From time to time I’ll be writing about Southern bands and artists (and those of Southern influence) that fly under the radar of commercial radio. I’m kicking things off with a sneak preview of things to come. Hope y’all tune in. — Kris
• The Honeycutters:
I wonder how many music fans out there would be willing to help foot the production bill for their favorite band’s next album? Fans of Amanda Platt and The Honeycutters did just that, recently donating more than $15,000 to help this indie band produce their second studio album.
That’s quite a feat — especially in this economy — for a band most of the world has never heard. But The Honeycutters may not remain obscure for very long. Give Platt a few minutes to sing one of her songs and you’ll know why.
I can see a day when her name is mentioned along side Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier and Gillian Welch. She’s just that good. The frontwoman for Asheville, N.C.’s The Honeycutters stopped me in my tracks upon hearing her for the first time recently at the Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, Fla. My plan at this particular hour had been to check out another band at a different stage, but as I strolled past where The Honeycutters were performing, Platt’s voice — which has been described as “perfectly unadorned” and “recklessly beautiful” — set a deep hook that reeled me in.
I never made it to the other show, remaining with The Honeycutters instead – in awe, swept up in the music of a singer-songwriter of the purest kind. I walked up to Platt after their set, introduced myself and said, “You’re what Country Music could be if only Nashville had any balls.” She laughed and replied, “People tell me I should move to Austin.”
And they’re probably right.
The Honeycutters are a collaboration between Platt and guitarist/producer Peter James, whose playing style and seamless harmonies provide a compelling complement to Platt’s performances. When they’re not touring as a full band, the pair perform as a duo.
Released in 2009, the band’s first album, Irene, received high marks among Americana music critics. And, after listening to it now for several days on end (Irene has left my truck’s CD player only to be copied to my computer’s iTunes), I’ve joined the ranks of those who believe Platt is destined for a special career.
In a testament to loyalty of the highest order, Platt and James are back in an Asheville studio recording their second album, thanks in large part to those devoted fans who generously gifted their money to the cause through Kickstarter, an online funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, inventors, explorers and the like.
If Irene is any indication, it’s a safe bet the first bit-o-honey is but a taste of even sweeter things to come. My guess is Amanda Platt will never again need to raise money to record an album, but if she does, count me in for a few bucks.
(You can sample The Honeycutters here … be sure to check out “Irene,” “Better Woman” and “Automatic”)
— OTHERS to be featured …
• Danny Barnes: Rock-n-twang unlike anything you’ve heard. Barnes is the real deal … Dave Matthews, Sam Bush and Robert Earl Keen think so, too — they are among his biggest fans. Check out … http://www.dannybarnes.com/ … (and make sure you listen to “Caveman”)
• Dread Clampitt’s music has been described as everything from “alternative new grass” to “hip-billy” music. The band, however, has never been comfortable with labels. Their sound is at once a funky fusion of roots music, alternative country/folk, a bit of R&B thrown into the mix, with pure americana storytelling at its core. (In full disclosure here, Dread Clampitt is also the subject of a music documentary that I directed and co-produced with Wayne Franklin. Check it out … www.classicdread.com)