Tonight, bluegrass powerhouse duo Local Honeys will take to the Levitt AMP Whitesburg stage, treating audiences to the warm, nostalgic sounds of an old-time Kentucky string band that seamlessly glides between impeccable originals and heartfelt covers of crowd-favorite standards. Comprised of Kentucky natives Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs, the songstresses’ lush and tight vocal harmonies, vivid lyrical storytelling and unflinching technical skills have brought them to the forefront of the Appalachian Music scene. Teeming with equal parts humor, heart and ‘things little girls are told they ought not say,’ the duo’s debut Little Girls Actin’ Like Men (2016) was met with glowing reviews. As the Bristol Herald Courier put it, “Encircled with pride and graced with grit as driven by a couple of emblazoned talents, the Local Honeys charge forth as a pair of incontrovertible lions with something to say.” In anticipation of tonight’s show, we’re bringing you five fun facts about these one-of-a-kind Appalachian raconteurs!
- The trailblazing members of this duo were the first female graduates to earn Bachelors of Arts degrees in Traditional “Hillbilly” Music at Morehead State University in Kentucky (where Hobbs studied banjo under veteran Levitt performer Raymond McLain!)
- Local Honeys have received two personal letters of support and encouragement from GRAMMY winner and Country Music Hall of Fame member Tom T. Hall, who expressed how proud he is that that they’re carrying on the Appalachian storytelling tradition (and issued a friendly reminder to ‘stay away from the ‘shine stills on Tick Ridge where Clayton Delaney lived’).
- Hobbs was born and raised in rural Kentucky where she spent her formative years interacting with local patrons in her family’s country store—here she encountered many of the real-life inspirations for the characters she writes about in her songs.
- In an interview with the Lexington Herald Leader, Stokley shared that she began playing music at the age of eight, shortly after her father passed. She explained that her mother turned to the healing properties of music to help her young daughter get through such a traumatic time. “My mama put instruments in my hands and encouraged me to write songs and it helped me cope mentally and physically,” Stokley explained. “It still does.”
- Local Honeys’ anti-strip mining song “Cigarette Trees”—which took home first place at MerleFest’s esteemed “Chris Austin Songwriting Contest” in Wilkesboro, N.C.—was inspired by Sludge, a documentary about the coal slurry disaster in Martin County, Ky., that shed light on the effects large-scale corporate practices can have on local residents. With many of friends living in Martin County who can’t drink the local water, the story ‘struck a chord’ and inspired the award-winning song. Stokley explained her rationale the Lexington Herald Leader saying, “I’m not anti-coal or for taking anyone’s job away, but there’s just so many ill practices with strip-mining, like fracking, that are quite ridiculous, so I thought, what else is ridiculous? We’d be just as ridiculous to plant cigarette trees and let them burn down the forests rather than clear-cut the land.”
Levitt AMP Whitesburg audiences are in for quite a treat with this dynamic duo! If you’re in the area, be sure to RSVP for tonight’s show and get ready for some top-of-the-line bluegrass magic at the Mountain Heritage Stage!