Honey Harper - Starmaker
Mar 14, 2020
87
If you look at both the AOTY as well as the Spotify recommendations for Honey Harper, you can tell the algorithm is totally lost on what to compare his sound to stylistically. There's a reason for that - there downright is nothing that sounds quite like this.

The mixture of dreamy, spacious and gorgeous production with traditional country music is such a fresh sound that I'm not entirely sure what to do with it, both as I listen and as I try to review it. It's a complete anomaly, as everything Harper is accomplishing here is so bizarre and unheard of, yet fits so perfectly as you wonder why more music like this doesn't exist. The prayer I have going forward is that more modern musicians take note of what was accomplished by artists like Harper and his contemporary Orville Peck and continue to reshape modern country into a different image that breaks barriers and shakes the ground it stands on. The more that this occurs, the more I can say over and over again that anyone with the "I like everything but country" mentality will eventually be washed out by a greater acceptance of beautiful and game-changing music.

Songs like opener Green Shadows, The Day it Rained Forever and Suzuki Dreams offer up some of the most compelling and daring sounds I've ever heard in country music, straight up, ever. But then, songs like Something Relative and Vaguely Satisfied take a folkier take on the genre, offering up for the traditionalist who may scoff at the risks Harper is taking elsewhere. It breathes a life into the genre where people can come together and actually agree, damn, country music does have something to offer outside of trucks and beer and women.

Honestly, Harper is a true blue blessing. Starmaker is exactly what it says, an album that makes Honey Harper into a star in my eyes. I will continue to return to this album and I don't know if it'll ever stop shaking my core and reshaping my mental image of what alt-country can sound like.

Favorite track: Suzuki Dreams
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