Honeychurch
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Honeychurch

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"'No Depression'"

“The aptly named Honeychurch creates music that flows with a languid warmth (the “honey” part), while also projecting an introspective stillness ( the “church” part). To use musical touchstones, this Doylestown, PA, band blends influences of Neil Young, Nick Drake, Mojave 3 and the Byrds to make
gorgeous pastoral music. The two tunes that bookend the disc, “Fields on Fires” and “Honeychurch Loves You”, attest to the band’s strengths. The opening number is a hauntingly spare agrarian ballad full of mournful pedal steel and rich harmonies. The closing track reveals the band’s poppier side and ends the album on a buoyant note. The group, led by the husband-and-wife team of Shilough and Larissa Hopwood, fills the rest of the disc with a number of memorable songs. The spare yet vividly drawn “the Dinner Song” feels like a long-lost folk ballad. Pedal steel, strings and harmonies combine to give “Chancery Lane” a lush, organic orchestral feel. The centerpiece is the stirring “Second Chance”; sounding reminiscent of Peter Bruntnell, Shilough lays bare his emotions on this aching love song. The disc’s several cover tunes fit in seamlessly with the originals. Larissa takes over lead vocals on Neil Young’s “Birds”, which precedes a Nick-Drake-comes-to-L.A. rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Lonely Coming Down”. Larissa’s lovely, whispery singing also gives Ralph Stanley’s “The Darkest Hour” and ethereal quality. With their low-key yet uplifting sound, Honeychurch live up to their album title.”
- November-December 2004


"Jack's Top 40"

“Imagine if The Red House Painters Mark Kozelek replaced himself with a 1000 times more hopeful, way less doleful, sweet and upbeat version of himself. And then he added harmonies out of Mojave 3, the country Byrds, and the actually decent soft rock bands of the early ‘70s. Like The Pernice Brothers, you suspect these folks dig Bread as much as Gram Parsons, but they’re thankfully also as hooked on the elegiac sweetness and affection of those old songs. And with the harmonies driving their own good cheer home, Honeychurch sound like a friendly bunch in love with music as flickering aromatherapy candles-tonic, as the happy end to a good-weather day filled with kittens, puppies, friends, lovers, and family. The title is so true!”
- Jack Rabid - 'The Big Takeover' issue #54, May 2004


"'Comes With A Smile' (UK)"

"Resplendent in sonic riches .... It's only very occasionally that you hear something by an artist that you have never heard of before, and wonder where they've been all your life. Honeychurch are most
assuredly in that category. The band are focused around the vocals of husband and wife Shilough and Larissa Hopwood. The album
comprises eight originals, the majority of which were written solely by Shilough Hopwood plus four covers that encompass disparate source material by Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Ralph Stanley and Rocketship. Shilough takes lead on the majority here - his voice slightly
reminiscent at times of a softer Matthew Sweet, with his wife Larissa weaving her honeyed tones in harmony to luscious and beguiling effect. Proving she's equally capable taking the lead, Larissa turns in haunting performances of her own on both Neil Young's 'Birds' and Ralph Stanley's 'The Darkest Hour', Shilough layering on the
harmonies no less irresistibly in support.
A measure of the band's strength can be gauged from 'Welcome Home Spacegirl', a brooding, appropriately celestial epic which though drawn out over more than nine minutes still ends far too soon. Drenched in fabulously lush arrangements, often punctuated with spine tingling musical or vocal highlights, Makes Me Feel Better does that and much more besides.
Imagine an enticing hybrid of the best of Luna, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Low and a host of fantastically obscure 60s orchestral pop and even then that still only hints at what this lovely album has to offer. Perhaps in a parallel universe 'Chancery Lane' is justifiably number one all year around, but at least you can console yourself with the fact that Honeychurch Loves You'. After hearing this I suspect the feeling's bound to be mutual."
- Geraint Jones - June 2004


"'americanaUK'"

“Belle and Sebastian Meets the Byrds with Exquisite Results. Sigh... if only all records could make you feel like the second album from the Bucks County based Honeychurch, in essence the project of one man - the fabulously named Shilough Hopwood. Dripping with melodies and lushly arranged harmonies, accompanied by engaging pedal steel, horns and strings but with nearly a hint of twang, there's a good degree of justification in the comparisons that have already been made to the likes of Nick Drake and the Byrds. Perhaps the most immediately noticeable tracks on the album are the covers - whether it's Dolly Parton's "Lonely Coming Down," Neil Young's "Birds" or arguably the best version ever recorded of Ralph Stanley's "The Darkest Hour," Hopwood treats them with respect but manages to put a gloss on them that brings out his obvious love of the songs in their original forms while successfully pulling off a distinct Honeychurch sound to them - in that sense, they don't seem out of place compared to his own songs, and that's partly because of the production, but it's also because Hopwood writes such amazing songs himself. Joined by wife Larissa, who harmonizes throughout, there's an almost translucence to songs such as "Chancery Lane" and "From the Sky" that makes you feel like they're on an altogether different plain, perhaps in an alternative universe where mellifluous folk and dreamy vocals sit side by side against a backdrop of warm pastel colours. "Welcome Home Spacegirl" goes on perhaps for too long for its own good, but you can see how it'd be easy to get carried away given the setting - it's a genuinely beautiful record which burns a little brighter with every listen.”
- Mark Whitfield
- 2004


Discography

CALLING ME HOME (Siren Electric) 2001

Turning Leaves
The Story Girl
Bottle Of Tears
I Have The Moon
She Pictures Me
Sean's Song
I Want To Believe

MAKES ME FEEL BETTER (Siren Electric) 2004

Fields On Fire
Chancery Lane
The Dinner Song
Second Chance
Friendships & Love
From the Sky
Birds
Lonely Coming Down
Welcome Home Spacegirl
The Darkest Hour
Chancery Lane (revisited)
Honeychurch Loves You

Photos

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Bio

Shilough Hopwood has been making music under the name Honeychurch since the 1990’s. His first full length album, Calling Me Home, was released in February 2001. It met with critical acclaim in both regional publications and nationally renowned music journals, eliciting comparisons to artists such as Mojave 3, Nick Drake, the Byrds, and Red House Painters.

Makes Me Feel Better, recorded at home in Bucks County, PA, is the second full length album by Honeychurch. Hopwood is joined on this record by regular recording and touring comrades: his wife Larissa on bass and vocals, Tim Kratz on lead
guitar, Charles Landy on organ , Patrick Robinson on piano and Stefan Baker on drums. Baker also contributes a song to the project. The songs are built around acoustic guitar, piano, and lush boy/girl harmonies (reminiscent of Gram Parsons & Emmy Lou Harris or Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips), draped in pedal steel guitar, horns and strings. Makes Me Feel Better is a collection of songs about faith, love, and loss that are at once timelessly universal and intensely personal. There are twelve tracks, including eight original songs as well as unique covers of songs by Neil Young, Rocketship, Dolly Parton, and Ralph Stanley.