Gig Seeker Pro


Leesburg, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Leesburg, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Duo Americana Singer/Songwriter




"Sweetnova: Amy and Luke Denton Find Harmony in Loudoun"

Modern music history is full of famous couples. In Loudoun, Amy and Luke Denton, who make up the duo known as Sweetnova, are garnering a following on the local winery scene and have just released their first record.
The Dentons dropped their first EP “Beeswing” this month and have a busy fall lined up, with a VIP gig at Wolf Trap and numerous upcoming winery shows and private events—plus a toddler.
“Beeswing,” whose title refers to the sediment left at the bottom of a glass of red wine, was in the works for more than five years and follows the couple’s journey together from dating to marriage to parenthood.
“It’s really about the natural progression of a relationship,” Amy Denton said. “When we started writing this album, we were dating. We’ve gotten married and had a baby. [Laughing] You have a song in there about our dog before we had a baby and we thought the dog was our baby.”
That piece, “Shiloh’s Song,” which reflects the world from their dog’s eyes is a perfect match for “Baby Love,” about waking up with a newborn, inspired by the birth of their son Jack, now 16 months, last year. The EP also includes the catchy “Soldier” about relationship perseverance and a cover of John Prine’s “That’s The Way The World Goes Round.”
The Dentons are both Virginians—Amy is from Woodbridge and Luke is from Roanoke—but met in Austin, TX, in the mid-2000s, where both had gravitated to pursue careers in music. In 2007, Luke joined Amy’s Austin band, Amy Glen and the Forgotten Heroes, as the piano player. The two fell in love and began working on what would eventually become “Beeswing” in 2009.
But as these two Virginians began to think about getting married and starting a family, the East Coast, with its family connections, began to call. And the pair also felt a pull to get out of the musical rat race of Austin.
“We’d been playing in Austin for a few years and we were kind of ready to slow it down a little,” Luke said. “Austin’s the live music capital of the world. There are tons of musicians there. It’s really competitive. Everybody’s nice and helpful with each other, but it’s exhausting trying to promote yourself against 900 other bands that are playing that night.”
Loudoun appealed to the couple for two reasons: both had teaching degrees and Loudoun’s school boom made it a great place to look for day jobs, and the county’s burgeoning winery scene offered regular weekend music gigs, which began to flow shortly after their move to Aldie in 2012.
“We thought, as a duo, what a perfect place for us to play our music,” Amy said. “We’ve got a great little following. We absolutely love it here.”
Amy was hired as a second-grade teacher and Luke as an elementary music teacher in Loudoun, and they quickly began booking winery shows. Luke teaches at Cool Spring Elementary in Leesburg, while Amy has taken time off from full-time teaching to stay home with Jack but continues to tutor after school in addition to handling most of the band’s booking.
For their fans, the Dentons are a musical match made in heaven, with Amy’s surprisingly big voice, which has been compared to greats like Norah Jones and Eva Cassidy, and Luke’s musicianship (he plays piano, guitar, ukulele and percussion on the new record). The couple works well together in the songwriting department, too, with Amy composing the lyrics and melody, while Luke takes care of the music and instrumentation.
While Amy’s voice is in many ways the soul of the duo, Luke—thanks to encouragement from his wife and their fans—has stepped out of his comfort zone to sing, as well. He’s mostly a harmonizer, but has been known to take the lead on a few songs in their repertoire.
“When we had been doing the duo thing for a while, we started realizing that people were responding to the songs we were doing with a lot of harmonies. So I started to come up to the microphone a little more often,” Luke said. “I feel like when we play to our strengths, Amy’s voice is definitely the one that carries it, and I’m OK with that. Singing is secondary for me. I really enjoy it, but finding harmonies to her melodies is definitely one of my favorite things to do.”
As far as songwriting, it took some time to find a groove, but the couple is in a good creative place. All of the songs but one on their new recording are originals, and the pair is winning over their winery followers with their own tunes.
“We lucked out in the sense that we have opposite strengths. I’m the lyricist and he’s the instrumentalist. It works out because we’re not fighting for the same thing,” Amy said. “He comes up with something cool and I finish it. Or I come up with something cool and he finishes it. It just works out that way—not to say we don’t get into arguments when we’re writing music. But I’d say that for the most part, I love it.”
Amy recalls that when they first started writing together in 2009, she’d take the CD Luke had given her out to the car to work on lyrics because she was too shy to write in front of him. Now the couple puts Jack to bed and heads to their basement studio to compose music together.
“When we first started writing as a team, we had to learn how to do it—like anything else,” Luke said. “When you’re working with somebody else, whether it’s the person you know better than anybody else in the world or a stranger, you find out how to work with the other person because when you’re creating music it’s something very personal. … It’s very smooth now but it was six years in the making.”
And while the duo generally mixes in more covers, including a range of jazz standards, during their winery shows, they’re starting to get requests from regular winery circuit fans for their own tunes. Their CDs are available at shows and via their website for a donation—with the amount decided on by the purchaser.
“We want to bring people in at wineries with songs that they know and at the same time introduce them to a lot of our songs,” Amy said. “Recently, we were playing at the Barns of Hamilton Station and there was a girl who walked by singing the words to one of our songs and we didn’t recognize her. It made us feel really good—people who are coming to watch us play are starting to know our music as well.”
With parenthood added to the mix, they are busier than ever but grateful that their shared passion allows them to spend time together doing what they love. The Dentons are enjoying having found a niche locally, but are also hoping to build a reputation as songwriters for national artists down the road.
“It’s really the best of both worlds because we don’t have to compromise our schedules. This is what we’re doing together,” Luke said. “We have so much fun together to begin with so it never gets old.” - Leesburg Today

"Sweetnova At Creek's Edge Winery"

On a recent visit to Creeks Edge Winery, I encountered a really great sounding Folk Pop/Jazz Duo performing, and I thought I would write up a quick note on the experience.

While I didn’t get a chance to stay for their whole set, I can honestly say that I was blown away by the range of Amy’s voice and Luke’s piano and guitar accompaniment.

During my time watching their performance, Amy did her own version of “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, and it got a solid round of applause from a crowd that was mostly interested in enjoying Valentine’s Day with their significant other. I consider that a strong affirmation of how great they sounded because Amy’s voice really got the attention of the Valentine’s Day lovers.

If you liked their performance as much as I did, please check them out at an upcoming show. I hope you enjoy their music as much as I did. - Living In Western Loudoun

"Loudoun’s Live Music Scene Pairs Well With Food, Drinks"

On a recent Sunday afternoon, guests at Wine Kitchen chatted quietly over their brunch as the two-person band Sweetnova set up equipment in a cozy corner of the eatery to perform.

Amy Glen’s crisp voice began the first lines of “Knock at my Door” and her financé Luke Denton strummed an acoustic guitar, invigorating the ambiance of the little downtown eatery. A table of six raised and clinked wine glasses, another group took out their camera to capture the moment, and others looked up form their cheese plates and salads to take in the music.

Similar scenes unfold throughout Loudoun each week, reminding locals there is no need to drive into DC to find live music. There are a slew of opportunities to sway to acoustic guitar, dance to jazz or sip libations to southern rock cover songs.

Amy Glen and Luke Denton have certainly noticed that. The couple moved from Austin, TX—dubbed the nation’s live music capital—to Leesburg one year ago because of the county’s appreciation for live music. In Austin, people expect live music and have come to no longer appreciate it, Glen said, but in Loudoun, the demand for live entertainment has kept Sweetnova playing at least five gigs a month.
“It’s just a different attitude here,” Glen said. “People want to relax, drink a glass of wine and listen to music—and music goes great with wine.”

Denton said there are still pockets of Loudouners who have not connected with the live music scene yet.

“In Northern Virginia, there is a lot more musical talent than people realize,” he said, encouraging people to get out and discover it.
No matter folks musical tastes, they will most likely find a venue to quench their hankering." - Leesburg Today


Beeswing, July 2015

Ballyhoo, January 2010



Whether you're looking for a solid songwriting-performing duo or great jazz standards, Amy and Luke Denton, a.k.a Sweetnova, are your answer. They've been playing music together for the past decade and have traveled the country, playing in some of the nation's most notable venues. Amy Denton has been writing songs since she was a teen, but has been singing since she could barely walk. Often times called the modern version of Eva Cassidy or Norah Jones, her voice melds silk and soul to deliver a stellar performance gig after gig. Her husband Luke, an active producer and composer for TV and commercials, rounds out the duo with his flawless piano skills, solid guitar chops, and seamless harmonies. Together, they have been compared to the likes of The Civil Wars or Angus & Julia Stone.

Sweetnova started cutting their teeth around Austin, TX in venues such as Stubb's, Momo's, and The Parish. Having relocated back to their homeland of northern Virginia in 2011, they have just released their new album, Beeswing, proving to be their best work yet. No matter the feel you want, they'll give the performance you're seeking.

Band Members