Honeythief is the creation of Charleston musician Tim Brennan, who wrote the songs and played bass and guitar on each of the four tracks on the new self-titled EP. A veteran of the music biz, Brennan has honed his ear razor sharp over the years, and the guy definitely knows a great rock hook when it gets stuck in his brain. The kickoff track, “Pieces”, brings to mind great ’90s acts such as The Goo Goo Dolls and even a touch of power pop kings Cheap Trick, especially on the Rick Nielsenesque blistering guitar solo. “Blame” gets a bit more pensive, with shoulda-woulda-coulda lyrics like, “You’re not Jesus and you’re no saint/You can’t even deal with your own pain” that obviously look back on a relationship gone sour. (Personal observation: the now happily married Brennan might have needed a hug of two back in his single and mingling days.) That tune again benefits from the sort of craftsmanship that makes it an instant ear worm. Surely the streak of catchiness couldn’t continue, given the quality of the first two tracks, but then “99 (Come Back)” starts to tickle those tiny hairs in your ear canals that basically make hearing possible, and it’s readily apparent that that we’re dealing with a master pop-smith here. Remember how you felt when you realized that Dave Grohl had more going than just being that thrashing drummer for Nirvana, or when you discovered that a blind-drunk Ryan Adams wrote a better alt-country tune than any of his peers could stone sober? That’s the same basic idea you get about Brennan listening to this EP. The guy seems to write gargantuan rock songs effortlessly. He also has the humbleness to let Spencer Hooks take on vocal duties, even though he’s a fine singer himself. Only the final song on the four-song set, “All in All”, falters a bit, and even that tune will make you want to go dig your Toad The Wet Sprocket CDs out of your closet and revisit those “alternative rock” days of yore. Add in cover art by noted Charleston political cartoonist Steve Stegelin, and this is a superb road music CD, just as long as the trip involves maybe a jaunt to your local Target. Then again, that’s what the “repeat” button is for.
Devin Grant’s love for live music began back in 1982 when he won tickets off a local radio station to see Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. Had that show been anything other than epic, he would probably be an accountant, or perhaps a podiatrist. Since that fateful day Devin has attended hundreds of live shows. Once he figured out that he could get free tickets in return for writing about the shows, music journalism seemed a logical choice. Devin’s work has appeared in Charleston’s Free Times, The Charleston City Paper, The Post & Courier, Charleston Magazine, and No Depression. He has interviewed the likes of Mike Watt, The Rev. Al Green, Tori Amos, Mike Doughty, Warren Haynes, and Loretta Lynn. He has photographed hundreds of bands, including The Police, My Morning Jacket, The Eagles, Willie Nelson, White Stripes, and Taylor Swift.