Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears got their start in Austin, Texas in 2007. Joe Lewis was working at a pawn shop in Austin when he picked up a guitar and started performing at various open mic nights around the city. While Lewis was performing shows as part of a local blues trio, Zach Ernst, a member of the University of Texas Music and Entertainment Committee, booked him to open for Little Richard at the school’s annual Forty Acres Fest.
The band has grown substaintially since Lewis got his start. The Honeybears are now eight members strong and includes Ernst, Matt Strmiska, Ian Varley, Bill Stevenson, Jason Frey, Derek Phelps and Joe Woullard. The group opened for Spoon and Okkervil River in 2007, signed to Spoon’s Lost Highway Records in 2008 and played at both Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits the same year. In 2009 Esquire listed Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears as one of the “Ten Bands Set to Break Out” at the SXSW Festival.
Addam first saw Black Joe at Lollapalooza in 2008, but I had class while they were playing. I didn’t get to see them until the following summer, when Addam and I went to Chicago’s Sheffield Garden Walk, a summer music and garden festival.
They were worth the wait because, while small, it was one of the best shows I saw while in Illinois. Addam got a lot of videos out of it, but I’m posting one that highlights the show’s headliners. The Honeybears are the first act featured.
As you can see from the video, it was obviously an amazing time. I’ve only seen them once, but I can’t wait to check out some of their new songs at Bonnaroo this year. From everything I’ve witnessed and watched, they’re always a very lively, very entertaining show.
- Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears EP (2009)
- Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! (2009)
- Scandalous (2011)
Songs to Listen For:
- I’m Broke
- Get Yo Shit
- Bobby Booshay
- Big Booty Woman
- Please, Part 2
Times at Roo: 0
Times I’ve Seen Them: 1
“Brought me down straight to my knees/She’s doing things I’ve never seen/Got me crying just like a baby/Come on baby, you just look pretty.” – Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Sugarfoot (2009).