For this new record the lead singer of The Honeycutters, Amanda Anne Platt, decided to give herself top billing for the first time. Her name is emblazoned on the front of the album as she stands alone underneath, smiling. Such feelings of happiness and confidence run throughout the sound of this self-titled album.
The themes of this record – such as ageing, losing a someone to illness, heartbreak, poverty etc – could be bleak or depressing in the hands of another musician but Platt takes her complex ideas and spins them in the most positive way she can. She doesn’t sugarcoat things but she accepts them and looks for the good. Birthday Song, one of the best on the album, deals with those dreaded lines you get on your face, the inevitability of time’s decay. But her response to this is to look in the mirror and say I’m just so damn glad to be here. That sounds like the kind of insight and wisdom we could all do with learning.
Long Ride is a sweet little country song, a dream of love on the open highway. You just want to roll the windows down, smile, feel the summer wind in your hair and sing along. We’re in it for the long ride.
What We’ve Got is another song of celebration. It’s raining, the house is falling apart, but she knows her love is all she needs. Every song is just so beautifully sung and the slide guitar compliments the sound. Diamond in the Rough is probably the catchiest melody and has a rockier feel, which suits the way the tone just rises up through the song. It’s only cos I want you to be happy baby, what’s so wrong with that? Indeed.
I’ve always thought that too much country music is about hunting and fishing and guns and not enough about the happiness of just living near nature. Eden is an ode to the fields and the heartlands. It’s about the importance of where you’re from, the sheltered nature of living in the countryside, using Columbus to suggest that exploration is not always the best thing. She wants to go home, even back to the garden of Eden where innocence and bliss were all that was known. It’s a naive dream maybe, but you need that sometimes.
Learning How to Love and Rare Thing both explore the reality of long term relationships. Celebrating the beautiful part of love and pain is what she is doing so well here. There’s more of a vintage feel to The Things We Call Home and it takes us to the kind of small town that country music is known for. The final song is The Road which finishes things off on a bittersweet note. Time and distance make us strangers, change us. Still there’s no point in looking back or crying. She only wishes everyone well out there on the road of life.
There’s so much heart in these songs and the strength of Amanda Anne Platt’s voice shines throughout. It’s a little diamond of a record well worth your time.