by Kelcy Salisbury
Of Throatpunches, Reactions & The Lack Thereof
Fred Andrews & Honeybrowne (Aka Honeybrowne) have been around for a few years. They had a pretty big regional hit with Texas Angel a little while back and while I'd heard of them I'd never really listened to them until I was asked to review their latest offering, This Side of Crazy.
Let me set the stage by saying a couple of things about my musical tastes. First I have very eclectic tastes. I had James Blake, Jason Boland & The Stragglers and Adele all in my top albums list last year. I tell people who ask what kind of music I listen to that I like good music, genre doesn't matter. I also am not a musician or a music expert, just a fan. Finally I like music that hits you like a punch to the throat. Stuff with the kind of grit and realness to it that you know the artist HAD to make it. Now with that out of the way, on to the This Side Of Crazy.
This isn't a bad album. In fact it's pretty good. Fred Andrews has a pleasant enough voice, the band is musically competent and the songwriting is decent if unexceptional. I listened to the album a few times through looking for something to grab me, something that got my attention, something with some urgency to it. Other than the title track and "When Good Love Dies" I just didn't hear it. The whole album is decent enough in its own way but I couldn't find anything that sets it aside from the rest of the pack of mid-tempo Texas Country bands and albums. I couldn't help but feel that the overall low standard of current country music makes this offering seem better than it is. I certainly don't hate the album and if you're looking for a fairly safe offering of almost mainstream country with above average vocals and a pleasant sound it might be the album for you, it just won't find a permanent place in my rotation simply because its a bit too safe and predictable to hold my attention. Nothing is really wrong with this album it just doesn't have the "it" factor to set it apart.