Reviewed by: Jane Roser
The name may have been tweaked a bit, but nothing else about this enchanting country roots band from Asheville, NC has changed. They still have the same line-up- Platt (vocals, guitar), Matt Smith (pedal steel, electric guitar), Rick Cooper (bass) Josh Milligan (drums) and Evan Martin (keys). They still deliver a feisty, witty, hard-knock life realism on their records and this eponymous release, their fifth, is like the continuation of a classic serial novel you just can’t put down.
The first track, “Birthday Song”, is an optimistic and candid look at what it’s like to grow older while counting your blessings to still be alive and kicking. Platt wrote this song right before her thirtieth birthday: “I know you worry, but what’s your hurry, baby? We’re all gonna get there in the end. And if love is the seed, the fruit is gonna taste so sweet.”
I’m grateful that”Rare Thing”, a charming love song commissioned from Platt by fan David Whittaker for his wife Holly, is included as it adds an extra jolt of depth, dignity and just all-around sweetness. The band even graciously included a lovely dedication to the couple inside the physical album.
My favorite track is “Eden” and I must have listened to it at least five times because it’s just bloody brilliant, cheeky and slightly heart-wrenching all at once: “Don’t keep a TV ’cause the news is always bad and it teaches us to want all the things we’ll never have” and then the storyteller asks to be let “back inside that garden, I won’t eat anything that’s fallen from that goddamn tree.”
The successes of Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters previous two albums 2015’s Me Oh My and 2016’s On The Ropes have helped the group climb up the charts, including placing #35 on the Top 100 Albums played on Americana Radio in 2016, and that wave of accolades from fans and critics should continue with this fantastic new release.