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Sweet country music from American duo
The bluegrass music of Kentucky, USA, is set to echo around the streets of Birmingham, England, courtesy of talented duo The Local Honeys. Montana Hobbs and Linda Jean Stokley will perform at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath on January 22, 2019, as part of a UK tour.
Having been the first women to graduate from Morehead State University's degree programme in traditional 'Hillbilly' music, The Local Honeys have gone on to win various songwriting accolades, including the 'Chris Austin Songwriting Award' at MerleFest, America's leading roots-based music festival, held in North Carolina.
Linda Jean won the bluegrass category of the 2017 contest for her song Cigarette Trees, the lead track from the duo's debut album, Little Girls Actin' Like Men. It highlights the woes of the Appalachian Mountains, taking aim at the blight of strip mining in Kentucky. The track (see the video, below) triumphed over more than 1,000 entries and led to The Local Honeys performing to their largest audience to date at the festival.
Little Girls Actin' Like Men includes both traditional and original songs and showcases the duo's ability to deliver hard-driving fiddle and banjo tunes and tell heartfelt stories. Linda Jean originally studied jazz at university but switched to traditional music after attending a class taught by Jesse Ware who plays fiddle in the Lexington-based band The Wooks.
The first line-up of The Local Honeys was Linda Jean and Stephanie Jeter. The duo became a trio with the addition of Montana Hobbs, a fellow university student. Although it's now Stokley and Hobbs who perform as The Local Honeys, Jeter and other guests are often asked to join them on stage at gigs.
The Local Honeys' 2019 UK tour dates:
January 17: Anchor Folk Club, Surrey; January 18: The Granary, Stapleford; January 19: The Stables 2, Milton Keynes; January 20: Norden Farm Centre, Maidenhead; January 22: Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham; January 23: Willows Folk Club, Kirkham;
January 24: Black Swan Folk Club, York;
January 26: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow;
January 30: House Concert, Edinburgh;
January 31: Folk Club, Falkirk;
February 1: Hootananny, Inverness;
February 2: The Arch Inn, Ullapool;
February 3: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen.