It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters released their first album. Back in 2009, when the Asheville, North Carolina, band released the album (called “Irene“) independently, they were just called The Honeycutters, but you could tell by the songs that Platt, the singer and songwriter, was destined to be in the spotlight.
Platt’s songs were remarkable little country-rock gems, stories of heartbreak, regrets, small victories, and damaged love, and her singing was a perfect balance of wounded and hopeful, just the kind of delivery these songs needed. The band backed her up with some tough, intuitive playing, and it seemed like they had a deep connection to the material.
“Irene“ got some airplay from WNCW and began building the band’s fan base, allowing them to make four more albums and tour constantly over the next decade. Platt and The Honeycutters celebrated that 10-year run with a new live album, “Live at The Grey Eagle,” which came out in April.
“This year marked a couple of things,” Platt says. “It was 10 years since we put our first album out, and we’ve been more or less the same lineup for about six years. So I just kind of wanted to capture the way the band’s been sounding. I thought we were really tight, and I felt like we’ve become family over the last six years.”
Platt says that The Grey Eagle was the perfect place to make a live album, because of its informal vibe and because she was a longtime fan.
“I remember going there when I first moved to Asheville and immediately wanting to play there,” she says. “It’s just always been really special to me. I love the way it’s set up. It’s very low-key, and I knew that would be good for a live album because I wanted to convey the energy of a laid-back hometown show.”
With the exception of a couple of never-before-recorded Honeycutters songs, “Live at The Grey Eagle” acts as a de facto anthology, pulling fan favorites from all five of the band’s albums.
“I put a question out there to the fans asking what they would want to hear on a live album,” Platt says, “and I tried to be as faithful to that as possible. We put a few new things on there, previously unrecorded, because there were things we’d been playing at our live shows that I wanted to put out there, but as a whole I wanted it to feel like a retrospective, with something from every album.”
The album also marks Platt’s decade-long evolution as a performer, from someone who wasn’t comfortable as the focal point of a band to someone who’s, well, more comfortable than she used to be.
“When we started out, it was just the band name,” she says. “We didn’t use my name. I didn’t like having pictures of myself on the album covers. I wasn’t so much about being ‘the songwriter and singer’; I was part of the band. And that was great. But over the years I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with my own voice and I’ve focused more on what I want to say as a songwriter. I’ve just stepped out into the spotlight a little bit more, and I’m more comfortable with that these days.”
Platt is quick to add, though, that she’s not 100% done with that transition. “There are still moments when I think, ‘I just want somebody else to handle this and I’ll go sleep in the van for a while,’” she says with a laugh, “but it’s been a growth process. I’m more responsible for my own music now, which makes sense.”
See Platt & The Honeycutters this weekend in Spartanburg
Platt & The Honeycutters have a show coming up this weekend at The Fr8yard in Spartanburg, and she says the band has found a receptive audience in the Upstate.
“We’ve always found a lot of acceptance, which has been really great,” she says. “I tend to think of the Greenville/Spartanburg area as close enough to Asheville to include as part of our home base.”
What: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, w/ Pretty Little Goat and the Pacolet Junior Appalachian Musicians
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, July 13
Where: The Fr8yard, 125 E. Main St., Spartanburg
Tickets: $20 (general admission), $75 (VIP)