AMANDA ANNE PLATT & THE HONEYCUTTERS
New York / Open Up Your Door
There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has challenged every artist to think differently about their work, but Amanda Anne Platt and her band, The Honeycutters, are probably one of the few inspired to work on an innovative project at once more sweeping and yet more intimate than anything they’d previously done—a concept suite built from songs recorded under the straitened circumstances of quarantine and envisioned as a “deconstructed album,” released, not as a package, but in a monthly series of paired singles.
For the first Organic Records release, Platt has chosen two numbers—”New York” and “Open Up Your Door”—that exemplify the project’s essential concept of duality and its ultimate title: The Devil / The Deep Blue Sea. As she explains, “I’ve always liked that saying. For me, the two groupings of songs represent different sides of the creative process, with The Devil including the more manic, upbeat, outgoing—maybe even grotesque at times—and The Deep Blue Sea being more reclusive, contemplative, understated. As an artist, I’ve spent a long time judging myself when I’m at either extreme, so it’s nice to have an opportunity to celebrate the balance they provide one another. As a good friend of mine put it, ‘Sometimes you’re drowning in The Deep Blue Sea and you need The Devil to pull you out.’”
With Evan Martin’s nervously insistent cymbal taps, rolling keyboard, and steady drums underpinning a pared-down, two-chord progression, “New York” offers listeners their first glimpse of The Devil—and a bit more of a pop sensibility than is usual for Platt. It’s a note of departure, a message of admiration, and an image-laden, poetic love letter to her home state that carries plenty of punch in Matt Smith’s electric guitar and bassist Rick Cooper’s simmering bass lines.
“‘New York’ is a song I wrote when my parents were selling the house that I grew up in,” the singer recalls. “I hadn’t lived there for a long time at that point, but it came at a time when I was saying goodbye to a lot of people and places that had meant home and comfort to me, and it just felt like kind of a final break from something I had been. This makes sense to me as the first ‘A side’ for just that reason—goodbyes sometimes make the best beginnings. We’re not in Kansas anymore… or New York.”
The first “B side,” on the other hand, serves up a more melancholy meditation on creativity, artistic ambition, and, perhaps, the enforced idleness of quarantine. The mournful sobs of the steel guitar (Smith), and the warm, R&B flavor of Martin’s electric piano echo Platt’s wistful tones, as she looks back at “all the miles I tried to fly on broken wings” to recall “those hungry days we had, And dreams that kept us up ‘cause we wanted them so bad.” And while the narrator offers that “tonight I think I’d trade every memory I made to get that back,” she still offers a wistful toast to hope as the song subsides into an instrumental coda that is somehow sparse and lush at the same time.
Still, Platt’s wit emerges when she notes, “‘Open Up Your Door’ in title alone would have been a good kicker for the B sides. It’s a call to the muse—don’t forsake me, I’m still here and I have all this shit to make sense of.” And irreverent though it may be, that’s a sentiment that augurs well for the entire series to come, The Devil / The Deep Blue Sea.
KEY SELLING POINTS
- An Asheville, NC entity, the band is critically acclaimed locally, regionally, nationally, as well as overseas
- Previous album Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters (Organic Records 2017) placed #2 (sandwiched between Jason Isbell and Gregg Allman) in their regional radio station WNCW’s year end listeners poll for 2017