Honky Tonk Rose
by Pete Clemons
|Honky Tonk Rose|
Buried within the bleakness of a country album called ‘Deguello Motel’, is a more upbeat song called ‘Honky Tonk Rose’. The album is written and produced by American singer songwriter Roger Alan Wade who is from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Although I am guessing that Roger Alan Wade is relatively unheard of over here in the U.K. he does however have a pedigree of note. It sees that Roger has written songs for country legends such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Hank Williams Jr. amongst many others.
A verse from his song ‘Honky Tonk Rose’ goes like this……..
On the crazy side of town there is a bar room
Where the music's loud and beer and whiskey flows
There's a girl there breakin' hearts and waitin' tables
I love that girl, my honky tonk Rose
And maybe, it was, just that track, which may have been the catalyst for one of Coventry and Warwickshire’s newest, and most unlikely bands. Namely: Honky Tonk Rose. Who knows?
But regardless of whether or not the song inspired the band, I do think that it sets the scene for what HTR are all about. They are certainly upbeat and they are certainly uplifting.
I mentioned the word unlikely. Not in a derisory way at all but more with surprise. Folk who know the Coventry and Warwickshire music scene will be familiar and know the background to some or all of the names that make up HTR. And maybe they share my surprise.
However for those who don’t the band are Holly Hewitt - vocals, Dave Page - guitar, Horace Panter - bass, Rick Medlock - drums, Jim Widdop – steel guitar and Malc Evans guitar.
Having witnessed HTR in action several times during 2016 this 6 piece appears to specialise in delving into the American songbook in search of obscure, the not so obscure and long heard country rock based songs and bringing them to life once more.
The project was brought together by Horace Panter who had the dream of playing the classic country songs he remembered as a youngster. And HTR simply came together to enable that dream to reach fruition.
2016 was a very productive year for the band. Their debut was at the Broomfield Tavern back in February and they continued to play some top venues and events throughout the year.
To quote one of the band members ‘Honky Tonk Rose is a dream of a project and I feel very lucky to be part of it’. ‘Every gig has been received with great enthusiasm’.
And it is absolutely right to say that this is a serious band. Each of those involved in this project are seasoned and experienced musicians who are equally enthusiastic.
All the elements for country rock are there including trucking, beer, the dispossessed and God. This all sounds very dull maybe but, dour in its execution of the music, it certainly is not. This band really does whip up an exciting atmosphere.
And with concerts performed well beyond Coventry’s boundaries, including prestigious venues such as the Jam House in Birmingham, Honk Tonk Rose is raising a few eyelids.
So there you have it. Honk Tonk Rose, creating their take on country music and delivering it passionately and with sincerity. So maybe, it shouldn’t have been so much of a surprise to me after all.
Honky Tonk Rose - give it up or let me go - broomfield tavern,coventry - 27/02/16