Celebrating it’s 10th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicked off on January 4th with seven weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band or Best Live Acoustic and a performance slot at the 2011 OC Music Awards, March 5 at the Grove of Anaheim. And, the voting is open now!
Huntington Beach heart-wrenchers, Honeypie, may be simple and sweet to the ear upon first superficial listen, but that is the artful trick to their treat. After a few heady spoonfuls, Honeypie’s seemingly precious pop offers up a warmth and complexity that brings the palate to the bittersweet realization that if a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, one must first take the medicine to accompany it.
It helps that the medicine is a potent formula of late ’50s pop-rock chords, syrupy ’60s soul and the kind of organic, yet sparkling country-fused melodies that would have had veteran Nashville singers crazy with the opiate of nostalgia.
[pullquote quote="Choosing a band name can be such an arduous task, but it wasn't for us. It felt like the right name for the sound and feel we're going for. It was our first and only choice." credit="Trisha Smith"]
In 1968, the Beatles wrote a melancholic love ditty backed by an ironically rollicking ragtime tune and a deliberate, satirical vintage feel; that tune was called “Honey Pie.” Not only does the song structure draw perfect parallels with those of Orange County’s Honeypie, the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Beatles[/lastfm]‘ “Honey Pie” possessed lyrics that accurately convey how many fans feel about the OC Music Awards nominees: ”Oh honey pie my position is tragic/Come and show me the magic/of your Hollywood song.”
While one might say that the OC is not quite Hollywood, the proximity and the sentiment is close enough to make the meaning behind Trisha Smith(vocals), Ryan Radcliff (guitar) and Kyle Deven’s (bass/vocals) choice of name that much more evocative. Smith explained that her love for the name was as straightforward as taking honey from a flower:
“I’ve always loved that song and the album that it’s on. Choosing a band name can be such an arduous task, but it wasn’t for us. It felt like the right name for the sound and feel we’re going for. It was our first and only choice.”
This natural instinct and easy, yet singular focus translates readily to Honeypie’s 2009 self-titled EP. Marrying earnest musical positivity with ardent lyrical sentiment, Honeypie jangles the soul electric like generative tears before a massive rain storm wrecks havoc on the heart. With the complementary snap of Radcliff’s precise guitar playing, Smith carries this storm within the effervescent black and blues of her voice, her tinge of vocal vulnerability adding depth reminiscent of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Leigh Nash[/lastfm] from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Sixpence None The Richer [/lastfm]and Romeo and Juliet-era [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Nina Persson[/lastfm] from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Cardigans[/lastfm].
These comparisons don’t phase the strong-willed, but humble Smith who has evolved from a naive artist to a music industry veteran, vying for attention in a male-dominated industry, “At times, I wish I was more hard-edged and a better negotiator. I’ve definitely come a long way as far as becoming less naive and seeing things more transparently. I’ve learned a lot about how important communication is and how men and women communicate differently. One of the benefits of being a female front lady is that there aren’t an abundance of female fronted bands, so I’m not weighed down with comparisons.”
Honeypie may have listed an eclectic group of musicians such as Sufjan Stevens, Dawes, Avi Buffalo, Joni Mitchell and Richard Swift as influences, [pullquote quote="We strive to write songs and put on shows that are unique. We constantly try to give our audiences the same inspiring feeling." credit="Ryan Radcliff"]but Smith has one of those voices that ingrains itself into your psyche, sounding comfortably familiar while still retaining some of its unique style and cadence. According to Radcliff, this is one of Honeypie’s creative intentions:<
“We strive to write songs and put on shows that are unique. We constantly try to give our audiences the same inspiring feeling. We’ve had at our favorite live shows. Also, we think community is really important, and we love collaborating with our favorite local bands.”
Fittingly, Honeypie was as sweet as pie when it came to lavishing enthusiastic praise upon their fellow musicians and “favorite local bands” in the OC music scene:
“We’ve played with some amazing musicians this year including Tony Cupito from the Shys, Johnny Hanson from Melanoid, a producer/keyboard wiz Dallas Kruse, Nate Boris and Jon Brown from Big Bad Wolf, Yellow Red Sparks, Voxhaul Broadcast, Local Natives, The New Limb, The Colourist, Billy Kernkamp and Jameson.
In the end, Honeypie is more about a feeling; a magic; a “Hollywood song,” that speaks of a California day when the rain has fallen and the air is fragrant with dew. A California day where the apothecary’s vile mixture of love may feel “tragic,” but that is not something a bit of Honeypie won’t fix–especially if the brutal whip of life also whips a little cream to drizzle generously on top.
“No Difference“-[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Honeypie[/lastfm]
The 2011 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 4 -February 15 with stops at:
Five Showcase Series finalists in each live category will then move on to the Showcase Series Finals.
2011 Best Live Band winner will receive a performance slot on the four Southern Christmas Vans Warped Tour stops!
Night Two of the OC Music Awards Showcase Series featuring nominees for Best Live Acoustic Band is Tuesday, January 11th at the The District at Tustin Legacy in Tustin with doors opening at 7:00PM.
READ MORE INTERVIEWS ON KROQ.COM FROM SHOWCASE NIGHT 2 BANDS:
Friday, January 7th-Honeypie
Saturday, January 8th-Headshine
Sunday, January 9th-Stacy*Clark
Monday, January 10th- Skee and the Motion Detectors
Tuesday, January 11th-Canvas
You have the power to send one Showcase artist to the Best Live Acoustic Finals and Best Live Band Finals.
Cast your vote and enter to win a massive prize pack from the OC Music Awards partners (To be Announced). Voting will begin on December 27 and will be open through the last Showcase on February 15. The votes will be tallied and the band with highest score will automatically move on to their Series Finals! Click here to vote
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM