Francine Honey – Stay

When you take a little bit of country, a whole lot of soul, toss in some contemporary pop polish and add just a dash of old fashioned Americana, you get something along the lines of Francine Honey’s remarkable new single “Stay,” from 2018’s impeccable To Be Continued… LP.

In the music video for the song, we look on as Honey owns the stage of a little club, singing her heart out with as much zeal and emotion as ever, and while the visuals are presented to us in Hollywood-quality high definition, there’s a rustic, old world charm to the performance that only adds to the essence of the track.

To Be Continued… is a very multidimensional album, and I think that “Stay” captures that really well. Though it boasts a countrified tone in Honey’s lead vocal, this song is driven by jazz percussion that meets its melodic match in a blues-style guitar part which has as much to communicate to us as any of the adjacent verses do. The arrangement is tight but leaves enough room for the lyrics to breathe and feel unforced, and while there’s not a lot of urgency in the drums, the rhythm never descends into slothful stagnation.

The music video is artfully shot, and best of all, it isn’t weighed down with any sort of complicated narrative separate from that of the words. I like the black and white colorization a lot; from where I sit, it gives an old school context to the music that makes the harmonies feel really swanky and vintage. Honey is so comfortable on stage, and alongside her well-chosen instrumentalists, emits a presence that has more in common with the classic, pre-War jazz singers of yore than it does anything in modern pop.

Stay” has a master mix that is quite generous with the string section, but there’s no debating that the vocal track is the most explosive element in the whole of the song. It joins forces with the guitar on more than one occasion and slashes through the invisible barrier between artist and audience on the strength of a heavenly groove that is devastatingly handsome and yet free of artificiality. The cosmetics here are excellent and as glittery as anything currently topping the Billboard charts, but the substance of the content is what truly makes this single the treasure chest of tones that it undisputedly is.

If you haven’t heard Francine Honey’s work before, “Stay” is a great way to get acquainted with her seductive sound, which has been all the talk among audiophiles with an ear for Americana in the last year or so.

Honey’s To Be Continued… album hit the ground running thanks to this track and “Shacked-up Sweetie,” but I don’t think that either of these songs is fully representative of where she could take her skills were she to go full-on experimental in the studio.  Only time will tell for sure, but I think that she exhibits enough potential here to solidify her status as one of the underground’s most inspired young artists to watch.

If you enjoyed Stay, check out her official website by clicking here & give her a like on Facebook by clicking here.

Eric Jarvis

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