Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

The Honeycutters heading back to studio for 2017 album, performing at Muddy Creek Music Hall on Sunday, Feb. 26

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The Honeycutters may just be the best country roots band out there that you aren’t listening to.”

I wrote that in May 2016 when the Asheville, North Carolina-based, rock-roots-country group released its fourth studio album, “On the Ropes,” since 2009 and the second on Organic Records.

The Honeycutters headed back to the studio in January to record their fifth studio album to be released later this year as the band’s third release on Organic Records. And they are scheduled to perform at Muddy Creek Music Hall , 5455 Bethania Road, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Sunday, Feb. 26. Tickets for the 6 p.m. show are $12 or $15 at the door.

MerleFest fans may recall frontwoman and principal songwriter Amanda Anne Platt from her stint as a finalist in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in 2011.

Platt says being a full-time musician can be tough but it’s worth it.

“We joke that we drive for a living and sometimes we get to play music,” she said with a laugh. “I am incredibly grateful to get to do what I get to do one more day. I hope we have a steady climb ahead to keep doing what we do.”

The native of the New York village Hastings on the Hudson, moved to Asheville in January 2007 with the intention of literally making music – in the form of becoming a guitar builder – rather than writing and performing songs. Instead, she found a community  of like-minded musicians and the music, well, it just stuck. Like, uhm, honey.

Platt has since become one of the leaders of the new music movement erupting out of Asheville, which is quickly becoming the Old North State’s equivalent to Nashville. “On The Ropes” was produced by Platt and Tim Surrett and engineered and mastered by Van Atkins at Crossroads Studios in Arden, North Carolina.

Nashville’s Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst has described Platt as, “She’s soothing (even in the hurtin’ songs) and sobering (except for the drinkin’ songs) and nuanced in a way that I think tops even those rather famous ladies of the moment named Margo and Kacey… I’d be hard pressed to find a finer string of recordings from any band working in the classic country/mountain tradition in these last five years.”

Along with Platt, The Honeycutters are Rick Cooper (electric and upright bass), Josh Milligan (drums and vocal harmonies), Matt Smith (pedal steel and electric guitar) and Tal Taylor (mandolin).

According to a press release, The Honeycutters have been touring with their latest album, “On The Ropes,” which came in at No. 35 on the Top 100 Albums played on Americana Radio in 2016, spending nineteen weeks on the Americana Radio Chart peaking at #10 and remaining in the top twenty for 11 weeks. The album debuted at #39 on iTunes Top 40 Country Chart on Release day, #12 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases on Folk, #11 on the EuroAmericana Chart and landed in the #1 position on the Roots Music Report Country Chart.

Helping to carry them into the new year, The Honeycutters have signed on with The WNS Group, a music management, promotion and publishing company headed by 50-year industry veteran Brad Hunt. The management division proudly represents Steve Forbert, Sonny Landreth, Tim O’Brien, Martha Scanlan and now The Honeycutters.
“I’ve been thinking it might be time for us to hire a manager for a little while now, and when our paths crossed with Brad we were all just in the right place at the right time.” Platt says, “I knew that he had been helpful to other artists that I admire, I think he’s a good fit for us. He understands the business of music but also the people.”
Hunt explains, “I was in Grimey’s Basement during AmericanaFest and was entranced by a true force of nature performance by Amanda Plant and The Honeycutters and after consulting with a mutual friend, Martin Anderson of WNCW, decided I had to work with them. Amanda placed the first call to me and now we are ready to spread the word worldwide about this songwriting machine and extraordinary singer!”
In 2017, the band plans to tour extensively in U.S. and will travel to Europe for the first time in the summer. 2016 featured The Honeycutters on NPR’s World Cafe’s Sense of Place (recorded in the band’s hometown of Asheville in a sold out show), NPR’s Mountain Stage, Nashville’s Music City Roots. They opened for Tedeschi Trucks at the Warner Theatre in Washington D.C., and made notable appearances at Taos Mesa Brewing’s Music on the Mesa, in New Mexico, Beartrap Summer Festival in Wyoming, Rhythm and Roots Festival in Rhode Island, AmericanaFest in Nashville, Suwannee Roots Revival in Florida, among others.


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