Driving back from the beach in a torrential storm, I finally pulled off in an abandoned hotel parking lot near UCLA (Upper Conway, Lower Aynor, South Carolina) when the wind was blowing the rain sideways and my econobox was hydroplaning. About 15 other trucks and cars waited for the rain to let up. I opened the Cedar Creek Sessions and laughed out loud when “White Knuckle Wind” played, pulled out my phone, and tracked them down on the spot to set up an interview. The next week, I chatted with Phil Hurley of Stonehoney for Country Fried Rock.
I am completely biased; I love this album–every song on it. Although the style differs, it puts me in the same frame of mind as the indie release of Space Wrangler from Widespread Panic did. I was singing along on the first listen. The Cedar Creek Sessions is a fantastic driving record, for either long road trips or just the morning commute. Go ahead and roll the windows down and sing out loud. The people stopped near you just might join in on the chorus. No matter what, you’ll enjoy the ride. I cannot wait to catch them play at the Americana Music Association Festival 2010 in Nashville.
I’m not sure how Phil Hurley manages to not be jaded, but rather he is freed by his early success in the music business; the guy played on Letterman when he was twelve! Hurley has flirted with the highs and lows of record deals, hitmaking, and anonymity, and now with the musicians of Stonehoney, they are attacking success via music methodically, professionally, and deliberately. They know exactly what they want, and how they want to get it: by playing their music the way they want to, for audiences who love it.
UPDATE: Caught Stonehoney at the Americana Music Association festival 2010 at the Mercy Lounge. Their live show is even better than Phil described. They perform for the crowd–who was really into their music–and are tight musicians and live harmony. They really do sound just like this record. The Cedar Creek Sessions is a great representation of their live show. Definitely check them out if you get a chance.
UPDATE #2: Stonehoney is on indefinite hiatus, but you should still check out this record.
Songs in Episode 1002 include: