stonehoney’s debut cD has layers of sweet
The name’s an impediment until you listen to the music on the band’s debut album “The Cedar Creek Sessions,” which was released Tuesday. Stonehoney (which is not a side project of Stoney LaRue and Honeybrowne) could already be the best country rock band in town. Like the Band of Heathens, Stonehoney combines four accomplished singer-songwriters (Shawn Davis, Nick Randolph, Phil Hurley and David Phenicie) who met an onstage guitar pull and decided to join together. There’s a lot of talent in play here, which is why there’s no frontman.
Cedar Creek and Music Road Records coowner Fred Remmert says there were only a couple of minor overdubs, but the record was otherwise recorded live, with ex-Uncle Tupelo drummer Ken Coomer returning to Cedar Creek for the first time since he skinned on “Anodyne.”
C’mon, man. You telling me the singing and playing were happening at the same time and that no little blips were fixed later? My ears aren’t tomato cans; this record sounds layered.
“The Cedar Creek Sessions” comes off like six months in Nashville, with all those great harmonies and Phil Hurley’s lead guitar smoking with the confidence that overdub protection provides. Listen to the way “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” seamlessly binds power pop and country, and it’s impossible that they didn’t use any studio tricks.
Two guys from Boston, one from D.C. and one from California, signed to Jimmy LaFave’s label, formed in Los Angeles, but couldn’t get to Texas fast enough. “Two Years Down” sums up being lost in L.A., while the melody can see a way out. “Feel Like Home” sounds like the late, great Beat Farmers if they were from Texas. Welcome to Austin, boys, now wait your turn. (“Hey, no cutting!”)
There are four chances this month to see if Stonehoney could possibly make a live album in the studio that sounds so full. There’s an instore at Waterloo Records on July 21, followed by a show at Gruene Hall the next night and Luckenbach on July 24. Then, Stonehoney plays Roadhouse Rags on July 25.
Find a link to listen to songs from “The Cedar Creek Sessions” in our music blog @ austin360.com/musicsource. The sound is close to mainstream country, especially with the sturdy harmonies, but there’s a bit more Boston rock club vibe than you’ll usually hear on KASE.