“My heart grew up around you like a tree grows through a fence / I learned everything I knew in the hours that we spent / Just trying to fit ourselves together like the lovers on TV / Making promises we thought we could keep.”
These lyrics come from the opening verse of Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters’ new song, “The Devil,” which dropped on June 11 as a double-single along with another new track, “Rabbit.” Simple enough lyrics upon first glance, a closer read reveals Platt’s true talents as a writer—using subtle, everyday language, she captures the essence of something profound and deeply beautiful. As amazing a feat as this is, Platt is pretty good about calling a spade a spade: “It’s country music, to put it simply,” she told American Songwriter.
It’s true—in a lot of ways, Platt and The Honeycutters’ music is a synthesis of all the best parts of country music. From the candid lyrics about the individualized experience of traveling through a less-than-perfect world with less-than-perfect navigational tools to just the sheer bliss of the pedal steel guitar lines, there’s something warm and magical about the band’s sound—like all the best country, it offers an instant sense of solace and relief. And like a lot of great country cats, even though Platt is clearly a phenomenal poet, she doesn’t speak too flowery about her craft.
“I’m a singer-songwriter with a band that includes the pedal steel guitar, keys, bass and drums,” she frankly stated. “I write songs about life and people and forgiving yourself and others. A lot of it is sad but some of it is really just happy in disguise.”
Maybe that’s why The Honeycutters are so effective at translating the soul of country into a modern setting: a lot of it has to do with the nuanced balance of emotions. Even though the words might be plainspoken, the music underneath is complex and communicative, expressing something words can’t quite do justice for. “The Devil,” for example, is the kind of song that walks a couple of lines all at the same time.
“‘The Devil’ came about while witnessing the prolonged breakup of a friend’s marriage—it’s not biographical by any means,” Platt said. “But I remember thinking about how each party had done their part, no one was a complete innocent, yet someone always gets the bad rap. My favorite line might be the one about trying to fit together like ‘the lovers on TV.’ I don’t mean that in a sexual way necessarily, just how funny it is to be young and to have everything you know come from completely unrealistic portrayals of love in the media.”
On the flip side (literally), “Rabbit” is another phenomenal example of the band’s knack for classic country goodness. Reminiscent of the theme behind ‘The Devil,” the tune is almost like a soliloquy in which Platt tries to make sense of the chaotic world around her, all through incredibly relatable, everyday imagery.
“I wrote ‘Rabbit’ after our dog, Valentine, killed a baby rabbit in our old backyard,” she explained. “We hadn’t had her that long and I had never been a dog owner before, so it hadn’t occurred to me that that was just something in her nature. I’m a real softie—I don’t even kill ants in the kitchen—so I was pretty broken up about it. For me it was really a microcosm of how violent this world can be, how cruel and indifferent towards innocence it can be (not just talking about the rabbit here). I was trying to figure out how to fit that together with all the good and the beauty that exists at the same time. I still don’t know. I guess that’s the eternal question and the basis of most religions.”
It’s the eternal question and basis for a lot of songwriters too—and while it might not be an easy one to answer, each of Platt’s stabs have merited amazing works of art, which is a pretty good deal.
Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters’ new singles “The Devil” and “Rabbit” are out now and available everywhere. Listen to them below: