Genre: Honky Moonshine Music
Sound description: Sitting on the front porch, sipping electric moonshine with good friends telling tales and rearranging the molecular structure of the air surrounding your ears with sweet harmonies and well plucked strings.
RIYL: Old and In the Way with Carl Perkins sitting in.
Web site: http://www.reverbnation.com/thehonkys
The Honkys!, Southern California’s indie roots stalwarts, hav
e been forging original American music long before the current trend towards banjos and mandolins developed. Originally formed in 1982 as the Bel-Aires, the current line up of brothers, Bret & Broy Hazzard along with their childhood friend Sean McCarty, create propulsive, musical innovations at every stop on their never ending tour.
Most bands wouldn’t dare to fill the room with simple straight ahead music without the back bone support of a drummer, but the Honkys! go one step further. Every night, the band distributes; shakers, tambourines and cow-bells to tipsy patrons across the West. The effect is an improvisational whirlwind which enraptures listeners, drawing them into the mix.
While Sean carries the rhythmic weight of the band, momentum is often guided by Broy’s box car strum, which gives participating listeners a musical framework to build upon. The result of Sean’s Stand Up Bass line is a slap, click and thump to the chest. Often Sean will build understated patterns which will lull the ear, only then will he pounce upon the crowd with a thick wallop, all without losing time.
The structure built by Broy and Sean is set ablaze with the fire-hot fretwork of brother Bret. Using no effects or other technical wizardry, Bret is a true master of emotion. His bright, clean guitar strokes can turn dizzyingly turbulent in a moment; like a roughneck out on the weekend.
All three Honkys! take their turn at the mic, each displaying his own unique style. Bret’s menacing yowl strikes granite terror on tune’s like “Tuesday Night,” the tale of an ugly bender turned deadly. Broy’s fractured tenor, on the other hand, brings to mind the balmy blissful splendor of a Hilly Billy Jerry Garcia. He can warm a room with his easy smile on tunes like the crowd pleasing sing-along “Emerald Treasure.” Sean, the crooner of the group, conveys goof ball charm on brawny cruisers such as ‘Reno” or the party starting “Bring it On”.
Even though nearly 30 years of polish have buffed the Honkys! sound to a fine sheen there are still enough rough spots to keep things interesting. While each night’s set may contain many of the band’s original favorites spiked with selected covers and attic-dusty rarities, the result is an adventurous trek through new melodic territory. The tuneful travelogue includes passage through flashes of dread and joy, sorrow and elation.
Over the years, the boys have learned to pilot a stuffed road house through the highs and lows of an arousing set. One minute they may batter the listeners with the caveman stomp of “Walk Tall”, scaling the heights of ecstatic splendor and the next they will cool things down with a stroll across “14 Years” of heartbreak. But they will always bring you right back home with the locomotive jooglin’ and rocking chair comfort of “Front Porch”.
The music of the Honkys! is at once immediately accessible and infinitely ethereal. They are equally comfortable surrounded by rollicking children at a street fair, or by slicked back low riders at a car club convention. These guys can, and have opened for any and everyone. Punks, Posers, Prophets and Cowboys all convene when the Honkys! take the stage. As the good doctor, Hunter S. Thompson once said “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” There’s no denying that the Honkys! will get you there…and maybe even bring you back.
1982, Santa Barbara, CA
Dead, Willie, The Specials,Wilco, Carl Perkins
Recording and touring.