After barely four weeks of practice together, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears were playing funked blues-rock to sold-out venues. Hitting up festivals and touring along the coast with bands like Okkervil River and Spoon soon brought a flood of label offers and performance requests to the group. Crowds, critics, and producers alike can't resist their rough energy and gritty soul.
The band's official debut, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is, hit the shelves on March 17 while Lewis and his ensemble were rocking out at the 2009 SXSW Festival. (They were named one of the top ten breakouts of the year.) The album stays true to their retro-rock sound, with plenty of '60s riffs. There's no quelling the urge to get up and groove when the brass starts to blare, the organ swells, and Lewis begins his rough wails. For that reason, XPN chooses Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears as Artist to Watch for this month.