The saying goes you learn something new every day, which for the most part seems pretty accurate. One thing I learned this week is that East Tennessee State University offers a degree in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country music. They have an entire program centered on it, which when you think about it seems about right.
The Johnson City, Tennessee bluegrass quartet The Honey Chasers contains three members who graduated from this program; singer songwriter and mandolinist Cameron Owens who met guitarist Jeff Ingersoll while at Eastern Tennessee University. The pair clicked and began laying down the foundation of Owens’ slightly outside the box approach to bluegrass, which later became the seven songs of their eponymous debut.
There is definitely an appeal to The Honey Chasers sound which is reminiscent of that swing revival sound of Squirrel Nut Zippers as well as that band’s breakout solo star Andrew Bird during his Bowl of Fire period. This is especially noticeable on the hokey “40 Cent Snickers” a song which is musically very exciting although lyrically its subject matter, much like a joke told too many times, becomes stale. The Honey Chasers recover from this mishap rather quickly on the beautiful bluegrass ballad “Rachel.” It proves that Owens’ sugary vocals are better suited to the more stoic themes, as does the jazzed up “Stu Song.”
The band adds a little funk to the mix with “June” and which then leads into folksier territory with the wispy mandolin laden ballad “Bestfriends.” They turn back to full on bluegrass on the rambling “Postman,” and close out the record with the country feeling and fiddle-focused long ballad “Tennessee Girl.”
The production value of The Honey Chasers was spot on, and this may well be because the album was tracked live. And though it has a slightly live feel to it, it doesn’t do the band or the genre true justice. There are just some types of music, which must be experienced rather than heard. If The Honey Chasers are rolling through your town any time soon, I’d suggest checking them out.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook