Deep south moved west. Four Alabama natives met at college, they all played instruments, seemed compatible, they moved across the country to Los Angeles to develop their sound and achieve their dreams. There, they played their first notes together and destinies ignited. Since then, there has been sleeping on couches, playing in bars, working on movie sets, and releasing singles and an EP out into the world. The Tonk Honkys‘ sound is that classic southern country, bluesy, rock and roll with a little west-coast mellow and smart lyrics. No songs about tractors or divorce here, there are better things to do. They have a full length album lined up for release this spring which is super exciting!
Today I’m checking out a few of their singles. They released a new one not too long ago called “Like I Said”. It’s a nice, mellow song. Easy to listen to and hum along. Distinctly country, but a friendly sounding country. The lyrics are friendly too. It’s a song about the amount of selfishness in society and the desire to combat it with kindness. “We’re chasing dollar signs in a race without a finish line. We step on everyone else while we fend for ourselves. But there’s a better way we can all start living today. Just swallow your pride and admit that our lives all mean the same.” It’s a catchy, honest chorus. The melody and the message stay with you. It’s a little bit front porch, deep south, acoustic jam session with some hippie love mixed in. Those are all great things.
“Carry It Away” starts off with a pretty piano melody, adding in more instruments as the song develops. The song remains very gentle throughout. It’s a song about overcoming a broken relationship. There is pain involved in leaving and ending, but hope in finding a new beginning. It’s a sad song, but hopeful. Don’t leave love behind when you leave, take it with you, don’t give up on love. This one is a little less country than the others. It still has some of that deep south vibe, but it’s very subtle.
“Winston County Run Away” is an adventurous, finding yourself song. It’s closer to the theme of many traditional country songs. Family trouble, run away from home, no place captivates you, so keep going. I love the acoustic guitar, I like that this band is not driven by electric sounds. There are some in there, but it’s not the driving force. I think that this is what gives their music such a different feel than most current country musicians. The vocal harmonies in this song are really nice, very balanced, and not overbearing.
The song that I found to be my favorite is actually one of their oldest. “From Somewhere” is about leaving life in Alabama for the whole new world that Los Angeles has to offer. The lyrics capture the emotion of missing someone who you’ve had to leave behind you. No one can take their place. Everyone just makes you miss them more. It’s a sad song, but who doesn’t enjoy a good sad song? The melody is catchy, the guitar is driving but unaggressive. The bits of electric guitar sounds have a nice tone to them. The song itself sounds like a sad, but distant memory. “Goodnight from somewhere in Los Angeles.”
I like the super mellow sound this band has. They’re not your typical group of Alabama natives. If you like current country music, but are looking for something a little different, a little more pleasant–you should check out the Tonk Honkys. They would be great driving music. Get excited for their album coming out this spring and go check out their singles.