From the western slope of Colorado, Free the Honey offers up original and traditional tunes with richly layered vocal harmonies and authentic acoustic resonance.
The elements are familiar — harmony singing, twin fiddle, open back banjo, guitar, mandolin, storytelling, and mountain culture. The alchemy is all their own. It is a sound inspired by place, community, and deep musical traditions. It revives in the listener a connection to the simple goodness of life, the medicine of string and wood and voice. Rooted in the Americana soundscape with hints of gospel, blues, country, gypsy, and jazz, their original tunes honor tradition and are surely for this time.
Since its formation in 2013, the band has gained a natural momentum and warm welcome around Colorado and beyond. They have recorded and released Free the Honey (2013) In our Hands (2014) and Fine Bloom (2015). And have graced the festival stages of Gunnygrass, the Crested Butte Arts Fair, Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival, Jammin at Hippie Jacks, John Hartford Memorial Festival, the Mountain Harvest Festival, along with many meaningful community events in their home valley of Gunnison. They have also taken the music on the road, sharing their sound in North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Texas.
In April 2015 Free the Honey recorded their first full length studio album, Fine Bloom at Swingfingers Studios in Ft. Collins, CO with bassist Andrew Cameron under the guidance of producer KC Groves (Uncle Earl) and engineer Aaron Youngberg (Finnders and Youngberg). Fine Bloom, released September 15, 2015, features 13 original tunes and Free the Honey's vintage folk, jazz and gospel aesthetic, embodied by delicately soaring three–part harmonies. Free the Honey's dedicated musicianship is complimented by place-based songwriting drawn from the deep well of feminine experience and indelible ties to home, family and nature. Radio listeners around the world have been catching a taste of the sweet sound of "Fine Bloom" emanating from the gorgeous Gunnison Valley and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Fine Bloom was the most played album on folk radio for October 2015 and subsequently #3 for November 2015 with "Take Me Home" as the most played song for two consecutive months according to charts compiled by Richard Gillmann from radio playlists submitted to FOLKDJ-L, an electronic discussion group for DJs and others interested in all folk-based music on the radio.
Free the Honey is very grateful to their hometown and community of supporters who have played a vital role in co-creating this journey! Thanks for visiting folks....
Hailing from the Texas hill country, Jenny Hill grew up in the small town of Dripping Springs, Texas. Set right outside of Austin, the area provided for a childhood full of music and potluck parties. Texas swing, country, classic rock and roll, and bluegrass filled a room as friends picked up guitars, fiddles, mandolins, washboards, washtub basses and spoons. This sparked an interest in her at an early age, and she picked up the fiddle when she was six years old. Her dad, who also played, was her primary teacher, along with Ms. Mary Hattersley, a long time Austin resident.The fiddle, however, took the backseat to sports when she hit middle school, but reappeared in college after seeing Austin based band, The Belleville Outfit and traveling for a semester in Up with People.
Jenny now calls Gunnison, Colorado her home after attending WSCU. Gunnison's tightly-knit community, beauty, multitude of outdoor activities and small town charm inspire her to write, mainly of the people she meets, the relationships she has formed and the friends and family she still holds close back in Texas.
Jenny plays a fiddle that has been part of her family for many years, and a Pearl mandolin, a model designed and handcrafted by her father, Jerry Hill back in Dripping Springs, Texas.
Lizzy Plotkin was raised in Nashville, TN and at the age of 4, she asked her mother if she could play the violin. With drive and great enjoyment, Lizzy has studied the violin formally and informally ever since. Her father, Stephen Plotkin graduated and taught jazz strings at Berklee School of Music and later moved to Nashville, TN. In 1990, he passed away with lung cancer when Lizzy was only two years old. Lizzy inherited her father’s fiddle and one of her main goals in life is to carry on the beautiful and peaceful song of her father. With influences such as Vassar Clements, Stephane Grapelli, and John Hartford, Lizzy makes music to bring more joy to the world.
At 17, she picked up the mandolin and at 19 started writing songs. Her University years, in Ann Arbor, MI were filled with Art of all kinds where Lizzy spent time improvising with dancers and performance artists, bringing out a healthy dose of humor and quirk in her style. After receiving her bachelors degree in Environmental Psychology and Education, she moved to Crested Butte, CO to teach at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Lizzy’s love for music only grew stronger as she discovered Colorado’s bluegrass scene and the opportunity to live a life close to the wilderness.
Singing harmony with Jenny and Katherine opened even more doors to happiness for Lizzy. The Free the Honey project was founded on those harmonies and continues to be a vehicle for spreading joy, peace, love and freedom through song. When not performing with Free the Honey, Lizzy is teaching violin/fiddle and ukelele to students of all ages, hiking, skiing and wandering the hills of Gunnison with her large dog Nashville. Catch her also playing Django tunes with the local Gypsy Jazz Social Club or performing with folk and bluegrass guitarist Craig McLaughlin.
A native of Mississippi, Katherine is a folk music devotee with country, blues, and gospel running deep. Her childhood was rich in church music and choral singing, and while in college, she was exposed to string band music for the first time. This began a lifetime of exploration and reconnected her to that Deep South and Appalachian heritage. She enrolled in East Tennessee State's Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program and began writing songs on mandolin, guitar, and banjo. She then settled in Memphis, TN, soaking up the Mississippi River sounds before making the journey west to the Gunnison Valley of Colorado. Free the Honey emerged from the creative spirit of this community and thrives because of its support.
She is dedicated to the craft of song composition, and years of roaming around the Southeast and Rocky Mountains continue to inspire stories and melodies. Place is a vital influence in her writing and music made with friends and family a medicine for the times.
Katherine plays an OME Juniper open-back banjo from Boulder, CO and a 1956 Gibson LG2 guitar.