Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Very solid third offering from The Nouveaux Honkies. This is a difficult release to classify since they really cover so many different styles from classic country, folk, rockabilly, and rock and roll. The Nouveaux Honkies are comprised of Rebecca Dawkins on violin and vocals and Tim O’Donnell on guitar and vocals. Vocals are certainly their strong suit. Not to say that the other elements are not good, because they are. But what really sets this band apart from the other man/woman duos are the strength and beauty of the vocals. The duo has become smitten with the Smokey Mountains and made Knoxville, TN their home base about two years ago.
The first song on this collection that caught my ear was a cover of the Jimmy Webb classic, Wichita Lineman (Track 3). Most people are probably familiar with the hit version by Glenn Campbell in the late sixties. What distinguished this version, beside the stellar vocals is the musical arrangement. The space and atmosphere presented by the Honkies completely transforms this song into almost an improvisational jazz piece from a pop song. The guitars and fiddles and spellbinding and work themselves beautifully into the song. And add the horns and you have a winning trifecta.
I like twists and turns, to some degree. I got a real surprise when I heard the title track, Loud In Here (Track 11). I expected this song to be a real rock and roll hootenanny. Much to my surprise, this song is introspective with a variety of heavy themes going on. This song covers a lot of real estate in four and a half minutes with such topics as loneliness, heartbreak, isolation, and grief. “Something’s got to die to make room for something born”. That’s heavy!
If you are a fan of the male/female dues like me, you will over this album. It’s all there: good writing, exceptional vocals, and phenomenal playing. What are you waiting for?