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The HoneycuttersThe Honeycutters
Album: On The Ropes
Label: Organic
Tracks: 13

This is the second Honeycutters album that I have had the pleasure of reviewing. The first one "Me Oh My" I reviewed just over twelve months ago and at the time I criticised the band for being very slow in releasing new material, it being only their third album in eight years. Well, they have not wasted time in producing this new offering as it arrives just fifteen months later. A bit like London buses, you wait for ages for one then two arrive in quick succession!

Certain things in life fit together quite naturally. Fish and Chips, Curry and Rice, Sangria and Sun. You can now add to that list the voice of Amanda Anne Platt and Country Music. A perfect match!

Amanda is a multi-talented lady, writing all but one of the songs on this album, acting as co-producer playing guitar and singing on every track. The one song that she has not written is Leonard Cohen's often recorded and consistently ruined "Hallelujah." I have to confess that I am not a big fan of the song but I do like the way that Amanda and the rest of the band have stamped their own personalities on the song.

In addition to Amanda, the band consists of Tal Taylor, Rick Cooper, Josh Milligan and Matt Smith, all supremely gifted musicians. I especially like the use of the Mandolin. The album also includes a number of guest artists one of whom is Mark Platt, presumably a relative of some sort.

The title and opening track "On The Ropes" sets the scene for what is to follow with a song straight from the stables of Nashville music. Many of the songs contain a love theme, some joyous some about lost love. "Piece Of Heaven is just such a song with its almost painful lyrics. This is followed by the upbeat "Let's get Drunk." A regular Saturday evening song of instant joy and, quite probably, a headache the morning after.

Amanda's lyrics are always thought provoking, imaginative and with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure. "The Handbook" is a brilliant piece of "tongue in cheek" storytelling about dating and flirting.

Despite Amanda having a very distinctive voice, there is a real touch of Carly Simon about "Useless Memories." Take a listen to the lyrics on this song and be amazed at how everyday items are woven into the story. This lady truly is a master story teller! A lady who has suffered pain and disappointment, has patience, has faced struggles, has passion by the truck load and most of all a heart!

Country music has travelled many a long mile since the early days and this latest album demonstrates what it is really all about now. Great music, amazing lyrics and all in all a complete musical Pot Pourri and joy!

Rory Stanbridge