Artist: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters
Album: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters
Release Date: 06/09/2017
Last year I wrote this about Amanda Anne Platt and her band, The Honeycutters, upon their release of the excellent On the Ropes – “She has an authoritative, confident voice that can be sweet, aching, and joyous, sometimes even in the same song. Platt’s voice and the interplay of the guitar and mandolin give this band their unique complex sound – a clear-sounding mash-up of Americana, bluegrass, folk, and honky-tonk.” Most of the band remains intact except that Evan Martin is on keys and mandolinist Tai Taylor has departed. The sound now is a little softer, leaning more toward folk and country-rock than bluegrass as they frame Platt’s terrific lyrics, which improve with every outing. “We’re switching things up a little. After four albums, I’ve decided to step out and start using my own name…I think I’ve just gotten to a place where I feel comfortable enough to be in the spotlight.” As well she should.
Writing with a maturity that belies her early thirties age, Platt pens tunes about a couple with a 40-year relationship, reflections of a spouse with a terminally ill husband, break-up, strangers, leaving, the music industry, and, of course, love. Platte is as good a songwriter as anyone with an Americana label by their name and that includes Isbell and Lucinda to name just two of them. In “Long Ride,” about meeting a terminally ill young man, there are lines like this – “You’re afraid of the pavement ending before sunrise/but it was only ever light bending behind your eyes/it was only a dream you had to believe/so you keep between the lines/this is goodnight not goodbye/we’re in it for the long ride.”
Other highlights include the brilliant “Learning How to Love Him,” performed alone on acoustic guitar. I would think all empty nesters can totally relate to this song about a spouse who is about to lose her husband. It’s both sad and reaffirming. “Diamond in the Rough,” on the other hand, is an upbeat song punctuated by a killer guitar solo from Matthew Smith. “The Good Guys (Dick Tracy)” was written as a reflection during the election. “Rare Thing’’ originated with a friend who asked Amanda to write a song about his wife.
You will need to listen repeatedly as the album is lengthy and Platt’s lyrics are so damn real and relatable on so many levels. We’ve seen some excellent writing this year from Rodney Crowell, Mary Bragg, and Bill Scorzari, to name a few. Put Amanda Anne Platt in that same group.