The Honey Dewdrops Concert Review

The Honey Dewdrops concert was this past Friday at Allen’s Market Building. In case you were unable to make it to the show, Create Local is here with a review.

Allen’s Market Building proved to be an ideal setting for the Dewdrops’ brand of traditional and timeless mountain music. Although Allen’s is a fairly small space, the acoustics and artful decoration created an intimate experience, allowing the performers and audience to interact and connect with one another. We sincerely hope that Allied Arts will continue to take full advantage of this wonderful venue in the future for concerts and performances of all kinds.

The real star of the night was the Dewdrops’ collection of well-crafted, often deceptively sweet sounding songs. By their own admission, husband and wife duo Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish write primarily break up songs. While grounded in traditional bluegrass and country music, the band’s penchant for crafting catchy and highly melodic songs with somber and brokenhearted lyrics puts them in a similar songwriting league with artists like The Beatles, Elliott Smith, and Belle and Sebastian.

Highlights of the show included “Test of Time,” a tune about marriage and the beautiful struggles that accompany it; “Amaranth,” a song that written from the point of view of a flower the duo had planted in their garden, and “Farther Along.” The Honey Dewdrops performed “Bright Morning Stars” (a cover of a traditional folk song) a capella together, harmonizing with one another while also displaying their impressive individual vocal ranges. After a brief intermission, the Dewdrops launched into a lovely version of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” The traditional folksy sound of the group fit the transcendent lyrics of the song perfectly and the performance culminated with Parrish’s mandolin solo, turning an otherwise modest guitar solo into a breezy, almost flamenco-style riff.

Before “Farther Along,” the last song of the night, singer Laura Wortman requested that the audience participate by singing the song’s chorus and provided the lyrics for everyone. The song is a traditional hymnal as explained by Wortman, and the voices of the crowd blended with her own to elevate the tune beyond the stage, bringing the night’s set to a close with a rousing sing along when the Dewdrops dropped their instruments out of the song. The intimate setting, the crowd participation, the band’s rapport with the audience, the hymnal itself– while the show was by no means a religious experience, it was a powerfully communal one and very well-suited for the collective nature of the band’s folk genre.

Overall it was a great show by a very devoted and musically tight traveling band, and I heard quite a few people raving that they more than got their money’s worth out of the ten-dollar price of admission. The songs really shined rhythmically and lyrically, and the band’s between-song anecdotes and stories provided real substance to the tunes, creating a sense of familiarity with the audience. Be sure to check out the band’s website and Facebook page (where you can listen to songs) as well as the Create Local Flickr stream on the right of the blog for photos of the show. We leave you with a video recording of The Honey Dewdrops covering “Across the Universe.”

    • Jane Brockwell
    • March 3rd, 2011

    WOW!!! You guys continue to give me “goose bumps”!! What a great review and of course, loved that “Across the Universe” !! Kagey, you and that mandolin were meant for each other!!! Loved it!! Loved it!!!

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