Sweet Honey

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The Lost Pines
Sweet Honey
Independent Release

The Lost Pines have been around for only three years. Already a familiar name in the Texas bluegrass community, they’ve performed at several festivals and sold out shows. Sweet Honey is their sophomore album and offers 14 songs covering all the bases within bluegrass. Some songs are tinged with rock, while others recall country and western, but the band seems to flex well in all directions. This variety in tone is achieved by having the tracks on the album alternate between songwriters Christian Ward and Talia Bryce, who lend their vocals to their own songs as well. Produced by award-winning Lloyd Maines, Sweet Honey also features his Dobro skills on a couple of tracks.

We are gifted with a strong start to the album in the form of three compelling tunes in a row. “Singing Voice” is a quick romp about the proclamation of love, treated with an active banjo line which calls the other strings to join in for some quickly plucked fun. Next follows “Maybalee,” which is softer and slower but still manages to be upbeat. The tune seems like a note to the title character from the man she loves, a hard working man with a rambling nature. Mundane details of the morning are highlighted by sweet vocal harmonies and the notion that the pair will soon have to say goodbye for some time. “Cherry Pie” nicely continues the love-note nature of the album so far. A short tune about the “best darn woman that you’ll ever find,” it solicits some serious toe-tapping.

The album is packed with strong tunes, but it would be a crime not to mention the title track “Sweet Honey.” It’s quick and charming, and perhaps one of the liveliest tunes on the album, and stands in stark contrast to the next song, “Only a Flower,” a slow lament. Hauntingly beautiful, it leaves instruction for a burial and calls for remembrance not through pomp and ceremony, but rather through sharing the stories that people leave behind. Also haunting is the eleventh track, “Harm’s Lovin’ Way,” which is one of two tunes that are dusted with Maines’ skilled Dobro work.

The song is closer to the Western music tradition than the other tracks and does it extremely well. Mixed in with this traditional feel is a slightly non-traditional approach, as the song is a warning to a friend about a woman who is “wanted in every state.” The Lost Pines pull it all together extremely well, and the song serves as a perfect example of what the band has managed to do. They have carried the bluegrass tradition of telling everyday stories into a present-day narrative, and done so with classic instrumentation and durable themes.

http://www.lostpinesband.com/music

by Marie Meyers