Honey Don’t

Merchant Herald Review

Written by, Tom Wills

Merchant Herald

December 2013

“I know you guys don’t like to review stuff...,” Bill Powers said as he dropped on the latest Honey Don’t CD at the Herald office/bookstore in Hotchkiss. “We tried do something different on this one,” he added.

“It’s not bluegrass,” it says in bold several times on the CD promo sheet. So what is it? Well there are two full tilt dance pieces that are bluegrass Americana done in the North Fork style. One, Rock and a Hard Place could be a mainstream county rock hit about the state of the economy, and the other is the howlingly funny, Playing in the Devil’s Electric Band.  Neo-bluegrass legend, fiddler, Betse Ellis, appears on both tracks to great effect while Power’s guitar work is steller throughout.

Then on the other end of the “different” spectrum is a cover of Blondie’s Heart of Glass done as country folk ala 1970’s New Riders of the Purple Sage with bassist  Shelly Gray singing lead and doing her best job yet.

The remainder of the album, all orginals by Powers, echo that New Riders/early Nitty Gritty thing, updated and localized. One highlight is the slighly woozy Colorado Wine and another is the North Fork anti-gas development anthem Stand Up! The vibe hits its peak on the title track Heart Like a Wheel (and no, it’s not the Linda Ronstadt tune) and the instrumental Barry’s Wild Ride.

Yes, Heart like a Wheel is different than Honey Dont’s first solid Bluegrass/Americana CD, or a Sweet Sunny South record, but it goes down easy, has more than a little kick to it. And it has a lot of North Fork relevance even though there are no songs about chickens.

There will be a CD release party for Heart Like a Wheel at Louie’s Pizza on the evening of Saturday, December 7.