A chorus of female singers with diverse musical backgrounds will showcase their talents as the band known as HoneyHouse, in a Performing Arts Series concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, at Tech's Macey Center.
Award-winning R&B/gospel soul impresario Hillary Smith, earthy blues/folk singer-songwriter Yvonne Perea, sweet-voiced Mandy Buchanan, plus Danielle Andrade on bass and Dianne De Leon on drums and percussion, altogether make Honey House. They seamlessly meld the lines of musical genres with original creations that blend blues, soul, folk and Americana into one sweet "honey house" haven of music.
The concert coincides with the 32nd Annual Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
As a special treat, PAS and the Socorro Chapter of AAUW are hosting an educational social hour entitled "Voices of Women On Our River, On Our Stage," at 5:30 p.m., prior to the performance. Featured will be a panel-style discussion by four Socorro County women knowledgeable about our Rio Grande: Gina Dello Russo, Doris Rhodes, Nelia Dunbar and Cecilia Rosacker. Rumor has it that HoneyHouse may close the presentation with their original song about the Rio Grande. This pre-show event, with light refreshments and a cash bar, is free to all, though donations will be welcome.
"HoneyHouse puts on an incredible performance, one that hopefully will attract the many visitors in town for the annual Festival of the Cranes, as well as our loyal corps of local supporters and Tech students," PAS Director Ronna Kalish said.
"And the discussion on the culture, recreation, restoration and preservation of our Rio Grande ties in nicely with both HoneyHouse and the Festival of the Cranes," she said.
The band has been described as very different voices with one path, a path that is at once contemporary and indigenous to the roots all people share, one way or another.
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 America for more than a quarter-century and is well-loved in the Albuquerque music scene. She has performed at SocorroFest twice. Smith's a belter, but her voice also possesses warmth and expressiveness, and she can get under the skin of those of the audience.
With a seamless meld of folk, blues, and rock, Perea's music captures audiences through memorable melodies, relevant lyrics and soulful, earthy vocals. After hearing Perea or watching her perform live, one comes away with the feeling that they've seen a glimpse of the singer's soul.
Buchanan, a Red River songbird, 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, she began singing in church at an early age. From country to blues, jazz to rock and roll, her sweet voice will take one by surprise when least expected.
With her first musical roots in New Mexico music, country, and rock, Andrade is a versatile bassist who can adapt to any style. She loves to entertain fans live, as well as in the studio. Being surrounded by a musical family at an early age, and playing and recording for various legendary acts in the Southwest, has helped lock in her passion for making music. Socorroans will know Andrade as the bass player in all versions of the Al Hurricane Band.
One might say De Leon has been hitting it since birth. Self-taught on pillows, she was finally granted a drum set to make it official. She brings her background in writing and playing Latin music to the group, and has enjoyed national radio play. She joined HoneyHouse, playing drums and cajón for the past five years.
For several years, the state's music awards were dominated by HoneyHouse. In 2013, the group won the Norman Petty Producer's Award and Best Song for their album, "Medicine Lodge."
That same year, Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine cited HoneyHouse as one of the "Bands to Watch from Santa Fe." The group has been honored with other awards, including being a John Lennon Songwriting Finalist for Conquer the World, in the Folk category, and Best Song in Americana for "Autumn" in 2015.
Give credit to Jason Blume for "Perfect Mess" as the winner of the Best Mastering Engineer for the 2015 New Mexico Music Awards.
Sponsors for HoneyHouse are the Betty Clark Memorial, KUNM, AUI/NRAO and Wells Fargo. The City of Socorro is a special partner, welcoming all the visitors to Festival of the Cranes.
Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $8 for youth 17 and under. New Mexico Tech students will be admitted free with their student ID at the door or can pick up one ticket each at the New Mexico Tech Bookstore.
Tickets also can be purchased online at nmtpas.org or at the following locations: New Mexico Tech Cashier (Fidel Center), Sofia's Kitchen, John Brooks, or the PAS office (call 835-5688 for directions).