Francine Honey releases “To Be Continued” LP
When you add up jazzy swing beats, countrified twang that lingers in the atmosphere long after the guitar strings stop vibrating, smart lyricism and a vocalist who knows no equal in or outside of her criminally underrated scene, you get To Be Continued…, the brand new album from unparalleled singer/songwriter and Ontarian Francine Honey. I first noticed Honey’s unique depth as a composer in her last full-length LP Re-Drawn, and while that album was certainly an ear-pleasing 10-track sampler, it pales in comparison to the emotionality that songs like “Mamas Take Bad Dreams Away” and “Can’t Break Through to You” have in spades. If you haven’t heard her music before, this is the perfect foray into her craftwork as a folk singer with a country bend that is as alluring as it is impressively authentic.
To say that To Be Continued… is a multilayered record might be the understatement of the year, as it’s meticulously designed mix really brings out all of the textured color in these tracks and allows for even the novice music aficionado to feel like an expert critic. Every facet within the string play we hear in the grassy “Space,” blues burner “Honey” and chilling “Marilyn” is accentuated by the conservatively distributed EQ, which puts a lot of stock in the relationship between Honey and her band rather than just focusing on our lead singer alone. It’s an impeccably produced album from top to bottom, and has a progressively-styled arrangement of songs that makes it easy to play from beginning to end without feeling the need to shuffle the tracks around.
So far, one of my favorite new music videos of 2019 has got to be “Shacked-up Sweetie,” which serves as the token single of this album and represents the aesthetical nature of Francine Honey’s music as a whole beautifully. In the midst of a chaotic but nevertheless good time-filled wedding, Honey is in the eye of the storm, belting out the verses of the song as if she is literally empowered by all of the musical madness and dance fever that she’s inspiring around her. Despite running only eighteen seconds past the three minute mark, the video (and the single, for that matter) doesn’t sound rushed or minimized compared to the rest of To Be Continued…, which on its own feels much more anthological than its modest 11-song track list would suggest.
If you were to ask me to put my money where my mouth is on one particular artist in 2019, I’d push all of my chips into Francine Honey’s corner, as she definitely delivered a diamond in the rough with this latest studio album. As far as I’m concerned, this is the breakthrough that a lot of us were hoping to hear in the wake of the fascination sparked with Re-Drawn back in 2014. I hope that she doesn’t limit its inevitable supporting tour to her native Canada alone, as I’m almost positive that American country fans would eat up this material without any prerequisite knowledge of its composer. If this is indeed a statement record, its message is that Francine Honey is playing in the big leagues now.