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Honkytonk Homeslice

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Album Review

String Cheese Incident member Bill Nershi takes a busman's holiday with Honkytonk Homeslice, the largely acoustic trio also featuring his wife, Jilian Nershi, on guitar and guitarist/mandolin player Scott Law. All three contribute songwriting and lead vocals on different tracks of their self-titled debut album. Bill Nershi's bluegrass tendencies are brought out in the format, and he is also allowed to take a backseat to his bandmates. Law proves a good songwriter in a traditional style, while Jilian Nershi, boasting a sturdy, country-inflected voice that recalls Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris, is the group's real find. The album does not suggest that Bill Nershi should think about quitting his musical day job any time soon, but his secondary group has a sound of its own that makes it a project worth pursuing in his free time.

Customer Reviews

acoustic americana contemporized

acoustic americana contemporized, October 3, 2006 Reviewer: Adam Gromfin "gromf" - See all my reviews Into an era of genre-bending and eclecticism, Honkytonk Homeslice unapologetically thrusts its first studio release -- an unpretentious and thoroughly enjoyable piece of straightforward Americana. Which is not to say that the self-titled album merely imitates the folk music from which it clearly is borne. On the contrary, the trio -- String Cheese Incident's Bill Nershi, wife Jilian Nershi, and musical acrobat Scott Law -- contemporize the story-telling tradition at the heart of this country's best acoustic music, while paying impressive homage to the genre. Instantly familiar cuts like "Weary Homesick Blues" showcase hubby Nershi's tight picking, while revealing vocals paradoxically strong and vulnerable. This is folk music with just the slightest twist, as though pre-electric Dylan learned to flat-pick. Rest assured, however, this is not simply a Billy Nershi solo album bearing a mouthful of a name. Honkytonk Homeslice is a trio of complex harmonies -- vocal and instrumental. Scott lays down the law with his counter-punctual rhythms on mandolin, his always impressive acoustic and electric guitar chops, and his soulful down-home crooning. Law's originals "Deliver" and "Shot In The Blue" -- both previously released by Scott Law Band -- receive a second life, stripped down to their acoustic skeleton, and beautifully augmented by Jilian's edgy harmonies and Billy's unique guitar-work. For her part, Jilian emerges as a powerful force in her first professional effort, completing her metamorphosis from simply "Billy's wife" to "Jilian Nershi" to just plain "Jil," cementing herself in the ranks of contemporary musicians fans affectionately refer to on a first-name basis. When HTHS began touring -- originally as a pre-Law husband-wife duo that hit coffee shops between October 2004's Cheese shows -- Jil often joked that hers were parts she perfected as she and Billy played mom and dad washing dishes at home. Well she's traded in the kitchen sink for a guitar and mic, and has improved ferociously ever since. She leads the trio through her original "Another River" and a haunting and unique take on the traditional "Why You Been Gone So Long?" with an alacrity usually reserved for far more seasoned musicians. With this album, Jil proves herself instrumental to the tranformation of the edgy force of HTHS live performances -- most notably, their recent impressive co-bills with high-energy acoustic phenoms Hot Buttered Rum and Railroad Earth -- into the studio. This album tosses several adjectives at the wall (crisp, tight, harmonic, humble...) but the one that seems to stick over and over is "listenable." Its mix of standards and originals manage to get down-tempo without being stuffy, and upbeat without being flashy. Together, they make for an album fit for headphones or parties, dissection or background music. Honkytonk Homeslice -- both the band and album -- are here to stay.


wow, now i remember why i started listening to SCI. Thanks Bill. Well done.

Billy, you ARE the String in SCI

I am only speculating on your departure, but it seems as if SCI has drowned out the bluegrass aspect of the band. I'm sad your leaving the band, but I can speculate why. This album is fantastic and I can't wait for what is in store for your next chapter. There is no String in the Incident without ya bud. Good luck (as if you'll need it!). (11/7/06)


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active:

Honkytonk Homeslice is a side project for guitarist/singer/songwriter Billy Nershi of the String Cheese Incident. Nershi is joined in the group, an acoustic trio, by his wife, singer/songwriter Jilian Nershi, on guitar, and singer/songwriter Scott Law from Portland, OR, who plays mandolin and guitar. The group was formed in the summer of 2004, when the three began playing together and noticed they were attracting a crowd. They performed their first official show as Honkytonk Homeslice at the Acoustic...
Full Bio
Honkytonk Homeslice, Honkytonk Homeslice
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