I-HEART RADIO:  https://www.iheart.com/artist/francine-honey-32355877/songs/shacked-up-sweetie-60993229/?autoplay=true

Music videos that personify an artist’s identity are considered the cream of the crop across genres in the modern music industry, and when it comes to the new video for “Shacked-up Sweetie” by the one and only Francine Honey, the buzzworthy singer/songwriter based out of Ontario, Canada doesn’t disappoint critics nor her growing fan base. From the stylish wardrobe of the cast to the easygoing attitude of the star herself, who leads an unexpected flash-dance inside of an otherwise stoic wedding ceremony, every component within the video screams Francine Honey and her idealized strain of country music. She borrows a little bit from the Americana of her southern neighbors, but there’s no getting away from her iconic vocal attack, which is as Canadian as maple syrup in the soothing ballads “Space,” “I Wish” and “Snowflakes on My Eyelashes,” which starts off her new albumTo Be Continued… with a boisterous performance from Beth Nielsen Chapman. “Shacked-up Sweetie” might be the song and video combo that jump-starts a stagnant Nashville scene with a touch of serious competition from this Ontario-stationed minstrel, but it’s the record that it was cut from that could possibly be remembered as the most defining moment in Honey’s still-young career.

From the moment that we press play on the first track in To Be Continued…, there’s an organic energy that radiates from each strand of melodic fabric presented to us in “Snowflakes on My Eyelashes,” “Stay,” the title track and “Honey,” a blues rocker that has been playing on repeat since I heard it for the first time this past week. The more intimate moments in the album, such as in “Space” and “Mamas Take Bad Dreams Away,” are balanced out with more energetic swingers like “Open Road,” which contributes a slight rock n’ roll edginess to this LP that I wasn’t really expecting but enjoyed all the same.

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/francinehoneysongs/

Francine Honey has demonstrated a broad scope of talents in the past, but there’s something really different about this material. She doesn’t sound restricted in any way, shape or form; the music is just pouring out of her, almost uncontrollably, to the point where a song like “Marilyn” comes close to overindulging in its own emotionally-charged narrative. Honey doesn’t take us over the line though, and shows off her self-control here just as much as she does her newfound catharsis.

2019 is slated to be one of the biggest years we’ve seen for alternative country artists since the term came into popular use internationally some fifteen years ago, but I don’t have any qualms about naming To Be Continued…’s featured track “Shacked-up Sweetie” a strong contender for best video and single of the year. To be fair, it doesn’t supersede anything that we hear in the remainder of its parent album (which debuted in 2018), but based on its crossover compatibility with pop fans, I believe that it could be the song that brings her the mainstream recognition she’s been looking for in the last half-decade. She’s definitely earned it, and if we’re lucky, this latest single won’t be the only release we see bearing her name in 2019.

“SHACKED UP SWEETIE” VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGaej_weUzM

Michael Rand

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