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Joe Honea
©2010 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd,

Okay, I’ll mention it and get it out of the way so we won’t dwell on it… This album is produced by Joe Honea, Brad Davis, and Patrick McGuire.  Yes, that’s the same Brad Davis that received a Grammy for his work on a Warren Zevon album.  We’ve addressed it, and I won’t mention it again, but I challenge you to try to forget it as you listen to this debut offering from Joe Honea (pronounced HO-nee).  The opening cut sets a great tone for an album with a few surprises.  At just over four minutes, the song might need a trim to be fully radio ready, but in all other regard “Just You And Me” is a Texas radio hit waiting to happen.  Personally, I would have liked a different title, as the copyright office already has over 120 songs with the same title.  Perhaps Joe would consider re-naming the song “Tidal Motion.”  That would be cool.  “Shakespeare” is a fishing song. (The Shakespeare Company, est. 1897, pioneered the pushbutton fishing reel and invented the fiberglass fishing rod in 1947). The song is a simple, no thought required, fishing song; and isn’t that what fishing songs should be?  I almost felt like I was fishing when listening to the song.  I do believe something nibbled on my toe about that time.  Kudos for the frog at the end.  Honea pens the lot of the tracks with writing partner Brad Davis, but for a couple of co-writes from Steve Rhian and Mark Thorpe.  You’ll have to ask Joe about the level of collaboration from each writer and the liner notes aren’t clear, but my guess is that Honea and Davis had a sort of John-Taupin relationship on the songs.  Whatever the formula, each song works on its own level.  The offerings are lyrically sound and the arrangements are well-tailored to the stories.  More speculation here, but I’m guessing there was some ambiguity as to how “Walkin’ Talkin’ Country Song” should be performed, so the pair re-named it “Livin’ Breathin’ Country Song” and transformed the cut from an Albert Lee-inspired, bluegrass-infused toe-tapper to a Georgia Satellites-ish groovin’ back beat track with Leroy Parnell styled slide guitar.  Both versions are included on the album.  Sweet.  The project is on-genre with a good deal of diversity and includes outstanding musical performances behind Honea’s inflective and comfortable voice.  This is a well-conceived and expertly executed release.  If the album will be supported with an appropriate amount of live touring, you should know a lot about Joe Honea very soon.  This is one that should get a second look at Texas Music Award nomination time.  Honea has jumped his first big hurdle.  The debut offering is solid and will serve him well on the road.  Oh, and Brad Davis won a Grammy.  I just couldn’t resist.  

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Joe Honea