B & the Honeyboy are on track to make themselves the Irish answer to the Handsome Family. A partnership with one half hailing from Wexford, ‘B’ (Aileen Mythen) and the other ‘the honeyboy’ (Kieran (K.J) McEvoy) from Dublin, B & the Honeyboy are combining to create sultry, rich, organic blues and americana noir.
The group formed in 2007. Not long after their formation, the band had already put together their first self-titled album. Their second release ‘Forgotten Books’, the album that I will feature tracks from here was released in June of last year. The background of both members offers a glimpse into the numerous paths of those working in the industry. Keieran (K.J.) is a lifelong professional musician who has played in New York with ‘Naked Grape’ and ‘Smashed Gladys’. He has since played with his sister (Eleanor McEvoy) and a number of other Irish acts before coming to ‘B & The Honeyboy’. Currently he also facilitates the songwriting course in Waltons School of Music, Dublin. Aileen is a acting graduate who also has taken part in a number of theatre, film, TV and radio productions. Their diverse individual careers may explain the six year gap between album releases. Nonetheless worth the wait.
‘Forgotten Books’ was co-produced by Gavin Ralston (who previously worked with Mike Scott, Sharon Shannon) and recorded at his Silverwood studieos in Wicklow. The album was partly funded through a successful FundIt campaign. According to the band themselves, their music has matured since their first release to include a wide palate of americana, rockabilly and country-noir. Evident of this diversity includes a song like ‘I Got You’, a gentle, summery drenched, melody of love where the vocal harmonies combine in a beautifully complimentary manner. In contrast, the raw, rockabilly shaped ‘Image on My Retina’ is straight-up country rock where Aileen’s vocals and Kieran’s guitar punch and fight for space that makes the song a high energy ruckus sound.
My favourite of what I have heard from the album is the title track. ‘Forgotten Books’ is a six minute, building, smouldering melody of americana noir. With those perfectly matched vocal harmonies and the striking fuzzy guitar solos, the song descends into a creepy, messy crescendo. A real stand-out.
The duo and the individual talents of Kieran and Aileen have previously received a number of expected comparisons to country artists such as Dolly Parsons, Bonny Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Wilco and Rodney Crowell. Indeed their country soul style does in part remind me of Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris album Old Yellow Moon released last year. However their sound does seem to strive for a more edge of the border existence and as such comparisons with the Handsome Family and Pony Boy seem apt. The music does suggest that these are artists that put a lot of work into the structure of their releases and the evidence is plain to see.
You can find out more about the B & The Honeyboy on their official site where they have a track from the album available to download for free. Also check out their facebook page for other information. You can find the album on iTunes too.