This North Carolina quintet are proving their musical development and skills with this, their third album. The band leader is Amanda Platt who here is not only the lead singer and songwriter but also the album's primary producer. She is an undoubted talent and is ably accompanied by the rest of the band Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums and Matt Smith on guitar of the electric and pedal steel variety. The fourteen songs are both memorable and melodious. Comparisons have been made to Gillian Welch (though more so in their early incarnation as a duo) and Lucinda Williams. To these ears though a closer comparison would be with Eilen Jewell, Zoe Muth, Yvette Landry or even Molly and the Heymakers from a few years ago. In that it is the combination of strong voice, literate songs and intelligent playing that at all times serves the songs.
The album title track is a melancholy song that talks of infant death, marriage, love. As the saying goes "all human life is there". But these songs honest vignettes of women dealing with the situations that occur in coping with the (not so) simple task of living. However the music, that while the Honeycutters offer is often bitter-sweet in theme, is for the most part pretty uplifting and positive. There are songs that are ideal to dance to like Ain’t That The Truth, others are more reflective affairs like Carolina, Not That Simple or the darker-hued tones of Texas ’81. In truth there are few moments that don’t hit home on several fronts and Me Oh My heralds the coming of age of another band who make their blend of contemporary country something that draws on the patterns laid down in the past but imprint it with their own individual dna.
By taking the lead role on the album Amanda Platt seems to have found her voice as both a singer and writer. Directing the band and guests in the studio has also helped her to realise her vision. However none of that means a great deal if the end result wasn’t so as strong. Sometimes, with some other bands, the elements are there but they don’t quite gel as they should.
They have described their music as Appalachian Honky Tonk and that seems an appropriate blend of their acoustic traits and their electric topology. Even if the words honky tonk usually suggest something with a little more of beer-soaked grit. The Honycutters have an air of refinement that is a little less one dimensional than some exponents of the honky tonk life, though many of the underlying themes are common.
The Honeycutters have collectively produced an album that deserves attention and applause for simply making good music at a time when so much that’s on offer is both superficial and scalar. This is something that Amanda Platt and her fellow players can be justifiably happy with and an album that should be sought out for a listen - at the very least.