Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs, better known as the beloved Kentuckian duo, The Local Honeys, have a gifted way with words—particularly the playful colloquialisms and regional idiosyncrasies from their home in the Bluegrass State—that simultaneously connects the past and present, old and new. They bind stories with warm vernacular that makes those in-the-know feel warm and welcome and those not, well, flat out curious to hear more. On Wednesday, DittyTV premiered The Local Honeys’ newest “Better Than I Deserve” from their upcoming self-titled album (out July 15th via La Honda Records), of which the title itself was an everyday motto of Hobbs’s Papaw; a positive answer for the oft-asked question, “How are you doing?” A moody two-step, “Better Than I Deserve” tells the story of Montana’s grandfather who was an orphan, a U.S. naval pilot, and a war survivor. “‘Better than I deserve’ was his motto in life and carried him through many hardships,” says Hobbs, who built the whole song around his iconic informal greeting.
Fans can watch the music video for “Better Than I Deserve” here, watch the previously-released video for “Dead Horses” right here, and pre-order or pre-save The Local Honeys ahead of its July 15th release at this link. The Local Honeys’ tour continues tonight at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, North Carolina.
Their first release on La Honda Records (Colter Wall, Riddy Arman, Vincent Neil Emerson), The Local Honeys features ten winsome vignettes of rural Kentucky, conjuring 90’s alternatives sounds with hillbilly Radiohead lilts, soaring above layers of deep grooves and rich tones masterfully curated by longtime mentor Jesse Wells, a GRAMMY-nominated producer, musician (currently a member of Tyler Childers’ band The Food Stamps), and Assistant Director at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State.
More About The Local Honeys (The Album): Throughout The Local Honeys, the duo demand to be interpreted as creators and storytellers, not just purveyors of tradition. Similarly, the sounds captured within the project cement their place as innovators and rule-breakers. Rollicking banjo meets overdriven guitar hooks and blue-collar rural grit is met with lush melodies and nimble harmonies; it’s a project filled with juxtaposition and it isn’t by accident. It’s reflective of who they are and who they run with. Wells along with the rest of Childers’ band The Food Stamps – Rod Elkins (percussion) Craig Burletic (bass) and Josh Nolan (guitar) from Clay City, Kentucky, all lent their expertise and signature groove as collaborators during the session creating a fluidity, warmth, and cohesion that can only be created through friendship. “Who better to record an album that defines your sound than the people who helped you find your sound, the people that understand where you come from, how you listen, and who you are,” The Local Honeys said. The project was engineered in Louisville at Lalaland by GRAMMY winner Anne Gauthier.
The songs on The Local Honeys speak to a new generation, a new Appalachian, the people who understand the beauty, the struggle, and the complexity of contemporary Appalachian life. In “The Ballad of Frank and Billy Buck,” Hobbs describes the grace, humor, and irony of an aging hillbilly leading up to the final moments of his unjust demise. Or there’s “If I Could Quit,” a song that grapples with the horrors of the ongoing opiate epidemic and the guttural pain of watching a friend deteriorate through addiction. Pride and sense of place run deep in songs like “Throw Me in the Thicket (When I Die),” a love letter about Linda’s family orchard in Central Kentucky. The album is rounded out with “The L & N Don’t Stop Here No More,” (the only cover on the record written by Appalachian royalty and kin to Hobbs, Jean Ritchie) a song highlighting the hardships of post-coal communities painting an all too familiar scene of contemporary rural Appalachia. Reflecting upon these songs Linda notes, “Songwriting can freeze people in time like a photograph, preserving little nuances particular to specific cultures and I love that.”
More About The Local Honeys (The Band): Over the years, The Local Honeys have paid their dues, garnering countless accolades and accomplishments (tours with Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, praise from the New York Times), and have become the defining sound of real deal, honest-to-god Kentucky music. With The Local Honeys, Stokley and Hobbs ended up with the most nuanced, moody, deep-holler sound they have captured to date. “This is the first time we’ve actively gotten to express who we are and where we’re from” says Linda Jean, “The songs on the album speak for us,” adds Montana “they’re about what we know, reflections of us as people. We realized we have the power to add our own narrative into Kentucky music.”
Catch The Local Honeys On Tour:
June 3 – Saxapahaw, NC – Haw River Ballroom
June 5 – Wilmington, NC – Bourgie Nights
June 10 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
July 10 – Crossville, TN – Byrd’s Creek Music Festival
July 15- Nashville, TN- The Basement (album release show)
July 17- Knoxville, TN- Barley’s Taproom
July 19- Asheville, NC- The Grey Eagle
July 20- Decatur, GA- Eddie’s Attic
July 21- Memphis, TN- Hernando’s Hideaway
July 22- St. Louis, MO- Off Broadway
July 23- Kansas City, MO- Knucklehead’s
July 26- Denver, CO- Lost Lake Lounge
July 28- Red Lodge, MT- One Legged Magpie
July 29- Emigrant, MT- The Old Saloon
July 30- White Sulphur Springs, MT- Red Ants Pants Festival
July 31- Bozeman, MT- Live from the Divide
For more tour dates and ticket information, please visit thelocalhoneys.com/tour.