Artist To Watch

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Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears: WXPN's April 2009 Artist to Watch

If there's any chance of James Brown's reincarnation, Black Joe Lewis would be a prime candidate. This twenty-something soul singer hails from Texas with his new band The Honeybears - comprised of blues-rockers with names like Sleepy, Sugarfoot, Rooster, Big Show, Wild Bill, and Slyder McKnight the Night Train. With a tight horn section, blazing guitar licks, and Lewis' raw vocals, the group and its frontman are quickly taking over the Austin garage rock scene and moving onto the rest of the country.

After barely four weeks of practice together, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears were playing funked blues-rock to sold-out venues. Hitting up festivals and touring along the coast with bands like Okkervil River and Spoon soon brought a flood of label offers and performance requests to the group. Crowds, critics, and producers alike can't resist their rough energy and gritty soul.

The band's official debut, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is, hit the shelves on March 17 while Lewis and his ensemble were rocking out at the 2009 SXSW Festival. (They were named one of the top ten breakouts of the year.) The album stays true to their retro-rock sound, with plenty of '60s riffs. There's no quelling the urge to get up and groove when the brass starts to blare, the organ swells, and Lewis begins his rough wails. For that reason, XPN chooses Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears as Artist to Watch for this month.

Origin: Austin, TX
Recent Release:
Tell 'Em What Your Name Is
Release Date: March 17, 2009
Label: Lost Highway

Song Clips:
listenGunpowder | I'm Broke | Sugarfoot