (the songwriter and vocalist) has set herself apart from the other guys.
Despite the separation of elements he still loved the album. This led to a bit of investigation on my part via Spotify and damn! This is one hell of a fine album and being old-fashioned I wanted and bought a physical copy of it.
There’s a mix of love songs and songs about life in middle-America and some that I don’t know whether they are songs of experience or character sketches.
Songs like Eden (Twenty four aces of Indiana Farmland .. I lost my job in Boston and this is where I’m from… We’re living in the heartland and we’re learning to let that be enough) and Learning How To Love Him and clearly the latter while others like Long Ride and What We’ve Got are not so clear cut, while something like album opener Birthday and What We’ve Got seem more personal while later on the song Rare Thing sounds very personal but has a dedication on the sleeve to a pair of friends.
Excellent as The Honeycutters are throughout, perhaps the most affecting song on the album is Learning How To Love Him which comes from the same imaginative realm as Natalie Merchant’s Beloved Wife and John Prine’s Hello In There – a meditation on the latter days of life and like those two songs it’s utterly beguiling, extremely moving and worthy company for them. It’s just Amanda Ann solo; singing and finger picking her guitar and it’s beautiful.
The Honeycutters themselves are a four piece: Matthew Smith on pedal steel and electric guitar; Evan Martin on keyboards; Rick Cooper on bass and Josh Mulligan on drums. Their playing is faultless all the way through. The sound like a really tight, accomplished unit, laying down a groove here, creating a mood there adding to that galaxy of American backing bands who seem to be able to turn out effortlessly, great music. The band play it slow, play it faster, all the time providing the appropriate tones for Amanda’s warm voice. Nothing totally rocks out, but there’s no way you could describe the album as one paced. What we have here is a band able to hit the right note at exactly the right time.
I think I could have reduced this review to just seven words: This is a brilliant album – buy it.
But that would be less interesting for me and probably for you too.
What does it all *mean*?
There are so many talented singer songwriters out there waiting to be discovered and so many lesser talented who have had the good fortune to make it big (or as big as it can get these days)
Goes well with…
Defiant Rye Whisky
Might suit people who like…
Emmylou Harris, Margo Price, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and The Dixie Chicks