Honey Brown - Honey Brown

Honey Brown
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When you're a reviewer, the avalanche of CD's you receive from established and evolving artists start out as a treat, but some, unfortunately, end up lining the trash bin, because it boils down to one glaring truth: just because you have access to a mic and track doesn't make you worthy of the privilege. Fortunately for my ears, Atlanta's Honey Brown doesn't have that problem.

On her MySpace page, the singer/songwriter/producer states that her influences include lauded legends such as Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle and Phyllis Hyman, but what I heard in her mellifluous soprano was a hybrid of Kelly Price and Randi Crawford (with a pinch of Faith Evans here and there).

When you're a reviewer, the avalanche of CD's you receive from established and evolving artists start out as a treat, but some, unfortunately, end up lining the trash bin, because it boils down to one glaring truth: just because you have access to a mic and track doesn't make you worthy of the privilege. Fortunately for my ears, Atlanta's Honey Brown doesn't have that problem.

On her MySpace page, the singer/songwriter/producer states that her influences include lauded legends such as Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle and Phyllis Hyman, but what I heard in her mellifluous soprano was a hybrid of Kelly Price and Randi Crawford (with a pinch of Faith Evans here and there). She's gifted with one of those lush, multi-layered voices, evident from the opening track, "Ghetto Story." It's subject matter is cliché (a boy caught up in the street game after years of poverty and struggle), but the song's mournful melody and her passionate delivery still enables it to worm itself into your subconscious: "He don't wanna see the tears in her eyes, when she's thinking about how hard she tries. Any day they could be out in the street, seems like ends ain't never gon' meet."

While the tracks could use more depth and dimension, that shortcoming doesn't detract from the lyrical contents; Honey's narrative approach to the topics transforms the ordinary into intriguing. She covers the gamut of emotions, from the giddy blush of attraction ("Hot Daddy," "The Sound of Flirting"), the throes of love ("Sweet November") and yes, even enjoying life in your own skin ("Feelin' Good", "It's Alright"). Anyone less skilled would've made a kiss-off like "Never Again" into a grating diatribe, but Honey's maturity smoothes out the rough edges and makes it an anthem for any woman tired of being devalued by a man: "You know you ain't right; had me dressed to impress, knew my week was a mess, had me mad on a Friday night." The same goes for the suitably salty "I Don't Give a Damn," where her boyfriend is running the streets at all hours and putting the boys before their union is the last straw.

Some independent artists have grandiose dreams that they don't possess the talent or the tenacity to realize, but again, Honey Brown isn't one of those. Her rich, throaty vocals, lyrics and focus will get her there, and getting this debut now enables you to truthfully say, "I knew about her way back when..."

By Melody Charles

 
Album of the Month - Plunky & Oneness - "Afroclectic"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"
Featured Album - Jeffrey Dennis - "Lovin On You"
Featured Album - Leon Ware - "Rainbow Deux"

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