With voices as sweet as their name, Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs of roots duo The Local Honeys explore Appalachian life in their evocative new self-titled album, which dropped July 15th.
Stokley and Hobbs have worked together for years planting roots in the Americana music community, and it’s shown. The pair have toured with fellow Kentuckian Tyler Childers and other big country names like Colter Wall, all the while building a loyal national fan base.
Their down-home style of music speaks to a more simple yet simultaneously complex life, largely including depictions of their beloved home state of Kentucky. With the help of renowned producer Jesse Wells, the twangy twosome creates a space to illustrate the highs and lows of life in the country, using poignant rural imagery and honest storytelling skills.
The first song on the ten-track record is “The L&L Don’t Stop Here Anymore,” a wistful story about a father wanting a better life for his son, featuring a haunting collaboration between the banjo and acoustic guitar strings over a groove-ridden backbeat. Chilling harmonies and nostalgic sentiments radiate throughout the song with lyrics like, “When I was a curly headed baby / My daddy sat me down upon his knee / He said ‘son you go to school to learn your letters / Don’t be a dusty miner like me’.” The father-son dynamic that drives the storyline is one that keeps the ears perked.
“Dear Woodrow” tickles the ear with a fiddle-driven intro and resonating drum as a love story unfurls about a woman trying to make a man fall in love with her. The passionate brass instrumentation and slide guitar add a fierce edge to the romantic narrative.
Rhythmic percussion sets the cadenced foundation of “Better Than I Deserve”, a tune packed with Stokley and Hobbs’s powerful harmonies and captivating vocals. The descending fiddle riff after chorus carries the storyline from reflection to emotional revelations about mortality.
In the spirit of contemplating humanity through the lens of nature, “Dead Horses” demonstrates The Local Honeys’ meditative message about counting everyday blessings in life that may not be there tomorrow. As the duo sings “Count my pretty ponies when I breathe the morning light,” their upbeat melodies are filled with life themselves, even if certain subjects are a bit morbid.
“Throw Me In The Thicket (When I Die)” brings the album to a close with a memorable voltaic energy in the electric guitar and prominent banjo lick. As Stokley and Hobbs explore natural, earthy scenes in their ponderings of the circle of life, their descriptive lyrics, “Let the earth reclaim my body / Let the worms devour my insides,” bring their musical revelations – and again macabre imagery-laden lyricism – to a close.
“This is the first time we’ve actively gotten to express who we are and where we’re from,” says Stokley. “The songs on the album speak for us,” adds Hobbs. “They’re about what we know, reflections of us as people. We realized we have the power to add our own narrative into Kentucky music.”
With organic instrumental textures and spirited vocals, The Local Honeys speak directly to the soul. Their savory sound is bound to sweeten up your summer with a taste of soulful Kentucky country.
Catch The Local Honeys On Tour:
July 26 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge
July 28 – Red Lodge, MT – One Legged Magpie
July 29 – Emigrant, MT – The Old Saloon
July 30 – White Sulphur Springs, MT – Red Ants Pants Festival
July 31 – Bozeman, MT – Live from the Divide
Aug 3 – Des Moines, IA – Gas Lamp
Aug 4 – Muscatine, IA – Contrary Brewing
Aug 5 – Chicago, IL – Golden Dagger
Aug 19 – Berea, KY – Levitt AMP
Aug 27 – Pineville, KY – Laurel Cove +
Sept 8 – Evanston, IL – Space *
Sept 9 – Lake Orion, MI – 20 Front Street *
Sept 10 – Three Oaks, MI – Acorn Theater *
Sept 11 – Bloomington, IL – The Stable Music Hall *
Sept 12 – Lawrence, KS – The Bottleneck *
Sept 14 – Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge *
Sept 15 – Fargo, ND – Fargo Brewing Company *
Sept 16 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line *
Sept 17 – Milwaukee, WI – Colectivo *
Sept 18 – Madison, WI – The Bur Oak *
Sept 25- Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater +
Sept 27- Washington DC – Howard Theater +
Sept 28- Philadelphia, PA – Brooklyn Bowl +
Sept 29- Jersey City, NJ – White Eagle Hall +
Sept 30 – Somerville, MA – Somerville Theater +
Oct 1 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground +
Oct 2 – Portland, ME – State Theater +
Oct 6 – Pittsburgh, PA – Thunderbird Cafe +
Oct 7 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theater +
Oct 8 – Columbus, OH – The Bluestone +
Oct 9 – Detroit, MI – Saint Andrews Hall +
Oct 13 – Newport, KY – Southgate House +
Oct 14 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom +
+ supporting Lost Dog Street Band
* supporting William Elliott Whitmore
Photo by Lila Callie Photography