Folk duo The Honey Dewdrops arrive at Guilford’s Acoustic Music Friday

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GUILFORD >> In March 2008, the phone rang in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish. The caller ID read “PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, St. Paul, MN”.

“And we were like, ‘Isn’t that nice of them that they took the time to let us know that we didn’t compete,” said Parrish, a half of The Honey Dewdrops. , the international tour, former husband and wife duo playing country which will appear at Acoustic Music in Guilford tonight at 8 p.m.

Parrish and Wortman met in college in 2003 while playing in a rock band with mutual friends. The group broke up. They stayed together. One of the reasons was the odd way their voices complemented each other. Another was their mutual love for bluegrass and traditional music.

“We’ve always been very drawn to this music because there is a power that is contagious, that makes you want to dance, sing and scream,” Parrish said in a recent phone interview, noting that they had both grown up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


After their marriage, they worked as teachers, “playing and writing music for fun, with a few shows here and there on the weekends,” Parrish says. “But most of all (it was) something we enjoyed so much that we kept going.”

In January 2008, they heard an advertisement on the Prairie Home Companion talent show. They sent a link to their MySpace page and quickly forgot about it.

Then came the call. And a voice telling them “we would love to see you come out.” In this case, the theme that year was “Talented 20-somethings. (At the time, Parrish was 28, Wortman, 24.) They flew to St. Paul and ended up winning the competition.

“It was the scariest thing we’ve ever done. It was also a lot of fun, ”Parrish said.

Above all, it was an experience that opened their eyes. They took the school year to decide if they wanted to try music full time. By the end of this year, they were ready for their leap of faith.

Always, said Parrish, there was a fascination with “what you can do in traditional music with just two voices and two instruments.” The couple immersed themselves in the high, lonely sound of the legendary Monroe Brothers; the fragile beauty of Kate Brislin and Jody Stecher’s mountain ballads; and the sparse clarity of the Appalachians from musicians around the world Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

Obviously, these influences had the desired effect. Their debut album, “If the Sun Will Shine,” recorded live, mixed in a 1920s barn and released in 2009, had Fly Magazine’s Jeff Royer praising the collection of songs as “capturing something haunting, melancholy. and charming at the same time. “

A selection as finalists in the 2009 Mountain Stage New Song competition followed, followed by a runner-up at Eddie’s Attic Open-Mic Shoot-out, the legendary songwriter’s club and sanctuary where musical artists from across the United States- United clash.

Their 2012 release “Silver Lining” topped the Folk DJ charts. Critic Christopher Graham praised the “unsettling emotional power of its simple arrangements” which suggested “the intimate quality of a married couple huddled around a pot-bellied stove on a winter’s night.”

All the while, ironically, the Honey Dewdrops lived a nomadic lifestyle, spanning stretches of freeway from cafes and church halls to performance venues and festivals across North America, staying in hotels, with friends and family.

“We’ve learned that this is how it works,” Parrish said. “We get paid to do live shows. It is our income.

Of course, it wasn’t all business, according to Wortman, now 31. “Touring is like collecting images of landscapes, sounds of voices, contents of stories, moods of places and environments,” she said. “It can tell you something about human nature, about the way the world works, little by little.”

It all went into their most recent album, “Tangled Country”, a collection of 10 originals with tracks conveying hard times, struggle, loneliness and melancholy.

Yet imbued with the brilliant and fluid guitar work of Parrish, the voice of Wortman, described by Folkworks as “one of the most beautiful and authentic voices in folk music today”, and the beautifully blended harmonies duet, the effect is exhilarating.

As Folkworks puts it, “the songs themselves feature timeless melodies that sound like they’ve always been there, just waiting to be discovered.”

This kind of recognition only makes the Honey Dewdrops more invested in their craft. And their journey, as their name suggests, sweeter.

“We had our escape out of nowhere, and we went with it, and eight years later, it feels like we’re just getting started,” Parrish said.

The Honey Dewdrops will be performing at Acoustic Music tonight at 8 p.m. (1238 Boston Post Road, Guilford). For tickets, $ 20, visit acousticmusic.org/event/the-honey-dewdrops or call 203-458-8353.

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