THE HONEY DEWDROPS
IF THE SUN WILL SHINE
The Honey Dewdrops is the duo of Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish, and it’s hard to listen to them and not make comparisons to Gillian Welch and David Rawling’s earlier acoustic recordings. It’s not just the male/female/two guitars format, but the tone of their singing, the gently dark turns which their songs take, and the essences of bluegrass encapsulated in the instrumental breaks which strongly evoke Welch and Rawlings. Still, that’s not a bad influence to have, and repeated listening brings out the components that give this Virginiabased husband/wife duo their own sound.
By going with 11 original numbers, they’re able to stand on the solid foundation of their own musical vision. Their harmonies are sweet and moving, each of their voices standing on its own, but blending to good effect. Their bluegrass roots are a bit more upfront than most folk or oldtime duos, from songs such as “Wandering Boy” and the CD’s sole instrumental “1918” (featuring Parrish on mandolin) to the Tony Rice lick that pops up in “Without Tears.” “Stomping Ground” and “Bluest Blue Eyes” do come off as Welch/Rawlings outtakes, beautiful tracks if perhaps falling short of the timeless quality of the best of the latter’s music. But having one’s inspirations show is not necessarily a surprising thing for a debut recording, and the strong reliance on original material and a spare, live duet sound give ample hope that the Dewdrops will continue to build on their unique strengths. Their talent is such that it’s quite possible that a new band recording in the year 2020 might cite the Honey Dewdrops as a prime influence. (Honey Dewdrops, 7631 Fairview Farm, Scottsville, VA 24590, www.thehoneydewdrops.com.) HK