hONEyhoUSe
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hONEyhoUSe

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Americana Acoustic

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
19
hONEyhoUSe @ Nocona Nights Concert Series

TX

TX

Oct
23
hONEyhoUSe @ House Concert in Gruene, TX

TX

TX

Oct
22
hONEyhoUSe @ House Concert in Alvin, TX

TX

TX

Music

Press


While much of New Mexico's live music scene revolves around songwriters and roots bands, Albuquerque has its own underground scene, and a few of its bands have earned some mainstream success. Playing a kind of post-punk power pop, Lousy Robot have released three albums and had their music featured on MTV, the Travel Channel, Bravo and Animal Planet. Another band, the two-piece Elevator Boys, play a bashing style of garage-psych.

The James Douglas Show, an outlandishly costumed, six-piece "funk-n-soul-n-rock-n-roll" band, has shared stages with Tom Petty, Keith Urban and Sammy Hagar, and they are the house band for the syndicated TV show The After After Party, hosted by Breaking Bad alum Steven Michael Quezada.

Santa Fe's the Strange play their own brand of original "desert rock," fashioning themselves as young outlaws and touring throughout the West. Based out of Taos, the Art of Flying, composed of former San Franciscans Dave and Anne Costanza, play a kind of modern freak-folk, an acoustic-based music layered with reverb and distinctive touches including a bicycle bell. Another musical couple, Las Cruces' Far Corners (originally from Boston), play a noisier, electric style of minimalism.

For the last few years, the state's Music Awards have been dominated by hONEyhoUSe, a trio of female songwriters – Hillary Smith, Yvonne Perea and Mandy Buchanan – who draw from blues, gospel, soul and Americana to form a unique blend that is distinctly regional. This year, the group won the Norman Petty Producer's Award for their album Medicine Lodge. Local favorite Wild Frontier have been compared to "Joni Mitchell's long-lost sister backed by a haunting Western band." Their recent album Americana Motel features the spaghetti Western-style title track and a New Mexico-centric reworking of Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper." - Jann S. Wenner - Rolling Stone Magazine


hONEyhoUSe, Sweep (independent)
A Review

Just as plants turn instinctively to the light, so hONEyhoUSe turns to the healing properties of faith, hope, love, sisterhood, and self-
affirmation. They’re healiotropic. Healing is their mission. Their third release, the
beautifully packaged Sweep, delivers the musical balm that Honeyheads crave.

Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, and Hillary Smith—with the support of Savannah Thomas on percussion and Maude Beenhouwer on bass—return to the intimate and acoustic setting of their first album, Sun, moving away from the full band setting of their second album, Medicine Lodge. I was not fully prepared for the quieter setting, having recently seen them at the Albuquerque Museum’s outdoor amphitheater, backed by a full band and blasting through a powerful sound system on a lovely summer night. They sounded great, and big enough to fill any arena, indoors or out. But that performance colored my expectations, and it took me two or three listens before I could let Sweep come to me on its own terms.

Once I did, though, I was rewarded—soothed and uplifted by the heart-opening harmonies, skilled songwriting, and unflinchingly personal messages. I realized, too, that what makes the music so personal is that hONEyhoUSe is not singing just to us, they are also singing to themselves, delivering constant reminders to hold on to the lessons learned and get on with living. As they say on the anthemic “Conquer the World,” “I might run in circles 42 times, but
tomorrow I’ll conquer the world.”

While the overall feel of Sweep is more subdued than Medicine Lodge, with more of a folk/country vibe, there are a couple of tunes that rock: The title track lets a judgmental friend know that she should take care of her own business before sticking her nose into someone else’s. “Helicopter” invites a faithless lover to enjoy the view from the higher elevation of forgiveness and self-awareness (“guess I’ll get dressed up/head on out to church/wearing my high heel forgiveness shoes/i’m high, it’s alright now, i’m in my helicopter”). (Both songs benefit from the electric guitar of Claudio Tolousse.)

hONEyhoUSE_hi-resYou can’t be healed if you haven’t been wounded, and the hONEyhoUSe ladies do not hide the wounds, some self-inflicted, that they’ve borne. “Perfect Mess” explores the difference between the image presented by the fun-house mirror of self-perception and the picture-perfect image presented to the world. “Baby Come Home” touches on different kinds of separation and the love that sustains the connection over distances. “Gone My Love” tries to bridge the gulf between lovers adrift. “Pray” offers the hope and encouragement to get through dark times (“even the smallest spark can carry you through the dark/if you just let it guide your footsteps”). In “Autumn,” the aching singer draws strength from the memory of a friend who’s passed on.

There are celebrations of romantic love (the sweet and earthy “Every Time,” with lovely fills from Tolousse’s electric guitar) and sisterhood (“Sister”). “Sunflower Farm,” which includes nice slide guitar from Chris Dracup, promises the harbor of love to someone who’s maybe not quite ready to drop anchor. There’s the mysterious “Hold,” which you’ll have to figure out on your own. (I cheated and asked one of the songwriters about it.)

The crowning sentiment of Sweep, sung with conviction and humility, arrives on the final track, “Sawdust and Roses,” which delivers a lifetime’s summary lesson: “all that’s left to remember, what i’ve learned—keep it tender/when the lights go down and the show closes/nothing but roses and sawdust.”

Sweep is an exercise in spiritual generosity that you can tap your foot to. Buchanan, Perea, and Smith allow us to face our private fears, self-doubts, and pain by sharing their own, and then they hit us with those spirit-lifting harmonies, letting us know that we are not alone and that we can carry on.

Update: Check out the new hONEyhoUSe video press kit produced by Rolling R Productions here in Albuquerque. If you haven’t seen the band live, this is a great intro. - Mel Minter


Fanatical: adjective. Filled with excessive and single minded zeal...enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.



I looked it up to make sure that I was using the word correctly to describe the atmosphere at hONEyhoUSe's performance Friday night.

We had a full house at the Fibonacci in Amarillo for their fourth HPPR performance, and what a performance it was! By the band's admission- "one of the best shows we've ever done!"

As a performer myself, I can testify to the fact that the energy an artist receives from an audience can have an immediate and lasting effect on their performance. In this case, everything came together in just the right way-the band sounded great, the audience was the most enthusiastic HPPR has ever had, and that combination made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

This was also the first opportunity for many people to hear and purchase the new CD 'Sweep'.

It was a great time! - By Mike Fuller


John Lennon Songwriting Contest
2013 Finalists in Session II
"Conquer the World" - hONEyhoUSe - 2013 Finalists - Session II


Two years, two albums. The vocal trio hONEyhoUSe has a lot to sing about, a lot of stories to tell their growing audience.

“We’ve been so surprised at the outreach for us,” said Hillary Smith of Albuquerque, one of the trio members. “That’s never happened like that in my career: People love your music and want to hire you.”

The other two-thirds of the trio are Mandy Buchanan of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Yvonne Perea of Amarillo, Texas.

The trio’s newly released second CD is titled “Medicine Lodge,” and it’s an attractive potpourri of many styles – gospel, R&B, blues, country, rock, indie rock and ballads.

The 12 cuts are also a melange of stories. The first song, “Kansas,” is related to the album title.

“We had met a young woman who was nicknamed Kansas. She was 24 years old. She crossed over last winter. She was in a car accident, laid to rest in Medicine Lodge, Kan.,” Smith said.
“The first track of the album is a tribute to her. We just thought Medicine Lodge is somewhere you’d want to go, a healing place.”
The track opens with a train whistle. The lyrics talk about a woman who “hopped the train to Medicine Lodge/Angels waitin’ at the station to hold her/Kansas fly, fly Kansas fly …”

Another cut, “Vroom!” is about a woman who wanted her man to take more interest in her than in his possessions: “Well I wished you loved me/Like you love your car …”

A third track considers the Rio Grande in a way that may be a first in song. Titled “Rio Grande,” it speaks of a woman who baptizes herself in the river “… seeking peace of mind/Looking out for what’s to come/Can’t imagine what I’ll find …”

The trio will be in concert Saturday, March 23, at the Outpost Performance Space. Joining them will be Savannah Thomas on djembe and Maud Beenhouwer on electric bass.

In addition, Albuquerque vocalist Patti Littlefield and Smith’s daughter, Lyric, and a couple of her friends from Sandia Prep will sing backgrounds on one tune.

The Albuquerque duo Bébé La La – singer-guitarist Alicia Ultan and singer-accordionist Maryse Lapierre – opens. - By David Steinberg / For the Journal


On April 20, 2013, I went to a baseball game.
I decided to brave the windy spring evening for several reasons.
Tax season had just ended and I needed to relax for a while.
I enjoy watching baseball.

The promotions for the evening included a fireworks show after the game and a concert before. Fireworks are always fun.

Those who had heard the group previously promised I would like the music. I’m picky, almost snobbish, about my music so no matter what my friends said, I reserved the right to form my own opinion, especially about live performances.
Once in the stadium, we made our way to the northwest corner to an area known as “The Breezeway.” The location was true to its name. A westerly wind churned. I stepped back a few paces to use the outer wall of the stadium as a windbreak.
hONEyhoUSe wasn’t so lucky. The four-person, female group experienced the full force of the wind as they began their short pregame concert. They didn’t seem to mind. It certainly didn’t hinder their music.
From the first chord on Yvonne Perea’s guitar, I was mesmerized.
There was so much sound coming from one guitar – more than seemed possible. She joined Hillary Smith and Mandy Buchanan to create luscious vocals and impeccable harmonies. I stood and listened with a smile planted on my face, oblivious to everything else around me.
Their scrumptious music almost allowed me to forget about the events of the previous week: the bombing in Boston, the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas, the unprecedented implementation of martial law the day before. Then, it happened. One of their songs reached out past my critically pleased ear and grabbed my heart.
Time went into slow motion and inspiration raced through my head.
Baptized myself in the Rio Grande. No one else baptized me. I took responsibility and did it myself. I believed I was helped as I stepped onto dry land. My beliefs determine whether ceremony is beneficial for me. Baptized myself in the Rio Grande. Let the water wash it all away Water is sacred. It is for cleansing. It doesn’t have to be holy water or water in a baptismal pool.
Driving along the lost highway...y Seeking peace of mind
This song explains a path to Peace of Mind. I experienced this throughout the entire song. The insights radiated into my being.
Tears ran down my face. The song climaxed into the bridge and a gust came around the corner of the stadium. I knew immediately it was more than wind. It was spirit. Confirming the experience for me. And, providing a peaceful response to the turmoil of the previous week.

Here are the complete lyrics to Rio Grande, the song that grabbed my heart. You may listen to a sample of it on the page linked here. It is the third song from the top.

Baptized myself in the Rio Grande
I believed I was helped as I stepped onto dry land
Baptized myself in the Rio Grande
Let the water wash it all away

Driving along the lost highway
Seeking peace of mind
Looking out for what’s to come
Can’t imagine what I’ll find
Too scared to pull over
Too stubborn to drive away
Heard a voice from deep within
Child, time to obey

Baptized myself in the Rio Grande
I believed I was helped as I stepped onto dry land
Baptized myself in the Rio Grande
Let the water wash it all away

Walking along the riverside
Waiting for the rain
Keeping up appearances
Can’t carry all this pain
Too scared to get much closer
Too stubborn to walk away
Heard a voice from deep within
Child, time to obey

Baptized myself in the Rio Grande
I believed I was helped as I stepped onto dry land
Baptized myself in the Rio Grande
Let the water wash it all away

This entry was posted in Spirituality and tagged ceremony, honeyhouse, music, peaceful response on May 21, 2013 by Matthew C Cox. - Mathew C Cox - Peace of Mind News


Blurring the lines between blues, folk, soul and R&B, hONEyhoUSe is a group known for mixing genres into unforgettable tracks. This Sunday at the Amarillo Federation of Women’s Club at 2001 Civic Circle, hONEyhoUSe plans on sharing their new album, “Medicine Lodge,” with local fans.

The CD launch party will feature hONEyhoUSe playing live from 3 to 5 p.m., and the party itself begins afterward with food and refreshment. And while this may be one of the best opportunities to share in the release of “Medicine Lodge,” space and tickets are limited, so fans should know to get theirs early.

After their award-winning album “Sun,” it’s no surprise the band’s latest album has already received several nominations from the New Mexico Music Awards. “We’re pretty humbled by the whole thing.” says Yvonne Perea, acoustic guitar player and vocalist for hONEyhoUSe. “The experience was incredible!” Yvonne continues, “… The New Mexico awards are a pretty big deal to us, and to come away with 10 nominations is very humbling. We’re very grateful.”

With a name like “Medicine Lodge,” you might be curious where the album got its name and truth behind it is a moving story in itself. “A good friend of mine passed away in a car accident about a year and a half ago, and she was from Medicine Lodge, Kansas,” Yvonne reveals. “The album seemed like a healing album, and it seemed appropriate to name it that.”

Great music can be hard to find, but a band with a good heart and a real passion for their music is an equally valuable discovery. “I think we all feel pretty blessed to be able to do what we love,” Yvonne concludes. And by merging their incredible talent, with their passion and original style, hONEyhoUSe is a group worth checking out. The Sunday release party will be an event to remember for loyal fans and casual music lovers alike. - by Alex Mann - Amarillo Magazine


I started off writing “Conquer the World” about the need to empower yourself when you face things that scare you more than anything you’ve ever known. Or I should say, empowering myself when I’m afraid. My fears vary, but I think it’s safe to say that most of us are worried about what people think about us and how they perceive us. Some of us are lucky enough not to care what others think, but I’ve learned that can be just as damaging as caring too much.

My best friend for more than 25 years helped me write some of “Conquer the World”, and then I took it to my hONEyhoUSe girls, Hillary Smith and Mandy Buchanan, to help me finish it. Most of the song was written, but I was so close to it that I needed a new perspective.

I remember having quite a few days that were difficult for me in a way that didn’t allow me to just let things go. I would just go around and around in circles trying to figure out how to get out of my circumstances. I would keep saying to myself, ‘Someday I will conquer this and my days will be better.’ Some days were great and some were really bad, but I always knew the sun would go down, a new day would come, and I would have another chance to conquer my fear and negativity.

Writing is a huge healer for me, and writing this song accomplished a lot of healing in my heart. When I came to the girls with my idea for the bridge in the song – “Black and white, see the signs, once I ran, gotta love, who I am” – I explained to them that at the time, as I was searching for some peace, I kept seeing those signs in front of different churches that would have really great quotes on them. The background was always white with large, black text emblazoned across it. Almost every marquee I saw had to do with forgiveness, being good to yourself, and letting things go because God loves us no matter what. Believe it or not, those signs helped me through some of my worst days. Even just a few words like “God is at the end of your rope,” gave me the boost I needed to get through the day. So I felt the need to include that in the song somehow. And of course, Hillary and Mandy are such incredible writers and know me so well – they got exactly what I was trying to say.

My dear friend Tracey helped me write the second verse when I was visiting her in Michigan. We talked and brainstormed as I explained that I had been attempting to be in charge of my own days and destiny instead of letting fear rule me. “In the palm of my hand lies my script, I choose what my day will depict,” to me means you are in charge of your own “movie.” You can change how you feel about things if you change your reaction to them. You can be afraid or intimidated by something, or you can handle it with grace.

I’ve found that sometimes people judge something in you, while you see yourself in a completely different way. We all have fights of sorrow within ourselves, and we see the truth in our souls about things that scare us that we would never let anyone else know about. It’s a very lonely place to be.

It’s sad how judgmental we can be about ourselves when, really, we are trying to be the best person we can at the time. When you are a perfectionist, that’s probably one of the heaviest things you can put on your shoulders to carry around on a daily basis. You will always let yourself down.

It seems your confidence will hide when you need it the most. Everybody’s halo falls at some point in their life, and to think you have no hope of being better at just being you is like putting a pile of wet cement in your way – you will never get through it.

I always believe that tomorrow is a new day with the hope that I won’t carry so much weight around, and maybe the things I was afraid of before, I won’t be when given another chance.
In the end, we have to love who we are, no matter what. - Amarillo Magazine


These days there’s a lot of news for hONEyhoUSe members to chat about. The female vocal trio is now a quintet.

The same three women are still singing – Hillary Smith of Albuquerque, Yvonne Perea of Amarillo, Texas, and Mandy Buchanan of Colorado Springs, Colo. But the group has added two instrumentalists, bassist Maud Beenhouwer and djembe player Savannah Thomas. The djembe is a West African goblet-shaped drum.

And earlier this year, hONEyhoUSe took home two prizes from the New Mexico Music Awards.

It won Best Song for “Fire on the Hill” and its album “Medicine Lodge” won the Norman Petty Producer Award. John Wall of Wall of Sound Studios in Albuquerque was the CD’s producer.

Smith said that she, Perea and Buchanan are comfortable that they can fully express themselves as songwriters.

“I find that when I write with women it’s a very symbiotic thing. We all co-write all of the material,” Smith said.

The ensemble has already been in Wall of Sound where it has begun recording some cuts for its next CD. A few of the planned tracks are “Conquer the World,” “Sawdust” and “Baby Come Home.”

“‘Sawdust’ was inspired by Mike Kitts, an Albuquerque/Taos resident who was one of the most original thinkers I have met. It talks about the significance of the legacy that we leave and how important it is to be true to yourself in this life,” Smith said. “The song will feature my daughter, Lyric Lorraine.” - By David Steinberg / For the Journal


The online iteration of the long-running music mag named acts such as desert indie-rockers The Strange, and the very soulful hONEyhoUSe as bands from our fair state to watch. Even if you’re as cynical about the scene as I am, there’s no denying that a ton of people will be reading this post and maybe checking our locals out. No, I don’t think any vacations will be planned around these bands, but it sure doesn’t hurt anything. - - Santa Fe Reporter - By Alex De Vore


The power of music is undeniable. It moves us; it shakes us. It lifts us; it soothes us. Friday night, local band hONEyhoUSe and musical guest Jannel Rap will show us just how powerful music can be.

The High Plains Public Radio Living Room Concert at the Fibonacci Building will profile five missing persons in Amarillo, a mission Jannel has labored over for 11 years with the GINA for Missing Persons FOUNDation.

Taking a deep breath, Jannel starts from the beginning. “It all started 12 years ago, Oct. 17 when my sister Gina Bos was playing at an open mike night in Lincoln, Neb. She walked out with her guitar when the event was finished, and that was the last she was ever seen.” Her guitar was left behind in the trunk of her car parked outside the pub.

While in Lincoln, Jannel recounts the story of her sister’s disappearance to me 12 years to the day Gina vanished. She returns to Lincoln on every anniversary of Gina's vanishing. Searching for more than 10 years was not a quest Jannel imagined. Upon hearing the news, she thought she would fly home, find her sister and that would be that.

But after six months of steadfastly hunting for her 40-year-old sister, who was also a singer/songwriter, Jannel says she realized her hope was futile. The year Gina disappeared, 2000, more than 850,000 missing persons reports were filed. Out of those reports, only a handful made national news, Jannel says, and that handful did not include Gina’s case. There wasn’t enough scandal or story behind it, and there were no suspects.

“I knocked on every national media door and they said, ‘We’re sorry, but we can’t help you,’” Jannel says. “Out of necessity and out of my own skill, I asked how can I take my own skills and what I’ve been doing my whole life and help others, because I can’t find my own sister so maybe I can at least help get media for someone else’s family.”

She contacted fellow musicians and asked them to report on the missing during their performances, and that very first year, someone was found, an outcome Jannel didn’t anticipate because she hadn’t located Gina.

In 2001, Jannel established the GINA for Missing Persons FOUNDation, and five years later began the Squeaky Wheel Tour, an annual concert series that takes place around the world, striving to raise awareness for missing persons. The tour has performed all over the nation and in 14 countries across the globe and musicians such as Maroon 5, Eddie Money and Susan Gibson have contributed to the cause. The GINA FOUNDation has also been featured in the 2002 and 2005 Grammy Awards.

The first year of the Squeaky Wheel Tour, the organization put 13 faces of the missing on the cover of a CD with music collected from various artists. Three days after the New York City concert, a man missing from Indianapolis, one of the faces pictured on the CD cover art, came across the CD and returned home, a revelation that “propelled” Jannel forward.

“We would like to get as many people to see these missing people in Amarillo and remember them, and embrace them, and keep an eye out for them,” says Yvonne Perea, band member of hONEyhoUSe and a longtime friend of Jannel’s. “Janell’s organization has found so many missing people by word of mouth, by looking at [pictures], remembering their faces, and remembering things about them and passing it on… The more eyes, the better."

Yvonne was a friend of Gina’s, and the day Jannel informed her of the tragedy is ingrained in her memory. She was unable to contact her former band member for a few days, but once she finally heard her voice, what she uttered was unbelievable.

“She said, ‘I’m in the fields of Nebraska looking for my sister.’ I remember that moment so clearly. It was a stomach-dropping moment, like, 'Wait a minute. What? This isn’t real.’ But it’s definitely real.”

Although the Amarillo concert tomorrow night is the first time Jannel has performed with hONEyhoUSe, she and Yvonne have collaborated before. Several years ago while Yvonne was on tour with Jannel in Oregon, the organization made buttons of pictures of the missing. Today, the button of a man Yvonne remembers as Michael, rests among the contents of her truck. “I still, every once in a while, come across his little pin that I wore and I just can’t throw it away,” she divulges. “I can’t toss it because he’s still missing. It’s important.”

Yvonne, along with her band mates Hillary Smith and Mandy Buchanan, as well as Jannel will read about five missing persons in Amarillo, including Monica Appleton, Jessica Delgadillo, Fred Moseley, Brandy Noble and Dorien Thomas, their dates of disappearance ranging from 1996 to 2010, ages 9 to 29.

At the concert, Jannel will ask five different audience members to “adopt” one of the missing persons discussed. Those audience members are then asked to make fliers and pass them out. Jannel says that she finds more success and effort when someone is able to take ownership of the person, rather than just seeing a picture and assuming someone else will take charge of the effort.

“We’re hoping to shed a little light on the local missing and maybe some tips will come in,” says Jannel, whose organization has helped find more than 1,100 missing persons through a collective effort of law enforcement, nonprofits, the media, listeners and family members. “It does work. That one flier is the one that makes a difference.”

Gina’s case remains unsolved, yet Jannel has not wavered in her efforts to find others who are missing. Yvonne praises her endurance and faith, and she hopes audience members can share in the organization's endeavors.

“I think that Jannel’s mission is, every person that’s missing deserves to be talked about,” Yvonne explains. “They deserve to be profiled. In my opinion, in the way I look at Jannel, that is her mission. She is nonstop. She is a force. It has blown me away that she is still 150 percent on the forefront of this 12 years later.” - by Drew Belle Zerby - Amarillo Magazine


hONEyhoUSe, the recent winners of New Mexico’s Annual Music Award’s Best Album of the Year, buzz in to Amarillo

Red River, N.M. is where the song began. It took only a single, fateful instance in a saloon named Motherlode – a tribute to the town’s gold rush past – when a Gospel singer, a folk rocker and a songbird joined their voices in a way that seemed to be destiny.

“Steve Heglund, the owner, asked us if we could do a 45-minute ‘fill in’ set and we said, ‘Sure’,” says Yvonne Perea. “It was magical. It was clear that destiny brought us together. Right place, right time, perfect.”

Yvonne is one of three musicians, along with Hillary Smith and Mandy Buchanan, who eventually became the group hONEyhoUSe. That seemingly innocuous, impromptu vocal session has now traced a path over a better part of two years and has carried hONEyhoUSe and their album “Sun” to the recent conquest of the New Mexico Music Award’s Best Album of the Year slot on May 19 of this year in Albuquerque, N.M.

“Being nominated for six awards was already an honor and unexpected,” says Yvonne. “Then coming away with Best Album of the Year was sincerely gratifying.”

The meteoric rise of hONEyhoUSe has set the trio apart in the Southwestern music scene and has stirred the curiosity of many who have yet to hear the trio’s eclectic acoustic melodies and diverse vocal styles.

Remarkably enough, it’s the same eclectic, specifically unique style of each woman that can be credited to the group’s success. Yvonne, Hillary and Mandy each boast a past steeped with their reflective musical roots that have left them seasoned performers in their own right.

Hillary brings her Gospel-laced soulful lyricism head-to-head with Yvonne’s folksy, grounded tones tinged with the Blues and in turn, both are enjoined seamlessly with Mandy’s sweet harmonies that can take the form of nearly any genre’s inflection.

According to Yvonne, it only took two shows for the group to “realize that we had unique harmony with specific, unique voices that just blended like none other.”

She goes on to add that as with their vocal styles, their personalities bend and weave around each other’s. “We have the ‘sensitive one’, the ‘tough one’ and the ‘sensible one’… We just bounce off of each other like beautiful light.” - by Sarah Clark - Amarillo Magazine


Let the Healing Begin

hONEyhoUSe lifts up a voice

By Mel Minter

hONEyhoUSe is Hillary Smith, Mandy Buchanan and Yvonne Perea.


Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until it comes along. For three singer/songwriters—Mandy Buchanan, from Red River, N.M.; Yvonne Perea, her sometime singing partner from Amarillo, Texas; and Albuquerque’s Hillary Smith—the discovery came in the summer of 2010.

The owners of the Lodge at Red River, Steve Heglund and Priscilla Frondarina, invited the three to put together a 45-minute set when they all happened to show up at the same time. Mandy and Yvonne had met Hillary in 2009 when her group Soul Kitchen played a Mardi Gras gig at Red River’s Motherlode Saloon, but living far apart and with their own careers to tend, they’d never sung together.

“It was immediately magical,” says Yvonne. “It was evident,” says Hillary. “It was absolutely elevating,” says Mandy.

It elevated them into a trio called hONEyhoUSe, whose remarkable new album, Sun, reflects their individual struggles and celebrates their hard-won triumphs. At the Outpost this Friday, hONEyhoUSe makes its Albuquerque debut and marks the album’s release, and you’d best be prepared to cheer and cry until you’re all used up.



Heaven Sent


After the set at the Lodge, things gelled for the trio in a way that made it seem like their coming together was “not an accident,” as Mandy puts it.

“We had people saying, Get it together and we’ll fund it,” Hillary says.

She led the trio to John Wall, who runs Wall of Sound Studio. She’d met him at the New Mexico Music Awards, and they’d hit it off. Sitting on his couch, the trio sang what would become the album’s opening track, Yvonne’s “On and On.” He wept, all but demanded to record and coproduce the album, and wondered how he would capture that sound.



Putting the Pieces Together


Most of the album’s songs—all originals—are credited to two or three members of the trio. Each brought something to the party. Hillary has a trunk full of lyrics in search of music; Yvonne, reams of melodies in search of lyrics; Mandy, songs that she’s never quite polished to her satisfaction. All three had unfinished tunes.

When they got together to write, the pieces snapped together almost magically. The material—a seamless mix of blues, soul, pop, R & B, folk—has a spirit-lifting, redemptive quality. The three very different voices that carry the songs blend their sweetness, rasp and heft into one lovely sound—ergo, the “ONE” and “US” in hONEyhoUSe.

That sound, superbly captured by John, is already getting exposure on the Nashville-based Internet radio station numusic247.com, which features the music of unsigned groups.



Coming to Grips


Spirits can’t be lifted if they haven’t been low. “Everybody came to this album with some healing that needed to be done,” says Hillary. Recently divorced, she’d spent the previous year getting herself clean, sober and healthy. Mandy had lost her best friend and singing partner, Lindsay Howard, in an automobile accident. Yvonne had lost one of her best friends, Bubba Smith, to a heart attack in January.

Last year, Yvonne shared with Bubba a guitar riff she’d had for 15 years, hoping they’d collaborate on a song. He told her it sounded like the sun, but he died before the song was written.

The night before a hONEyhoUSe recording session, Yvonne and Hillary sat down and started playing with that riff. Hillary quickly began scribbling lyrics, but she says she didn’t have much to do with the process. “Bubba pushed the pen,” she told Yvonne.

The song, with one verse written by Bubba’s widow, Merry, became the title track of the album, and its profoundly emotional performance takes the entire set to another level. At the time this article was written, hONEyhoUSe had not yet found the will to perform “Sun” live, but when they do, it’s bound to light the way to healing for anyone with ears to hear. - Mel Minter


Serendipity could be the reason for the existence of a new vocal trio called hONEyhoUSe.

As Albuquerque’s Hillary Smith tells it, she and the band Soul Kitchen were in Red River several years ago and heard the duo of Yvonne Perea and Mandy Buchanan singing. Perea and Buchanan hung around to hear Smith sing with the band.

“We kind of clicked, but it wasn’t until last August that we all (came together) in Red River,” Smith said. She said an official of The Lodge in Red River said that since they were in town at the same time, why not hang out and put a set together.

“It was very impromptu but there was enough to know that there was something really magical – the personalities and all three voices,” Smith added.

Depending on where hONEyhoUSe is performing it places the name of one of its singers out front. So the concert tonight at the Outpost Performance Space has Smith’s name in front of the trio’s name.

At recent performances in the West Texas cities of Amarillo and Lubbock, the group called itself Yvonne Perea and hONEyhoUSe because Perea is from Amarillo. In Red River, Mandy Buchanan’s name is in front because that is her hometown, Smith said.

“Stylistically, we’re from different backgrounds, but together it all seems to blend effortlessly,” Smith said.

That’s clearly the case on the trio’s new CD, “Sun,” which was released a few months ago. It was recorded at Wall of Sound Studios in Albuquerque.

“The songs talk about love, and loss and transcendence from it,” Smith said. “The songs came alive very easily and quickly.”

All three women receive songwriting credits on the album. One of the cuts, “Big Life,” is getting airplay on the Nashville radio station called “New Music,” she said. Smith wrote the lyrics of the song and she and Perea together composed the music.

The trio is also scheduled to perfom at Vanessie in Santa Fe on Dec. 7. - By David Steinberg / Journal Staff Writer


A little over a year ago my sweet friend, Bubba Smith, and I were going to try and write together. I’d written a guitar piece about 15 years ago and never wrote any lyrics to it. One day, I played it for Bubba. He came back to me about two months later and said, “That music reminds me of the sun.”

We never got around to actually writing the song. Bubba passed away January 18.

I met Bubba Smith and his sweet family about four years ago. We had an instant connection not only musically, but with a friendship that was unlike anything I’d known. Bubba was the kind of man who had a presence that could light up the room the minute he walked into it. When he sang he sounded like an angel to me. He wasn’t afraid of anything.

He made me feel like I was always protected and if I ever needed him, he would just be there, kind of like Superman... and to me he was. He impacted so many lives with his giving heart and kind ways – whoever you were, Bubba unconditionally loved you and had your back.

Bubba was a constable in Amarillo who took the time to preach a sermon at his church every once and a while. He also had a contract with the state of Texas to provide services to people with disabilities through his company, One Nation Employment.

About eight months ago, Hillary, one of the girls from my band hONEyhoUSe, and I were trying to come up with a title for our new album and a song that we could use as the title track. I’d told Hillary about the song Bubba and I were supposed to write.

I played the guitar part for Hillary and as she would say, “Bubba pushed the pen.” I’d told Hillary all about Bubba and what an incredible human being he was. She just kept writing lyrics and SUN was finished before we knew it.

The night before Bubba died, he sang a song into his phone that he’d been working on. Merry, his wife, sent it to me. When I played it for Hillary, we decided it would somehow have to go on the album.

Neither one of us was sure how, but we knew somehow. SUN ended up being our title track and Bubba is singing at the beginning of it. This song was a way for me to keep a little piece of Bubba alive forever.

Bubba’s dedication to his family, his faith, and his community was pure and unwavering. I miss him every day. - Amarillo Magazine


Discography

http://honeyhouse.me/music/ 


SUN

Medicine Lodge

SWEEP

Photos

Bio

Hillary Smith:

With a deep soulfulness rooted in the Gospel-driven churches of her youth, a classically trained vocal instrument that’s a natural wonder and a God-given instinct for swinging a lyric, vocalist Hillary Smith has been electrifying audiences across the US for more than a quarter century. She’s a belter, but her voice also possesses great warmth and expressiveness, and she is able to get under the skin of those in her audience.

Yvonne Perea:

With a seamless merging of folk, blues, and rock, Yvonne’s music captures her audience through her memorable melodies, relevant lyrics, and soulful earthy vocals. After hearing Yvonne or watching her perform live, you come away with the feeling that you’ve really seen a glimpse of Yvonne’s soul.

Mandy Buchanan:

Red River songbird, Mandy Buchanan always delivers a moving, powerful performance whether she is singing with a lone guitar player or a full band, lead vocals or harmonies. Surrounded by a family of musicians, Mandy began singing in church at an early age. From country to blues, jazz to rock and roll, her sweet voice will take you by surprise when you least expect it.

Band Members