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The Nouveaux Honkies

Blues For Country – 2015 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by The Nouveaux Honkies

The Nouveaux Honkies are a duo from Florida that spends most of their time these days traveling in their RV, including a stop off for a few days in Dripping Springs, Texas to record "Blues For Country." Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tim O'Donnell is the main creative force, having written or co-written the 10 originals and handling the bulk of the lead vocal duties, with Rebecca Dawkins contributing sweet harmonies and impressive violin work. With the opening title track (co-written with Dawkins) O'Donnell addresses the band's diverse sound ("You can't sell me/I have no place") with elements of country, blues, folk and a touch of swing.

There are some nice duets with Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty," the lone cover, and "Should Have Loved You," both featuring Lloyd Maines on pedal steel guitar. Maines also plays steel on the amusing country weeper "Whiskey's Getting Harder To Drink" in which O'Donnell details some of the pitfalls of transitioning from hard partying ("It's just all those years of hard falls/Means I need another Tylenol") to living a healthier life ("I tried health food but that made me stink").

One of the stronger tracks is the swinging "Velvet," reminiscent of the Hot Club of Cowtown. Other highlights are the bluesy "She's Nothing But Wrong" and the folksy "Hours into Days," which showcase O'Donnell's soulful vocals.

Produced by O'Donnell with drummer/recording engineer Pat Manske, the instrumentation is stellar throughout, with Dawkins' violin augmented by O'Donnell (guitars, bass, mandola, harmonica, percussion) and Nate Rowe (double bass). With solid tunes and strong performances, The Nouveaux Honkies offer an entertaining effort.