You might have seen The Local Honeys open for Colter Wall or Tyler Childers. If not and you’re behind, start with the double-side single they released today on La Honda Records. “Way down in the hole where he earns his pay, it’s dark and unforgiving. Digging this coal and digging his grave, he’s dying to make a living.” Talk about direct, “Dying To Make A Living,” along with its double-single counterpart “Octavia Triangle,” pulls no punches in painting a grim, realistic picture of life lived working underground. Sonically, this double-single from The Local Honeys represents two sides of old-time music— one led by phase-shifted electric guitar and the other by clawhammer banjo, both a beautiful complement of the other. Both tracks were released today via La Honda Records (home of Colter Wall, Vincent Neil Emerson) and can be purchased or streamed right here. Hear more about the origin of “Dying To Make A Living” and “Octavia Triangle” from The Local Honeys in this behind the scenes video.
In Their Own Words: “‘Dying to Make A Living’ is a song we first heard a few years ago from Rich & the Po’ Folks at the Seedtime on the Cumberland festival in Letcher Co., Kentucky. They were performing a traditional adaptation of the song, written in 2006, by WV Hill and AJ Mullins of the band Foddershock in Southwest Virginia. The song is a prime example of the continued collaborative nature within this region. Traditional music is an evolving art form, living and breathing in generations as they come and go. This song is an honest and brutal commentary of the working men and women dying to make a living at the expense of their bodies to power the world outside of Appalachia.”
About the song “Octavia Triangle” (which is a reference to the Octavia coal mine): “It’s a constant blessing to learn from your heroes. Jimmy McCown* taught me/us this heart-wrenching ballad that his Mother wrote in Pike County, KY many years ago. A tragic story of love and coal, this song means more to me/us than most and paints a haunting scene of regret in the coalfields of Kentucky. Jim left this world a better place in 2020, before the release of this song. We are honored to have had him as a friend, mentor, and inspiration to share and teach the traditional music that makes us.”
*“Octavia Triangle” features Jimmy McCown in what was likely his last recording.
More about The Local Honeys: Since then their specific sound of Appalachian music has grown, along with a fan base of music enthusiasts and proactive culture. A tour with Tyler Childers in early 2020 was followed up by a fun, yet controversial album The Gospel. With two records at their back, The Local Honeys set a standard for the preservation of old-time, hillbilly music, and the contemporary influences that inspire their songwriting. The Local Honeys have true charisma, and on stage, there’s no doubt they are headline artists.
As buzz continues to build for The Local Honeys, despite a pandemic-deadened 2020 tour schedule that included shows at the biggest folk festivals around, they signed with songwriter haven, La Honda Records, home to country & Western heavy hitters Vincent Neil Emerson and Colter Wall. A recent summer show with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts highlighted continued focus and output, including new songs from the two women.
If there’s any doubt, there won’t be for long. When they sing their songs, play their banjo, their fiddle, those guitars and boxes, the rhythms in their toes, you will know The Local Honeys are from Kentucky. Their names are Montana and Linda Jean, and they’re here to talk about suffering. They are here to get you through this.