Friday, December 14, 2012

Honeypie "Fields Don't Disappear" Review

                 Artwork by Trisha Smith, Ryan Radcliff & Jake Melham  

            Throughout the mix of compositions encompassing the 35 minutes of Honeypie’s newest album, Fields Don’t Disappear, it is obvious to me that these songs are creations blooming from personal experiences direct from band-staples, Trisha Smith (Vocals) and Ryan Radcliff (Lead Guitar, Lap-steel, Keyboards, Bass).  As any good artist knows, the translation of excellent music comes in the projection of honest and deep emotion from within.  Smith and Radcliff, joined by a few of the finest fresh-faced accompaniment the Orange County music scene currently has to offer (Jake Melham - Bass, Tony Cupito - Drums, Darren Carr - Drums, Brian Wardell - Drums, Felipe Arroyo - Rhodes, Lauren Salamone - Rhodes, Spencer Askin – Vocals/Trumpet, and producer Jon O’Brien – Keys/Bass/Percussion), Honeypie succeeds in the construction of a truly professional record from start to finish.
            Opening track, Miss Me, sets an image of the spirited Smith as a wholesome female laced with an air of sweetness about her, but also possessing an underlying hint of boldness and seductiveness. Throughout the record, her personality fluxes between these ends of the spectrum as each song plays.  Meanwhile, to the untrained or unfocused ear, Radcliff’s musicianship is almost missed from time to time due to the gentleness of his playing—a difficult trait for some composers to possess.  In each piece, Radcliff provides the perfect mood for the sweet duo, sometimes through an involved fuzzy electric Gretsch guitar solo, found on songs like Leaves Are Falling and Tyler, sometimes with a pluck and bend of the lap-steel like on No Difference and Fields Don’t Disappear, sometimes a mention of a guitar chord to harmonize with Smith’s vocals, a deep blending of bass, or touch of keys to fill the sonic holes and complete each song, like on Naturally and Pocket.  Other textural sounds supplemented by Salamone, Wardell, Arroyo, Carr, Askin, Cupito and Melham help fill in the final details, giving the feeling of completion that otherwise would not have existed.
            The cornerstone of this album is undisputedly Jon O’Brien, who was able to tame all the layers of this in-depth piece of work, mixing each frequency to complement each other, rather than contend.  O’Brien was able to take the influnces of Smith and Radcliff, like Regina Spektor, Spoon, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, as well as M. Ward, and create a working combination of Folk, Pop and Indie styles into one collaboration that encompasses the musical entity that is Honeypie.  The standout song of the album is indisputably Della, a composition that O’Brien proposed Smith and Radcliff to create late during the final recording process in order to build the body of the album to a completely mature size.  While each song has it’s own attributes that make it memorable, Della is haunting, and aching with a melancholic vibe that radiates from the breathy vocal projections of the mesmerizing Trisha Smith.

Listen to the album and download for free at

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