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Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

(Lost Highway Recordings; US: 27 Jan 2009; UK: Available as import)

This Austin, Texas group is an atomic bomb of blues-and funk-infused rock that brings to mind the likes of James Brown and Lightning Hopkins, who happen to be frontman Black Joe Lewis’ biggest influences. But don’t be fooled. This ain’t your momma’s blues. Lewis and his Honeybears—who round out his sound on drums, bass, horns, and whatever else he needs—are balls-to-the-wall players trying to resuscitate this genre with plenty of grit, dirt, and swagger thrown in.


Across the four tracks of this brief self-titled EP, the group rips through a funky-as-hell blues explosion (“Gunpowder”); a straight-shooting ode to Lewis’ lady (“Bitch, I Love You”); a boring spoken-word piece (“Cousin Randy”); and a well-rounded, sped-up dirge (“Master Sold My Baby”). As is surely obvious by their descriptions, only two of those cuts standout and will get you excited for this up-and-coming group’s full-length debut. But, to be fair, those tracks are great. “Gunpowder”, for example, is perhaps too fun for its own good. Let’s just hope Lewis and his Honeybears bring that same magic from here on out, because even though a track like “Cousin Randy” is interesting, that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable.

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Weekly newspaper reporter by day, music reviewer by night (OK, and by day, too). When he's not writing for PopMatters, Andrew spends most of his time at online magazine Prefix and hip-hop site Potholes In My Blog.


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