I've always been a sucker for sweet, simple harmonies, and especially those of the male/female variety. Maybe it was this predisposition that suckered me in, or perhaps it was the Chomp and Stomp-driven Sweetwater haze, but whatever it was, the Honey Dewdrops moved me.
Hailing from Scottsville, Virginia, the rootsy duo, consisting of vocalists Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish, passed through Atlanta this past weekend for only the second time in the band's several-year long existence.
"One of the players in Peachtree Station, Steve Schaaf, found us and suggested we play [Chomp and Stomp]. Since we were going to be down there for another show that was canceled, we went ahead and booked the show so glad we did," the band explains via email.
Those of us lucky enough to be in attendance at their pristine, bare bones performance on Saturday were equally glad. Bluegrass music is given easily to cliché, and forgive me for employing it here, but the setting sun, paired with the setting the natural amphitheater which forms the eastern ridge of Cabbagetown Park proved an acutely fitting atmosphere for the Honey Dewdrops' brand of Americana.
Wortman and Parrish employ the same sort of close, haunting harmonies as Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (in fact, Wortman's sultry drawl at times bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Welch), but rather than the wilted atmospherics of that duo, a more palpable sense of urgency permeates the Honey Dewdrops' originals. "We have a very deep commitment to this type of music," the band writes. That unwavering devotion is perhaps what most sets groups like the Honey Dewdrops apart from the rest of the pack while traditional bluegrass is often ably performed by able musicians, it's usually pretty easy to tell when a band really means it. According to the band, they each recently quit their teaching jobs "to go full-time." These folks mean it.
And keep a lookout: the Honey Dewdrops will pass back through Decatur on November 27 as part of the Eddie's Attic Shootout.
(Photo courtesy the Honey Dewdrops)
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