American trio Free the Honey have been performing together since 2013 and have released three CDs to date, including last year’s Fine Bloom, an independent release produced by respected multi-instrumentalist KC Groves (Uncle Earl). This video premiere features the a capella track Come Up to The Mountain from that album and is a fine showcase of three part harmony singing from Katherine Taylor, Lizzy Plotkin and Jenny Hill. Written by Taylor, the song draws on traditional gospel themes and pays homage to the grand vistas of the band’s Colorado home. The video was produced in collaboration with Detroit film-makers Christine Hucal and Chris Gagnon and depicts Taylor, Plotkin and Hill in a dreamy, monochrome Colorado snowscape in January of this year. It’s got a lo-fi, homespun feel and the addition of animation by Hucal focuses on the trees, rivers and mountains that are evidently a huge source of inspiration for Free the Honey.
In fact the whole Fine Bloom album is packed with references to places and landscapes including the high country in Western Colorado that the band calls home. Although Come Up to The Mountain is an impressive example of the trio’s vocal skills, it’s a big contrast to the rest of the record which showcases the instrumental prowess and grooves of Taylor (guitar/banjo), Plotkin (fiddle/guitar) and Hill (fiddle/mandolin) alongside former bassist Andrew Cameron. It’s an enjoyable and accomplished collection, with the classic Appalachian/old timey ingredients – fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin – present and correct, and with classy musicianship and neat harmonies on display. But the broad palette of styles and versatile playing throughout demonstrate that these gals have much more to offer. There are touches of blues, country, Irish trad and quirky klezmer here (enhanced by a number of excellent guest musicians on clarinet, pedal steel and bodhran). Coupled with Free the Honey’s distinctive different styles on lead vocals – duties mainly shared between Katherine Taylor and Lizzy Plotkin – this makes for an invigorating listening experience.
Find out more about the band at freethehoney.com
photo Credit: Shelley Elena