the honey dewdrops: living the life, dewing what they love
I stand in awe these days when people choose the path of any form of artistic endeavor, as technology has done one hell of a job in messing up what was once such an easy, albeit cheesy, business. You had an idea, you sold part of your soul to create it and take it to market, you sold the rest of your soul to sell the sizzle, and then you waited and prayed for money to rain down upon your house. Perhaps it was a bit more complicated than that, but you get the idea. Today though, be it photography, film, painting, creative writing or music, you’re like a cork in the ocean. You can beg your fans for funding, or hit up the trust fund. As a musician, you can roll up your sleeves and hit the road to play every nook and cranny, maybe sell a CD or two, pack it up, sleep on someone’s floor and drive to the next hamlet and hit repeat. If you’re good, and resourceful, and maybe have help from someone who knows the ropes, you might be able to start thinking about longevity.
Hailing from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Charlottesville, VA, the Honey Dewdrops are Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish.
That’s the first line of their bio. They sound more authentic that 99.99% of the artists who make up this thing called popular music.
Together, writing and singing in the veins of folk and old country music, Laura and Kagey have been touring the country over the past 4 years and have appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion,” gained Folk Radio notoriety with a #1 album and have shared the stage with musical greats such as Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mary Gauthier, and Matt Flinner Trio.
Most marriages these days don’t last four years, so already this is a unique and special partnership.
The Honey Dewdrops combine a high lonesome duet harmony vocal style with contagious energy, soulful new songs and a fresh angle. The result, with guitars, a banjo and a mandolin, is a sound that welcomes you in like a dear old friend. Warm and honest, the Dewdrops fill up a room with sound and spirit.
Forgive me for what I’m about to say, as I know it is a sin of some sort. But from their very first album and up until the recently released Silver Lining, their sound has constantly reminded me so much of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings that I’m always double checking the iPod display to check for sure. Yeah…shouldn’t have to compare them, but there is a similarity here and I don’t want to just skip over it. And it’s a good thing, not something to cringe at. And it’s not a replicated sound mind you, as if this was a tribute band, but something of their very own that just happens to make my particular ears recall someone else. You might think they remind you of Metallica or Sinatra. Who am I to say? (From Fiddlefreak: “Everyone (and their brother) mentions Gillian Welch in their promo blurbs, but these two really do fly in that rarified realm.”)
So what do I mean by “living the life”? Here’s six weeks in the life of Laura and Kagey, from their own blog:
“We drove 1,000 miles in one day just so we could get to see the Matt Flinner Trio perform near home. We couldn’t pass it up and we’re die-hard fans. We mastered our record in Baltimore the following weekend. Nick Sjostrom poured over every soundbyte and moved from digital to tape and then back to digital all in one weekend to perfect the new record. Jeff and Sue traveled over a thousand miles to help us complete everything and then tour with us for a few shows in the northeast. We finally met another hero, Bruce Molsky, in RI. Portland, ME and our dear friends Landace and Jed played host to us for several days where we stuffed ourselves with as much delicious food as we could afford. The new record came in the mail and we packaged up all the preorders and sent them off! Our car was broken into and robbed on a Saturday in Boston. On Sunday, a lovely lady called to let us know our stuff had been dropped off in her yard (sans microphone but everything else in tact). Another beautiful time in our favorite little northern town, Saranac Lake. Folk Alley previewed our record for a week- woot! We played 2 lovely, lovely CD Release shows in VA at Mockingbird and The Southern! Barry came on a weekend tour through DC and MD….. you get the picture, we’ve been busy and happy.”
Don’t they sound like fun people? I mean, I want to hang with them, maybe sit in on a song or two. So anyway, there’s this long story I could share about how Silver Lining was recorded on a farm in Virginia, “atop a hill that looks east to Roanoke”. I like the line in the press release about all their friends coming out to lend a hand, either contributing to the music or making bread and tea or uncorking wine bottles. And I especially like the tradition that this music is “to the spirit of the hills, to the handmade, community music that came before.”
Here they are for you to check out: