One of the more underrated musical centers in North America is the Appalachian Region of the United States. Which is quite shocking when you think of it, considering this area was really the birthplace of modern music with the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers creating the first recordings in 1920’s Bristol, Virginia. In this century, the region is still a hotbed for roots music with skilled bands and musicians plying their trade daily.
A couple of hours away from Bristol east on Interstate 40, you will find the city of Asheville, North Carolina, a bustling city of music and art nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Honeycutters are a product of this city and they have just released their third studio album “Me Oh My” (Organic Records). A solid, straight ahead country music record, “Me Oh My” further establishes The Honeycutters as one of the top regional Americana acts on the east coast and readies them for a larger audience.
All 14 songs on this album are written by lead singer and group founder Amanda Anne Platt, who also produced the album. While Amanda may be the current creative force behind The Honeycutters, it is the combination of her strong song writing and the wonderful talent of her bandmates that make this album and this act work. The harmonies are tight, and the musicianship is first rate.
Starting off with a great two-step song “Jukebox”, the album takes the listener on a journey of love and loss, longing, fulfilment and redemption … all things that make up a great country record. The title track is a solid piece of work, reminiscent of classic Mary Chapin Carpenter, both in its subject matter of the strong woman and vocal delivery by Platt. “Carolina” is a beautiful homage to the bands home state of North Carolina, while acknowledging the desire to explore life outside her borders. “Edge of the Frame” is another winner where the female character is at a crossroads with her chosen partner in life and clearly has a decision to make on her future.
The Honeycutters also delve back in to some past work with two solid tracks that are included on this album. According to the album’s liner notes, “Wedding Song” was written for a friends’ wedding present. A nice mid-tempo song with great, clever lyrics such as “when I’m with you honey it’s like money, like I’m throwing loaded dice.” You can’t help but smile when listening to this song, it’s very well written and beautifully performed. “Little Bird” is one of the few slow songs to appear on the album and broaches the subject of love lost. It’s also the song that brought greater attention to the songwriting talents of Amanda Anne Platt, as it was chosen as a finalist in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2011.
The Honeycutters’ “Me Oh My” is one of the great country/Americana albums to be released this year and is a clear reflection that this band is developing in to one of the top flight Americana acts. If you like traditional country music, this album is as good as it gets. You will not find songs about drinking from solo cups, tailgates, or driving around in the mud. Just straight up country music in its traditional form from a band that is skilled and smart enough to deliver the real goods. The sky is the limit for The Honeycutters. Do yourself a favor and add this album to your collection, you'll be glad you did.