In some ways modern music has passed Black Joe Lewis by, despite his relatively young age. His brand of greasy soul and funk has been pushed aside, replaced by slick synthesizers, pounding drum machines, and perfectly auto-tuned vocals. But that doesn’t stop Lewis and his band, The Honeybears, from plowing ahead with their hip-shaking, James Brown-inspired tunes. Like a refreshing wave from a half century ago, Joe and the Honeybears crank out sweaty, bluesy dance tunes, with real instruments, real vocals, and real soul.
As a kid growing up in Texas Joe Lewis came upon music almost by accident. His family had been playing old blues around him since he was a kid, but it never really set in. It wasn’t until he got a job at a pawn shop that he really took notice. With an endless supply of guitars around Joe taught himself how to play. From there he progressed to playing Austin open mics. But it wasn’t until he hooked up with guitarist Zack Ernst that things really got going.
Once The Honeybears were in place the Austin music scene really started to take notice. Local legends Spoon asked the band to open for them on tour. They got a spot on an SXSW stage. And now they’ve released their first full-length album, Tell ’em What Your Name Is.
The horn riff in the album’s opener bears more than a passing resemblance to The Bar-Keys “Soul Finger”, but it comes across more as an homage than as theft. Like many good soul songs, the vocals are less about the actual words, and more about the delivery. And the delivery is spot on.
“Big Booty Woman”
A classic blues call and response with a classic blues theme: getting laid.
“I’m Broke”, live at Waterloo Records