Let's just say Amanda Anne Platt and her five-piece band The Honeycutters had home court advantage playing in their hometown of Asheville, N.C. in what is as warm a live album as you'll hear. It's a family affair with brother Andrew on electric guitar and a guest appearance from dad, Mark, on harmonica. The 17 track, 70-minute release finds the band covering selections from their five previous releases as well as two new originals and a brilliant, never studio recorded cover.
Mostly the band stays in support of the song, letting Amanda's vocals shine through clearly across their folk-country sound imbued by electric guitars, keys and drums. Many of these songs take on a new refurbished feel over the studio versions, especially "Eden" and, of course, "Carolina." They also cover The Bee Gees "To Love Somebody," capturing the feel of the song better than the originators. Fan favorites like "Golden Child' and "All You Ever" lend themselves to sing-a-alongs, but fortunately the mix keeps the band in the forefront.
The strength of the album is in the middle sequence featuring lively guitar and keyboard interplay on "Wheels," "To Love Somebody," "Eden" and "Carolina." "Holy Wall" finds Platt performing solo on her acoustic guitar. The new song "Low Road"is perhaps Platt's best vocal as the song builds from quiet acoustic strumming to glorious choruses featuring shimmering piano. Dad Mark supports "Irene" with his harmonica. They abridge their own "Diamond in the Rough" with The Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for a rousing close.
Platt's songwriting and singing remain the major draws as on their studio releases, but have more palpable energy in this live setting.