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Honey Harper - Starmaker - lp coloured -

Price per Unit (stuk): €29.95

The debut long-player from William Fussell, who dons a Stetson under the moniker Honey HarperStarmaker evokes the sunset patina of '70s country-rock and folk staples like Ian Matthews Southern ComfortGram ParsonsNitty Gritty Dirt Band, and the Eagles. The self-described "celestial honky-tonk" enthusiast first tasted success in 2011 with post-punk outfit Mood Rings, but born and raised in Georgia, country music and its regional ubiquity helped to unconsciously shape his songwriting. All the markers of artifice are here, from the showy stage name to the sensual bespoke cover photo, but Fussell has crafted a remarkably moving album that feels both timeless and authentic. "There's no need to ask if I'm stuck in the past, you already know," he croons on the yearning title cut, one of a handful of lush ballads that suggest Harry Nilsson by way of Mickey Newbury. There are echoes of the soft rock-imbued pastoral folk of Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty on the rolling "The Day It Rained Forever," the psych-tinged Baroque pop stylings of Lee Hazlewood on the opulently orchestrated "Suzuki Dream," and the softly lit "Vaguely Satisfied" surprises with an out-of-nowhere and not-unwelcome flute solo. The blend of countrypolitan instrumentation and ambient synths that serve as the album's fuselage is consistently warm and inviting, as is Fussell's emotive and plaintive voice, which can rise from a throaty Sturgill Simpson warble to a soaring falsetto in a single measure. Starmaker is a subtle, yet quietly powerful record that feels like it's been hiding in your record collection for decades, just waiting for the right rainy day to make itself known.

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