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The music of Amanda Anne Platt and her band, The Honeycutters (Matt Smith on pedal steel, Stratocaster: Rick Cooper, bass; Josh Milligan, drums, harmony vocals and Evan Martin, keys, Telecaster) is fully energised, artful when needed suit Platt’s hugely intelligent lyrics. Her songs get under your skin and finger nails as she reflects on days when she was younger, life, death, birthdays, money, relationships and with that you have joy, heartache and, occasionally regret.
Platt opens with the reflective “Birthday Song”, warmed in among other things, tasty piano the album is immediately up and running on greased wheels. Blending country with folk and country pop you have Americana music with a capitol ‘A’ and it is good! Platt’s roaming style of vocals and songs to match bring a feel of footloose free abandon to the table. At times she reminds in part of Kelly Willis and Eilen Jewell. No bad thing. At five and a half minutes “Eden” is easily the longest track on the record, but it doesn’t last a moment too long. What a song. Restless it is awash in heartfelt lyrics as she speaks of twenty-four acres of Indiana farmland that used to be over a hundred, and how the family are learning that living in the heartland is enough! Steeped in fine country guitar and rhythm her vocals are peerless. What a great piece of storytelling. On introducing a song about corruption, “The Good Guys (Dick Tracy)” is an enjoyable piece of social commentary.
“The Guitar Case” keeps up the level of excellence. Platt (or the band) never dip. Whether it is the quality of lyrics, vocals or arrangements. Some country acts better move over before the fame that’s bound to follow Platt and the band raise her standing above those present. “Diamond In The Rough” has Platt share her observations of people who, with hope in their heart have dreams of being a little special, and with B3 stirring the pot the listener can’t help but connect with her muse.
“Learning How To Love Him” is a mellow, reflective ode that speaks, honestly, of one’s failings and how we can take things for granted. Not only people’s kindness, especially the little things, that like small pieces of a jig saw make up the picture. With a feeling of sadness “Brand New Start” has her speak of the need to start all over again. “Late Summer’s Child” contains a greater urgency as the band get to stretch out, and though good enough it doesn’t posses the same compelling feel of the likes of tender ballad “Rare Thing” (dedicated to David and Holly Whitaker) or with a touch of swing as pedal steel, country guitar, piano and an infectious rhythm take over “The Things We Call Home” is as good as it gets. Her vivid lyrics take the listener into the truck stop which is the song's focal point. “The Road” rounds off the album, and with harmony vocals to the fore (Tim Surrett) Platt and the band go out in acoustic fashion as she speaks of how she hopes the road is good to you till then. Like with the last two records by The Honeycutters; Me Oh My and On The Ropes the level of consistency, both musically and lyrically they are incredible good. If not faultless you have the next best thing.
Footnote. Be sure to check out Platt - The Honeycutters not to be missed English and Scottish dates during August.
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