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Honeysuckle Sweet

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Album Review

Count Jessi Alexander's unapologetically pretty, country-tilting debut among the growing crop of discs able to deliver those disenfranchised with modern music from their funk. She's not exactly a throwback — lyrics rendered in a decidedly 21st century voice, especially those on "This World Is Crazy," which tips a sad hat toward tumultuous times, and "Unfulfilled," a clever ode to quiet desperation as experienced by the modern woman, lend her a vitality that stamps itself nearer the front of the mind than the back — but this is music not self-conscious about celebrating its roots. Karla Bonoff seeps through the title track, and flashes of Linda Ronstadt work their way into the more swollen-hearted songs, like "Make Me Stay or Make Me Go." (All tracks were written or co-written by Alexander.) Roughed up by the more playful numbers, the creamy quality in her voice takes on a California sunniness that would sit well alongside early-era Jackson Browne, but it's her Tennessee heritage that hums to the surface most frequently. The clear-eyed confessions and gorgeously gauged jolts of rock and soul aside, in lighter moments Honeysuckle Sweet can call to mind a kooky but likable crosshatching of J.J. Cale and Patsy Cline.


Born: 1972 in Jackson, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

Country siren and accomplished singer/songwriter Jessi Alexander was born in Jackson, TN, in 1972 and raised simultaneously in Memphis and Georgia (her parents divorced when she was three). Alexander -- named after outlaw country singer/songwriter and wife of Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter -- found comfort in music immediately, relying on the sounds of Motown, bluegrass, country, and rock & roll to help ease her through a problematic home life. She sang in bands throughout college, eventually dropping...
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Honeysuckle Sweet, Jessi Alexander
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