The Honeycutters: No Accident They Produce Sweet Music
No gluten. No artificial sweetener. Nothing genetically modified. No harmful additives of any kind. It's all just pure music.
There's a good reason the band The Honeycutters' studio label is named "Organic Records." Kim Ruehl of Folk Music About says, "Their music embodies a very catchy, accessible, optimist sort of spirit so frequently lacking in folk music circles, hyper-analytical reigns supreme. What's more, they're a great band replete with tasty harmonies." And no less an authority than Music City Roots critic Craig Havighurst calls their music "Just superb, with a sweet-toned and melodious aura."
Part of creating that melodious aura is founder and lead vocalist Amanda Platt, a gifted songwriter whose creation "Little Bird" was a finalist in the prestigious competition at Merlefest. The song has been described as "delving deep into the darker realms of love."
But their melancholy side is balanced by "the up-tempo, beer-raising, danceable songs" such as "Ain't It the Truth" and "Jukebox." The latter, an admonition to those who take life too seriously, contains the line, "It’s only a song / so for heaven’s sake won’t you sing along?”
"In times like these, people want something real," Platt says. "They're just really craving something that's going to connect them to that basic human pool of emotion." She recalls growing up listening to her father's large record collection, which tended toward classic country, so it's not surprising that critics have compared her vocal vibe to Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, and say that "The Honeycutters" will especially appeal to fans of contemporary artists Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams. Which is a paradox, since Platt cites her main influences as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.
The five-piece group has played at Merlefest and a dozen more fan-favorite festivals, and has appeared on the same stage with artists such as Guy Clark, The Seldom Scene, Tony Rice, and Billy Joe Shaver. Their newest album is "Me Oh My," whose songs contain such plaintive lines as "Well, look at you / You're like a pony with a broken leg / You're only scared 'cause you can't run away / And you know what's coming next..."
The band's stage instrumentation is made up of Matt Smith on pedal steel, dobro, and guitar, Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on upright bass and drum-player Josh Milligan who doubles on harmony vocals. Their new album brought in an electric group of guest musicians, ranging from cornet to fiddle, as well as Platt's father on harmonica.
Perhaps Amazon, all of whose reviewers give the newest album five stars, says it best, noting that the band is: "free of twang and ten-gallon hats but full of real emotion, family history, quick wit, and strong liquor."