Getting to Know Hold On Honeys
On September 9, indie folk trio Hold On Honeys released a live album entitled Hold On Honeys Live at the Jive Hive. The group includes Emily Curro, Shannon Rafferty and Raya Malcolm, and the new record also features Connor Armbruster on fiddle, Matt Malone on guitar and Michael Gregg on banjo. The album was recorded at Jive Hive Live in Albany on June 14 of this year. This week, I had the chance to conduct an interview with the trio. Read on to learn about their origins, the new record and upcoming performances.
Sabrina Trueheart: You three have quite a connection musically and as friends. How did you meet each other and get started as a group?
Emily Curro: We all joke that we can’t remember how we met each other!
Shannon Rafferty: Emily and I met working at the New York State Theatre Institute back in the day. We were working on a musical together and that’s how we met. We can’t remember how we met Raya.
Raya Malcolm: Yeah, no one can remember how we met, and I can’t remember specifically when I met Emily either, but I think I met both Shannon and Emily through mutual theater colleagues.
EC: Yes! Our backgrounds were a strong connecting point and so we all kind of found ourselves in the same circles.
ST: I love your group name! It was one of the reasons I started listening in the first place. How did you come up with it?
RM: That is so encouraging to hear you say!
EC: We started with word association games. I think we just kind of threw out some things that people had said they felt when they listened to us, and how we want people to feel when they listen to us. And so we started there. There were some really crazy titles for a while!
RM: Yeah! We had words like butter, honey…
SR: Smoke was one of the words that we really liked. But every time we came up with a name we liked, we would look it up and there was already a band with that name! We were sitting around a campfire one night with our friends and they responded to Hold On Honeys the most.
ST: The three of you have something special. I don’t believe we have any other folk trios in our music scene. How did you learn to harmonize so beautifully?
EC: All of us have a lot of training, both theatrically and musically. We’ve been musicians and singers for a long time, so when I found two people that matched my experience it seemed really easy to create together.
ST: You’ve been making a buzz this past year (pun intended) – performing at esteemed venues such as Caffe Lena and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. How did you get started in the Capital Region’s music scene?
SR: Well, we started singing together during the pandemic, and we were rehearsing mostly on Emily’s porch. It was pretty cold so we would bundle up and just sit out there and practice.
EC: At the time, Troy Foundry Theatre was doing a bunch of free music events called the Trojan Alley Project series, which was produced by Troy Foundry Theatre in the E. Stewart Jones parking lot next to the Trojan hotel. And we decided to give ourselves a show! So that was our first performance.
ST: You recently released a live album that was recorded at Jive Hive Live. Congratulations! What are your plans for promotion?
EC: We consider this record a very chill release. It’s the first digital format of our music that exists anywhere and we just wanted to see what the response would be. It’s on Bandcamp and YouTube, so we’re just promoting it on our own. It’s an experiment for us.
ST: Yeah, a live album for an acapella indie folk trio makes a lot of sense.
RM: We talk about how we’re going to start working on more originals that the three of us write together, and potentially record a studio album in the future. We also talk a lot about how when we sing live, we want it to be an experience for people. So Emily saying this album is an experiment is right.
ST: Which one of you wrote “Knowing?”
EC: Raya Malcolm!
ST: Could you tell me more about it?
RM: Sure! I wrote it in the midst of the pandemic in fall 2020. It’s a song that means a lot to me. I don’t write songs very often, but when “Knowing” happened, it was one of those things that happened within one day. I think I spent maybe four hours on it up at my parents’ cabin in Lake Sacandaga with myself bundled up on the front porch at the cabin. It’s always cold when we make music!
ST: Yeah! That’s awesome.
RM: I’m really proud of what the three of us made it into. When I perform it at open mics it’s a totally different vibe, and when the Honeys do it together with Connor Armbruster who plays violin with us, it takes on a whole new beautiful color. I am really grateful to have both of those versions living in the world. I hope it moves people, and I think it does. It moves us when we sing it, and that’s a good sign.
ST: For sure. You mentioned that it’s always cold when you make music together. What season do you think Hold On Honeys resembles most aesthetically?
EC: We should all say it at the same time and see if it’s the same. 1…2…3…
All: AUTUMN! *everybody laughs*
SR: It’s like a warm cup of tea that makes you feel warm when you listen to it. We feel like each song we do maybe represents a different season.
ST: Anything else you’d like to share?
EC: The Honeys are doing a musical! We are all a part of Troy Foundry Theatre, too, and in October and November we will be presenting a brand new musical. We’re working on it with a lot of the musicians we love creating with; Connor Armbruster, Michael Gregg and Matt Malone, as well as a cast of four other actors and a bunch of other theater makers are involved in the creation process.
ST: Thank you for telling me about your journey, Honeys!
Be sure to check out Hold On Honeys Live at the Jive Hive on Bandcamp and YouTube, and don’t miss their upcoming performance at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on the Charles R. Wood Gazebo stage for Caffe Lena on Sunday, October 2 at 11:30 A.M.