On The Cedar Creek Sessions, Austin, Texas, natives Stonehoney give a raw, one-take, and occasionally rebel nod to their homeland. Veteran musicians Shawn Davis, Phil Hurley, David Phenicie, and Nick Randolph recorded the disc over a three-day period in April 2010 with the help of Johnny Cash collaborator Earl “Poole” Hall, and former Wilco-er Ken Coomer. It’s that self-proclaimed “collaborative spirit” that successfully spans most of the album’s 14 tracks.
“Two Years Down” features an upbeat, country radio-ready rhythm, backed by the band’s twangy, rich, rumbling vocals. The lyrics tell a different story and set a lovelorn tone for most, if not all, of the tracks: “It’s two years down in the City of Angels, And I’m still all alone.” Rhyme-happy second track, “Headlights on a Midnight Train” turns a soulful corner, adding an “I’ll be there” theme that resurfaces on the syrupy “Little Angel” and gospel-tinged winner “There Is Light."
Not to worry: the long-lost-love theme isn’t lost for long. “I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” “Fallin’ Apart,” and “Still Gonna Sing Your Song” call out to that ubiquitous “you.” These are, however, minor stumbling blocks when placed beside the ode-to-the-night gem “Dance with You Tonight” and the grooving closer, “Feel Like I’m Gonna Die.”
The Cedar Creek Sessions is out now on Music Road Records.