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Music Review - `Threadbare` by Honey Don't (dmac)

Honey Don't- Threadbare (click on image to watch video)

 15 February 2022



Honey Don’t most likely take their name from the Carl Perkins’ song, “Honey Don’t.” That song dates back to 1956, and it was actually the B-side to “Blue Suede Shoes.” Both are considered two of the greatest ever rockabilly songs. However, the act’s third album, Threadbare, is not rockabilly at all. Comprised of the married couple Bill Powers and Shelley Gray, this duo has filled its most recent album with wonderful roots music, which touches upon bluegrass, country, and various Americana elements throughout. 

Powers is the pair’s primary songwriter, while Gray also sings while playing bass. The album’s best country-ist song is “High Country News Girl.” It’s upbeat, with plenty of fiddle and dobro fills. It also features some mighty fine singing. (It’ll get you up on your feet dancing, if you’re not careful). One of the record’s prettiest cuts is “Daybreak on the Muddy.” Closing out the album, this instrumental recording showcases plenty of skilled playing. Sonically, it’s a bit of a gentle bluegrass tune. Powers’ vocal is particularly memorable on “Denver Ramble,” which is a bit of a talking blues – only it is bluegrass-spiked talking blues. Gray harmonizes nicely with Powers in some places on this track, too. 

Bill Powers wrote (or cowrote) most of these songs, yet some of them sound so old timey, you might be surprised when you see his writing credit attached to them. For instance, “Big Water Ahead” is an upbeat cowboy song about the Colorado River (which is big water, indeed). It feels like something cowboys have been singing while riding along the trail for years and years. It feels passed down from generation to generation. However, Powers has put himself into history’s cowboy boots in order to sing this authentic song of warning. 

The album’s title track is an honest assessment of one man’s financial dire straits, on one level. He’s not wearing a crisp new tuxedo, so to speak. However, when he sings about being threadbare, he also notes how his love for a girl shows right through. It’s also, on a more positive note, a song about how he simply can’t hide his deep affection for his woman. The song has an upbeat, bluegrass rhythm, and finds both Powers and Gray harmonizing together again beautifully. Furthermore, it’s sweet to contemplate how these two lovebirds are singing these words to each other. 

In the longstanding country music tradition of performing drinking songs, “Wine, Whiskey, Beer or Gin” is a love song of a completely different variety. It’s a lyric of endearment directed at popular varieties of alcoholic beverages. It’s not a song that considers the consequences of drinking, mind you. Instead, it praises the many different ways these adult beverages may be consumed for pleasure. 

Threadbare may be the term for clothes that might be destined for the wash rag bin, which is nearly at the point of being unwanted. The same can’t be said of Honey Don’t, though. The musical threads they present are strong and lovely. Their songs don’t sound anything like what’s on the radio – not even what’s found coming out of country radio. Instead, Threadbare is equivalent to a classy, vintage wardrobe. It’s a sound akin to a classic look. Filled with strong singing, playing and songwriting, this music is not something you can ever wear out – even if you tried.


Music Reviewer - Dan MacIntosh


Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio,, Country Standard Time and 

To Read All of Dan's Reviews, Click Here


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