{ Local Honey's Six by Six Reviewed While Doing My Laundry }
Dwight A. Chambers

local honey - dwight a. chambersIt's been awhile since I dared to wash my clothes at the Laundromat across the street from my apartment building due to the Cockroach Incident. On my last visit, I went in and plopped my laundry bag on the floor near a row of washing machine, only to be greeted by several of the disgusting creatures that, in reacting to the sound or movement of my bag hitting the floor, scampered from under one machine to the next. I left immediately and have been relegated to using the one washer and dryer in my building's basement ever since—sacrificing efficiency where both time and money are concerned. While I don't think I reach the level of a diagnosable entomophobic, just thinking about those disgusting little bastards is giving me the creeps all over again. And it is just so fitting that while doing laundry and facing my fear of six-legged freaks, I am listening to Six by Six, the CD of a band whose mere name could possibly, at least in my mind, draw legions of the banes of my existence to my front door, Pittsburgh's own Local Honey.
   Described to me as "country," I don't quite know what to expect from Local Honey. Hardly a country music connoisseur (my most recent exposure being about thirty seconds of the Sheryl Crow/Kid Rock duet "Picture" before deleting the mp3), I try to steel myself for ultra-twangy melodrama set to music. But the first track, "Before You See the Light," allays my initial apprehensions about the genre and the band. "Light" is a pleasant surprise, I discover, as I fill a triple-load washer with numerous pairs of gray and white socks, boxer briefs in the same two colors, and many undershirts. I regret not picking up a bottle of bleach as I sharply turn my head to the left when I think I spy something small and dark moving across the floor. But there's nothing there.
   Becky Corrigan's vocals are natural and appealing on "Light," a refreshing change from the pop country many have been exposed to because of the crossover appeal of Shania and Faith. While all three straddle genres, Corrigan seems to lean more toward rock than pop.
   I sit down on a chair near a row of huge tumble dryers once I fill three triple-load washers with white, light and dark clothes, respectively. Besides Local Honey, my usual distractions are in full force: the wall-mounted television is on (some talk show where undoubtedly shocking paternity test results are about to be revealed); I take a folded Entertainment Weekly from my jacket pocket (Oh, cool! James Gandolfini has dropped the lawsuit he filed against HBO and is returning to The Sopranos set, and The Dixie Chicks have been pulled from country radio station play lists after lead singer Natalie Maines disparaged George W.); and then there are the other patrons (I spot a painfully pale woman with whom I worked at the East Liberty location of now-defunct Phar-mor and her young son whom I can hear almost as clearly as Corrigan. He just won't shut up!).
   I crank the volume when "Sweet and Stiff" starts to drown out the boy's annoying falsetto. On "Sweet," Corrigan channels the title of the song into her vocal style. The cool yet choppy singing fits the music and the somewhat titillating lyrics: "I like a man/just like I like a fifth/long and tall, baby/sweet and stiff."
   Unloading the washers, a fresh wave of the creeps sets in. I'm obsessed with thinking that somehow, some way, the roaches that I haven't seen in months will be in my clean clothes or the dryers I'm putting them in. With the dryers loaded, I insert quarters and start the machine. Looking through the giant porthole-like doors, my head follows the clothes as they spin around and around. What doesn't enthrall me, though, is "Under My Spell," a duet with Corrigan and fellow vocalist T Glitter. It is on this track more than any other that I feel a forced quality to the slight vocal twang, almost like they're singing into a microphone that filters in stereotypes. And whereas on earlier tracks Corrigan's natural and raw voice charmed, the addition of Glitter is unfortunate, his deeper voice more in need of some degree of vocal control.
   As I take my clothes from the dryers, I am anxious that something is going to happen because I tempted fate. I just know something is going to fall from my clothes as I fold them, that when I got home the scampering would start again. Thankfully, my clothes were insect-free, and Local Honey didn't draw any to my front door, but they did garner my appreciation for their own pretty cool brand of country.

back home.