Alexander - Honeysuckle Sweet
Singer-Songwriter Jessi Alexander is the best new artist that I have heard come along since Mindy Smith. I heard some samples on CMT and saw her on Leno and told myself that I had to get this. She is herself and when I saw her sing "This World Is Crazy" on Leno, I knew she was something special. She really came across very well live performing one of the disc's strongest tracks with her very honest country voice.
This is the best sounding recording that I've heard this year. But, when you look at the credits, you understand why, a real all star band of hired guns; Bryan Sutton - acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin. Dan Dugmore - acoustic guitar, lap steel and pedal steel. Glenn Worf on bass. Richard Bennett - electric and acoustic guitars. And on and on. Executive Producer Mark Wright and mastered by Hank Williams (Mastermix).
This is a real creative collection of real country, bluesy music. Jessi has such a great voice and sings with such sultry emotion. Her songs are masterpieces of human life and relationships. She has had the privilege of writing with some of Nashville's best. This is no Nashville cookie cutter record, this is takin' chances and what a great listen.
"Honeysuckle Sweet" (title track) opens the album with a real mellow groove, full of acoustic country instruments; steel, banjo, mandolin, sweet acoustic guitar. Great lyrics about her youth. A song you can really identify with. This is such a great mix, you can even hear the shakers clearly in the background.
"This World Is Crazy" is the song Jessi nailed on Leno, singing with sweet confidence. This version is undeniably amazing. What a great sultry, voice. Easily, this band is one of the best I've heard on a recording. Richard Bennett (Notorious Cherry Bombs) plays some incredible lead guitar. The hardest thing about making a recording great is the groove. This band is in the groove and Jessi's voice is not afraid to dance around the melody. The texture of this recording is just so awesome and Jessi can just pull you in. She played acoustic guitar when performing on Leno. By the way, Glenn Worf is one of the best bass players around and proves why here, excellent background vocals.
"Holdin' Back Your Love" - Starts out all acoustic and then some light bass and drums come in. Just some great backup vocals on this with a touch of strings in the background. What a great melodic masterpiece. (By the way, credit to a few of the singers; Darrell Scott, Sonya Isaacs and Wendy Waldman) Great electric guitar, this song has an alt/country taste to it.
"The Long Way" - By the way , this song has really grown on me since I wrote the first draft, this a real cerebral tune, it's upbeat with just some great lyrics. Dan Dugmore lights up the mix with his creative lap steel.
"Canyon Prayer" - A prettier and more emotive song, I have never heard. Jessi sings to the Lord. What emotion, what lyrics. Just a great all around production. The guitar cries with emotion.
"Can You Make It Feel Right" - A song about a gal stealin' her guy, really sung with an attitude, Dugmore on steel and Bennett on electric just cook together. This gal is incredible, most of the songs are four minutes long, too long for radio edits, but sure good enough for it. This song has the feel of a Sheryl Crowe or if you could imagine a female Rodney Crowell. Some of the upbeat songs remind of the sound produced by the Notorious Cherry Bombs, maybe a bit too real and gritzy for Country Radio, but I can't remember being impacted so much by one record, no throwaways. Look, I've tried to tell ya how good this gal is, and I really feel I have come up short. If I was a reviewer that used stars, Jesse would get a raving five.
Go visit Jessi at www.jessialexander.com
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