WHO IS JUSTIN ELLIOT
Justin Elliot is a musician in the truest sense of the word, living and breathing the discipline in a way that few can. With Honeystone, he and his bandmates produce the kind of beguiling rock and roll that taps into the very ethos of the genre, while his solo work displays the man’s inherent love of his craft and the mastery with which he sculpts, develops and creates music to fall in love with, and to.
Honeystone is also the name of the label he helped found back in November 2014. He’s still President of Honeystone Music, but today he is also manager of the Jambox event space, practice room and community hub in Charlotte, North Carolina. These projects put Justin Elliot at the heart of the local musical ecosystem, not simply creating but also facilitating and encouraging that creation in others.
A DEEP DIVE INTO JUSTIN ELLIOT MUSIC
But to really get to know Justin and his work, we need to delve into his music. Join us on an exploration of Justin Elliot, musician, in three key tracks.
Let’s start with Cuando Llueve from the 2017 Honeystone record Scout’s Honor, named for the group’s beloved pet dog. The track bowls in with the barely restrained menace of a dark desert highway, an ominous guitar line picking its way through the gloom like a set of headlights hinting at perils just beyond the limits of perception. Translating as “When it Rains” in English, Cuando Llueve brings the thunderous drums and Southern Gothic aesthetic that made artists as diverse as Nick Cave, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age fall in love with this kind of sound, countering all this with a beautiful, plaintive vocal reminiscent of folk artists like Fleet Foxes or Iron & Wine.
Christina James, however, is something altogether different. Scuzzed-out distortion and thumping bass immediately dial back on the mystery and malice and replace them with attitude and swagger. The on-the-road aesthetic is still here, but this is a wholly new take – one that you feel is aching to be played live, getting pulses rising, sweat dripping, and beer swilling in some glorious room somewhere.
Last but not least is She’s So Tired, featuring the stripped-back sound of Justin going it alone without the rest of his Honeystone collaborators. A gorgeously intricate affair, Elliot’s voice is cast adrift on a sea of hammer-ons and pull-offs as the fragile acoustic guitar gets to work. Supported by breathy percussion and a muted bass rhythm, there is energy here, and passion, but it’s tightly reined in by Elliot’s expert songwriting.
But describing Justin’s music in words on a page is like rendering the Mona Lisa in Gorilla Glue and macaroni. To really understand what we’re on about, you’ll have to give his records a whirl for yourself.