On February 19 at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the magical trio hONEyhoUSe—Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, and Hillary Smith—will celebrate the release of their live album, Raw Honey. It’s a double shot of hONEyhoUSe love: a live concert, all but guaranteed to lift the spirit and open the heart, and a new album that captures the special energy of their live performances and cements their standing as one of the finest singing/songwriting groups in the country today. Continue reading
If you see little red marks up and down the arms of Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, and Hillary Smith—collectively known as hONEyhoUSe—there’s no need to be concerned. They’re still pinching one another after a dream week in Nashville, where they opened for the Burrito Brothers at Douglas Corner Café, performed at the Blue Bird Café, and spent marathon songwriting sessions in the studio with award-winning luminaries on the Nashville scene.
Back home, they’re preparing for two performances at the Outpost this Sunday, which will be recorded for a live album to be released this summer. Continue reading
Just as plants turn instinctively to the light, so hONEyhoUSe turns to the healing properties of faith, hope, love, sisterhood, and self-
affirmation. They’re healiotropic. Healing is their mission. Their third release, the
beautifully packaged Sweep, delivers the
musical balm that Honeyheads crave.
Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, and Hillary Smith—with the support of Savannah Thomas on percussion and Maude Beenhouwer on bass—return to the intimate and acoustic setting of their first album, Sun, moving away from the full band setting of their second album, Medicine Lodge. I was not fully prepared for the quieter setting, having recently seen them at the Albuquerque Museum’s outdoor amphitheater, backed by a full band and blasting through a powerful sound system on a lovely summer night. They sounded great, and big enough to fill any arena, indoors or out. But that performance colored my expectations, and it took me two or three listens before I could let Sweep come to me on its own terms. Continue reading
When it comes to women’s voices singing three-part harmony, I am completely defenseless. The music bypasses all critical faculties and goes straight for the heart. When the harmonizing is done with the peerless joy, skill, and emotional investment that hONEyhoUSe bring to the table, well, don’t bother handing me a tissue. Just pass the whole box.
Singer/songwriters Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, and Hillary Smith come from three
different musical backgrounds—country, blues/folk, and soul, respectively. They bring three
distinctive timbres to the microphone, and they each have had success on their own. When they come together in hONEyhoUSe, though, it’s a classic “the sum is greater than the parts”
situation, and the music they make is all but guaranteed to lift you up, turn you around, and set you back down with a big old smile on your face.
This Saturday at the Outpost—with their faithful sidekicks Savannah Thomas on percussion and Maud Beenhouwer on bass—they’ll be sharing some of the new material that’s on their
forthcoming album, Sweep, scheduled for release this spring, as well as some favorites from their first two, award-winning albums. If it’s anything like their last concert at the Outpost, it will be a night to remember. The concert will be video’ed by Rolling R Productions for future video presentations, so get your glad rags on and be prepared to party.
I swung by vocalist Hillary Smith’s house to pick up the new hONEyhoUSe CD, which was
waiting for me in an envelope stashed behind the fountain by her front door. With
characteristic generosity, Smith had left two copies, and that only made me doubly nervous.
I had been so over-the-top smitten by the trio’s first album, Sun, that I was afraid to cut the plastic wrap on this one. What if their first album had just been lightning captured in a bottle, and not a sun at all? How would I tell these musical friends that I didn’t dig it?
I slid the CD into the slot on the dashboard, turned up the volume, and held my breath. It wasn’t too far into the first track, “Kansas,” that the goose bumps began to pop on my
forearms. Near the end of the song, where the hONEyhoUSe gospel choir takes us to church, the hairs on the back of my neck erected in sympathetic vibration, and I was in full voice accompaniment. (What an inspired choice, made in the studio on the fly by
producer John Wall and Smith, to multitrack the trio into a glorious choir.)
I herewith publically apologize to Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, Hillary Smith, and their djembe-playing percussionist Savannah Thomas for ever having had a doubt. Medicine Lodge burns hotter and sweeter than Sun. Continue reading