Sound Track: Sidecar Honey

Sidecar Honey is the songwriting trifecta of Dave Dribbon, Jeff Honeycutt and Randy Dzielak — a self-described “down home roots sounds with an original modern edge” outfit. But what makes this Americana act (in a sea of roots-music bands) a stand out is the smart juxtaposition of shrewd songwriting and high-energy rhythm.

Not that Sidecar Honey is overly pensive. While these are thoughtful songs, they’re for the thinking man with a beer in hand. As the catchy chorus of “Closer” says, “Just grab a beer and take my hand, baby come a little closer.” This isn’t rocket science. In fact, much of the band’s catalog, with its dance-ready beats and comfy hooks, would be right at home on contemporary country radio. (We’d all win with that outcome — country seems to be the new top-40 rock, and the genre would benefit from some songwriting of substance.)

“I know I Was Wrong” marries influences from Paul Simon to Springsteen. The happy warble of the guitar line, the brushes-on-snare, the build of intensity, the rasp in Dribbon’s voice. The song is flannel and white sand, hard work and hard play. “I miss you as if you were the only one I’ve ever know,” Dribbon sings, the lyrics as sweet as they are wrenching over the levity of a whoa-oh-oh background chorus.

“Better in My Dreams” rocks harder. The keen of electric guitar and the throttle of drum kit whip the song along. But even on its slower offerings, Sidecar Honey plays with the same enthusiasm and barely curbed thunder. There’s a built-in sense that the whole vehicle could go hurtling off a cliff at 90 miles an hour — that the band never loses control is a testament to its skill. That they consistently play that edge is a testament to the musicians’ love of the songs.

Sidecar Honey performs at The Orange Peel on Saturday, Nov. 15 as a part of a local showcase. The lineup includes Travers Brothership and Porch 40. 9 p.m., $5.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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