Songwriting lost in translation: Singer’s punk dreams succumb to Honeycutters’ honky tonk

For the CDTFebruary 8, 2013 

Amanda Anne Platt hoped to be a punk singer when she was in high school. However, as a resident of Asheville, N.C., and the daughter of a lifelong country fan, that dream wasn’t quite in the cards for her.

It didn’t take long for Platt to realize that her musical home was in, as she describes, “Appalachian honky tonk.” She and guitarist Peter James formed the Honeycutters, and the rest is history.

The group will make its first appearance in the area this weekend at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks. Platt said the set list will feature songs from the group’s releases “Irene” (2009) and “When Bitter Met Sweet” (2012), as well as a few covers.

“Since the Elk Creek is a smaller venue, we’ll probably pare it down a little bit,” she said. “Maybe a little folkier — a little more Appalachian and a little less honky tonk.”

Platte said she’s a prolific songwriter fueled by Asheville’s vibrant music scene. She grew up listening to blues and classic country but cites a range of musicians including Gillian Welch and Bruce Springsteen as influences. She said she frequently soaks up inspiration from live shows and events around Asheville.

Platte began writing songs on the banjo, which she quickly found didn’t translate well into the punk songs she was hoping to write. It wasn’t until she met James that things finally began to click.

“When I went to write music, it came out as this folkier, country stuff,” she said. “I remember going to my friend, and when I would show her a song, I would try to make it sound upbeat and she said, ‘That sounds like it should be a slow country song.’ ”

Thanks to that prolific songwriting, the Honeycutters already have a new album full of material they hope to soon begin recording. The band is currently debating whether to try for record-label funding or to raise money themselves through outlets like Kickstarter, a website that allows individuals to finance projects for as little as $1.

“When Bitter Met Sweet” was funded through Kickstarter in the fall of 2010, and the site has grown in popularity since — so much so that Platte worries about entering an oversaturated market.

“We’ll definitely give it some thought next time,” she said. “It would be a shame not to utilize the support our fans can give us.”

The Honeycutters will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks, 100 W. Main St., Millheim. Visit www.elkcreekcafe.net or call 349-8850 for more information.

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