This spring, dive back in time with Queen Bee & The Honeylovers and take a whimsical journey through the “Land of the Sky.” The newly-budded swing-jazz-folk ensemble is slated to drop their debut record, Asheville, on April 27, 2019. Asheville is a breath of fresh air in a cynical time – a joyful romp through the history of a famous mountain town: Thomas Wolfe’s Altamonte, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s playground. “Queen Bee” Whitney Moore pays homage to her hometown’s golden age through stories passed down from her grandparents, local legends, and folklore set to the musical style of their time. This fourteen-song set breathes new life and innovation into swing music while it gives a dedicated nod to the small-combo legends who first defined the genre.
Each track on the album is set in a different iconic Asheville location during the swing era. Some song titles are place names, like “Beacham’s Curve,” “Hominy Creek,” and “Helen’s Bridge” while others tell stories of famous Asheville personalities like “Cornelia’s Masquerade” (Cornelia Vanderbilt), “Dr. Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic” (E.W. Grove of the Grove Arcade and Grove Park Inn), and “The Legend of Zelda Fitzgerald.”
Rather than erase the injustices of yesteryear with a nostalgic gloss for simpler times, the Honeylovers paint a picture of the past that points out that the “good ole days” were not good for everyone. Peel back the layers of Asheville, and you’ll find biting commentary that resonates with present-day politics. “Hayes and Hopson” is a raucous party anthem about Asheville’s most famous speakeasy, but it also decries the ubiquity of police corruption. “Logan and Moore” is an homage to Whitney’s grandfather’s tailor shop, written using snippets of their ads. It also laments mechanized displacement of handicraft, echoing present day woes of Amazon and WalMart. “Beaucatcher” recounts the origin story of Asheville’s iconic mountain while sharing the tragic tale of a homosexual man trapped in a heterosexual relationship. In Asheville we learn that history has already repeated itself again and again.
This is not just another kitschy swing revival band. Smart and savvy, the Honeylovers’ sweet melodies invoke a nostalgia for simpler times, while their lyrics point to the politics of the current-day. And in celebrating Asheville’s history, they are proudly promoting the city that Asheville has become.
The album was recorded by Grammy winner, Matt Williams in his Weaverville, NC studio, The Eagle Room. Joining them in the studio was Henry Westmoreland of Squirrel Nut Zippers, Eric Heveron-Smith of Postmodern Jukebox, Russ Wilson and James Posedel of the Rhythm Serenaders. Three of the songs “Cornelia’s Masquerade”, “Hayes & Hopson” and “Beacham’s Curve” were co-written with Michael Gamble, founder of the Rhythm Serenaders and organizer of Lindy Focus.
Queen Bee and the Honeylovers will be celebrating the release of the album with a full band show at the Isis Theater in their hometown of Asheville (where else?) on Saturday, April 27.
1. Asheville (North Cackalacky)*
2. Beacham’s Curve
3. Hayes & Hopson*
4. Dreamer’s Waltz
5. Legend of Zelda Fitzgerald*
6. Cornelia’s Masquerade
8. Dr. Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic
9. Hominy Creek
10. Logan & Moore
11. Ghost of Zealandia Castle
12. Helen’s Bridge
13. Kenilworth Naval Hospital
*Focus Tracks: (1) Asheville (North Cackalacky), (3) Hayes & Hopson, (5) Legend of Zelda Fitzgerald
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Matt Williams at The Eagle Room in Weaverville, NC
Produced by Matt Williams and Whitney Moore
Lyrics by W. Moore, music by W. Moore;
Except tracks 2, 3, 6, with Michael Gamble
Tracks 10 with James Posedel
Track 12 with Steve Karla
The Band Is
Whitney Moore – Lead vocals on all songs
Mattick Frick – Acoustic guitar, vocals
James Posedel (of the Rhythm Serenaders) – Piano
Trevor Stoia – Upright bass
Russ Wilson (of the Rhythm Serenaders) – Drums
Henry Westmoreland (of The Squirrel Nut Zippers) – Trumpet
Eric Heveron-Smith (of Postmodern Jukebox) – Trombone
Matt Williams – Violin
Stephen Karla – Lead guitar on Helen’s Bridge