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TC in Conversation with Honey County

Combining a perfect blend of sun-kissed three part harmonies, raw southern twang and infectious pop induced hooks, the California based trio of Dani Rose, Tracy Lambertucci and Sofie Lynn are ready to bring their progressive and vitalising brand of country music on an even wider scale as it sounds like there is lot’s to get excited about for Honey County’s future!

When I last visited Nashville which was almost a year ago, I got to see Honey County on stage for the first time, on the Radio Disney Country Stage during last year’s CMA Fest but the trio sat before me on Zoom looked a little different. Dani mentioned she had cut her hair and there had been some hair dye used amongst them but mainly there was now some different blonde and a new nationality incorporated as there were a pair of changes to the lineup where Sofie and Tracy had now become part of the trio so they filled us in on how they came together:

Tracy had been playing with us since 2017 and had been subbing when Devon, our old electric guitar player was out on Katy Perry gigs. So she had been playing Stagecoach and our bigger festivals with Brett Eldredge and Jake Owen and had travelled the country so if people had seen on social media or been at the shows she was definitely around. Then when the spot opened up and we had coffee one day, it was let’s go!

Then Sofie shared how she completed the trio:

So I went to a show in December around Christmas time and Honey County were playing a Christmas show. I was like this band is awesome, California country so I should hit them up to write as I was writing my own music and loved writing with other people. So I messaged Dani and was like hey I saw you guys at the Cali Country Christmas Show and I’d love to write some time. Then I guess this was when things were going down with the other band members and she was like actually do you wanna audition for the band? Then it was yeah let’s do it! So she sent me over the music and said actually we’re having people over tomorrow s to audition, I know it’s last minute. Then I’m like, no send it over and I showed up that day and here we are!

The three girls are quarantining together in California, where the trio (which is two thirds native whilst Tracy was born in Venezuela) are based. From a UK perspective we are well aware of the effects of COVID-19 this side of the Atlantic along with more frequent contact with developments in Tennessee, particularly in Nashville combined with what may appear in the news about US States right now. Surprisingly California is somewhere we haven’t heard too much about so the girls were able to fill me in on what is occurring over on the West coast in the Golden State:

It’s definitely changed. It’s changed a lot of our industry, we haven’t been able to see our friends at all but are lucky to have the gorgeous Cali sunshine. It’s one of more stricter states and our stay at home order has just been extended through July to August with no end date set.

So we have new music and a new lineup that fans are ready to learn more about during this uncertain period but for people new to Honey County, what can they expect to draw them in and what is it that they feel puts them in a good place to continue their growth:

What we do is a very good mix of more traditional country which is more Sofie’s background, with the pop country which is my background and some rock which is Tracy’s background which when you mash it all together is a really unique sound that is Honey County! We’re always trying to be unique, original and true to ourselves especially on the writing. We’re always trying to write about things that matter to us and I feel that’s the sound of Honey County which is what we hope to bring to our spin on it.

Their Current single “Woke Up Tired” was released on Friday (May 22nd) and is available to stream or download HERE marks the first new release of the trio’s new lineup which was written by Dani and former members Devon Jane and Katie Stump along with Kalie Shorr. Talking about the writing process and idea behind the song:

It was like a year and a half ago, we showed up 30 minutes late to the co-write, I was super hungover. We were writing about a guy, Kalie had this hook idea called “Woke Up Tired” then we were sitting in the room with Devon and Katie where we are talking about “Woke Up Tired” what can this be about? One of the girls was up all night just thinking about this guy and that’s why she woke up tired, then it’s like that’s what it is guys. I woke up tired because I was running around with you in my dreams! Then the rest is history!

This wasn’t the first time a writing collaboration occurred bringing together the sun-kissed Californian vibes of Honey County along with the Maine born Nasville rising star, as Shorr was also a co-write on previous releases: “Love Someone”, “Los Angeles”, “Cigarette” and “Country Strong”.

We met because we were doing a festival together with Chase Rice. That was years ago, it was when “Fight Like a Girl” first came out and I loved that song. When I saw her at the festival, I saw one an opportunity to work but two to make a friend with a girl in Nashville. So I was like, I need to go talk to this girl, this would be a good girl to become friends with but I didn’t realise the longevity that our friendship would have! Now we are definitely closest of friends, we have a very tight knit circle of best friends, we’re all in that circle and I didn’t realise that four years later we would be really close and continue to get closer. We’ve gone through relationships, there’s been boyfriends, there’s been ex-boyfriends and there’s been I don’t know what you would call them but they’re there! You know there’s friendships, we’ve been through a lot of life together and that’s been really exciting. Then when you get to write with one of your friends who also happens to be a brilliant songwriter, then you can write the purest songs because she knows how you’re feeling and you know how she’s feeling!

The Honey County sound pulls in a lot of influences and there is plenty of creativity in the way their Californian country sounds progresses as the genre evolves. The disparity between radio airplay granted for male artists compared to females is still an issue right now but recently the dynamic creativity and fearlessness of female artists is becoming evident with the progressive nature of music being produced as we are hearing a lot of relatable and exciting ideas from female artists like Kalie Shorr along with recent chart toppers Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress to name just a few. Does the reluctance to embrace girls on the radio drive this creativity and does it impact what female artists are releasing?

It’s definitely a response to they don’t wanna play females in country music, well we’re gonna play ourselves and rally together. There’s definitely that in the air but I think there’s also something with the originality that girls like Kalie and some of our other friends are bringing to the table. I guess the only way to put it is just stopping caring what other people think, we do what we wanna do and put out what we wanna put out not necessarily factoring in the opinions of others!

The new single has just dropped and potential touring plans are on hold or under severe consideration, yet the girls are already planning for plenty more new music through 2020 which the girls are equally as excited about:

Luckily for us, we are a band that continues to write. We have a song that we just recently wrote that this one over here [points to Tracy] needs to finish putting a guitar to…….

to which Tracy replied:

It’s almost done! It will be done tomorrow!

Dani came back and then went into further detail about what else the girls have in the pipeline:

Which is what she said last, last, last week! Ha ha, I’m just giving her a hard time, we’ve had a lot of stuff come up between these things but we’ll get it when it’s done but we’re really excited about that brand new song. When we wrote it we initially had the intention of releasing it on Mother’s Day, based it on our moms but it turned out so good that our manager and our publicist said wait, it’s too soon. Don’t release this song until the perfect moment! So they want us to hold on to it but we’re really jazzed and excited about it. We’ve got other songs too that are in the pipeline, that we wrote like six months or a year ago that are so good that are so worth it to wait to release until that perfect time. We were just talking before and Tracy was saying what do you think about our release schedule?

This was portrayed to be a steady flow of singles through the year opposed to and extended collective as Tracy explained:

So we’re thinking of releasing singles, every couple of months because we know it doesn’t look like there will be any live entertainment happening anytime soon so writing and producing songs, I think will be our main goal for the year!

Beyond writing along with working on this release, the girls have kept busy and put more focus on ways to interact with their fans to keep them up to date with what is happening. Social media is obviously such a key medium and even more so in the current climate where Dani told me of the ways they have looked to maintain content for their fans and keep themselves energised:

I sat for a while, thinking how do we keep our audience engaged? How do we keep them entertained? Really when I stopped and thought about the things that we already do, just get more involved with them. For example we do Honey County Kitchen, we started doing that and inviting our friends on who are chefs. We made a mug cake, which is basically making a cake out of a mug with a microwave. I mean mind blown! We partnered with a brewery and did a beer tasting and we’re gonna do a wine tasting soon so there’s so many different things that we can do. Something with a whiskey company called Country Smooth, we’ve been able to partner with a of of different people who are our friends which has really kept people engaged. Later today we are gonna have a release party and Cinco de Mayo, we got an avocado pinata and if you look on our Instagram you can see Sofie swinging the bat in slow mo at the avocado pinata, which entertains me so we hope it entertains our audience too. Then we’re gonna do an obstacle course later today at Sofie’s parents pool house!

The grander scheme of things and plans for the remainder of the year are highly uncertain but by all accounts the state of affairs in California and this side of the pond both look like they are not progressing as quickly to leave lockdown as they are in other parts of the world. Their tour schedule is therefore up in the air but they appear to have plenty to bring forward in terms of new music and by being in quarantine together allows them to keep writing as a trio with more ease. Writing from over here you typically enquire when there are plans to come and see us on our little island yet again this is something that can’t really be planned for as we have no idea when we will have venues able to house shows once more. However the girls wanted to stress that they are so keen to come over to the UK and had the global pandemic not escalated, they were actually planning to head over here in July which unfortunately is not happening BUT it is definitely they will look to do when things allow it and they can make it work.

The girls are really active on their socials with a lot of cool things like “Honey County Kitchen” and they have plenty of music out there for people to listen to so make sure you check out their FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube as well as on their website at www.honeycounty.com to keep up to date with Dani, Sofie and Tracy. It really was a lot of fun to talk to the girls and I really hope the world gets back to some state of new normal where we can enjoy live music once again and hopefully they can make that trip over where we can guarantee they will very very quickly become firm favourites for the UK audience.

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