Sensory Overload: Honey & Blue tackles connectivity issues in record release show

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

By Andy Downing

Considering the assortment of throwback sounds that wormed their way into Honey & Blue's music — 1960s soul, Chicago blues, and ’70s R&B included — it didn't surprise when the local duo harmonized about exchanging letters via the postal service on “From Me to You” rather than embracing more modern forms of communication.

Connectivity issues dominated the band’s time onstage at Skully’s on a recent Sunday, singer Stephanie Amber and singer/guitarist Adam Darling filling their songs with myriad references to couples struggling to come to grips with new realities.

On the bluesy “Stranger in Your Arms,” the two embodied lovers who remained distant even in those moments they huddled close enough to feel one another's hearts beat. “Red Sky,” in turn, a slow burner that emanated a steady heat like the glowing embers in a fire pit, was rooted in a romance that lingered long after the two parted (“I promised myself I would let you go,” Amber cried, knowing full well she couldn't). Even a cover of Bonnie Raitt's “I Can't Make You Love Me” walked a similar line, its bluesy ache fueled by unrequited passions.

Though the characters in the songs occasionally struggled to find the right chemistry, the bandmates — joined here by a trio of backing musicians to mark the release of Honey & Blue’s self-titled debut — remained in relative harmony throughout the evening, save for a somewhat clunky cover of “Tell Me Something Good” that, much like the would-be lovers in “Stranger in Your Arms,” never quite connected. Better were originals like “Six Feet Under” (about learning to love again after being fatally wounded in a relationship) and the cautiously optimistic “It Can’t Rain Everyday,” a jaunty tune that finally introduced a break in the weather.

Fashion Week kicked off the evening with a similarly spirited set that balanced Eeyore-esque lyrics (“Everything in this world will let you down”; “[I was] helpless in a helpless state”) with musical accompaniment that refused to mope. Rather, the quartet stomped through a host of defiant pop-rock nuggets that absorbed life’s various aches, pains and disappointments and still came out swinging rather than falling back to the canvas.

Photo credit: Andy Downing