ON THE RECORD
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears sell their soul amalgam
A passion for a spectrum of roots music styles fuels their debut album.
By Randy Lewis
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
"Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!"
*** 1/2 (3 ½ Stars out of 4)
There are plenty of gritty, explicit songs about jealous, violence-prone lovers and horny-but-clueless boyfriends on the riveting debut album from Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and its fierce, rich amalgam of primal blues, soul, R&B and funk feels simply incendiary.
The band mines the tradition of firecracker ensembles that backed the likes of James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Sly Stone, and Lewis comes across as a soul shouter of the first degree. Forget neo-soul -- this is "Yeow! soul."
"Our drummer came up with the term 'garage soul' -- we all keep looking for a new term to describe what we do," Lewis, 27, said recently by cellphone from inside the van all eight band members cram into for road gigs. "We're always getting lumped in with blues bands, but we want people to know that's not really it."
Lewis had been knocking around Austin playing more traditional blues until he and guitarist Zach Ernst teamed to form the Honeybears.
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