On The Ropes
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
Asheville-based country roots band The Honeycutters are back with their fourth studio album and to say it packs a wallop is putting it mildly.
The Honeycutters continue to ride a wave of success as a critic’s darling after their 2015 smash album Me Oh My appeared on over twenty “2015 Year End Lists”, including accolades from Saving Country Music and No Depression. Their new record On The Ropes just hit #16 on the Americana Music Association radio chart and it’s pretty safe to say it’ll continue to rise with the album’s official release today.
Produced by Tim Surrett and vocalist/principle songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, On The Ropes wonderfully showcases Platt’s dazzling songwriting skills with themes of loss, loneliness, nostalgia and getting the shit kicked out of you by love. All thirteen tracks are original material, except for a fascinating cover of Leonard Cohen’s iconic “Hallelujah”, sung in a spellbinding manner and just dripping of honeysuckle and moonshine.
With a mix of drinking songs, ballads and honky-tonk ditties, there is not a mediocre tune on here. Rick Cooper (bass), Josh Milligan (drums), Matt Smith (guitar) and Tal Taylor (mandolin) create the perfect mix of old-time traditional melodies and modern sensibilities while Platt’s intoxicating vocals illustrate her poetic lyrics like the calm before a storm: “I’ve made my mistakes you know I’ve paid a lot to feel this bad/It’s a thousand dollar hangover-it ain’t the worst I’ve had.”
Platt croons “when I’m down for the count there’s a voice I can’t ignore” – ain’t that the truth, and with a voice such as hers, you truly can’t ignore its dignity, power and most of all, its bite.