stone­honey’s de­but cD has lay­ers of sweet

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & STYLE - By Michael cor­co­ran

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.

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