From the May/June 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY PAT MORAN
Folk duo mixes activism with downhome charm
On the track “Welcome to the Club,” Kagey Parrish’s and Laura Wortman’s duelling Huss & Dalton guitars enfold and pull apart while Parrish drawls, “Get your ass to the yoga class and do some downward dogs.” The wry rumination on the gentrification of the Honey Dewdrops’ Baltimore neighborhood illustrates the theme of Anyone Can See: Life is change and challenge. On their fifth independent release, the husband-and-wife acoustic folk duo embraces both, welcoming the unexpected and unplanned by playing with a flexibility that mirrors their live performances.
Spontaneity informs “For One More.” Here, Wortman’s slinking Gibson LG-1 stretches like a cat while Parrish’s elastic leads race like whitecaps over water. Parish and Wortman’s free and easy interplay bolsters the tune’s take on immigration, which stresses inclusion over walls.
The collection’s mood darkens on “Going Rate”—as the duo sings about the protests that rocked their community in 2015 after a young African American man died in police custody; Parrish’s stinging Collings mandolin mimics emergency sirens.
The Dewdrops’ activism is tempered by their warm playing. “Rainy Windows” evokes sensuous melancholy with cyclical picking and pulsing cross-rhythms. The filigree fingerstyle of “Easy” and the loping bent-note fills on the Hank Williams cover “Ramblin’ Man” mark the duo’s embrace of their folk roots.
With Anyone Can See, the Honey Dewdrops show that you can be downhome and in the thick of it at the same time, as long as you’re flexible and go with the flow.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.