London's dark alt-country band Blackwood Honeybees release EP
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The sweet dark sound of the Blackwood Honeybees is something a bit different than the indie rock you might be used to hearing.
The dark alt-country band from London has just recorded a self-titled EP set for release on May 15 at The Black Shire Pub.
They will also be playing Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern on May 13.
The Honeybees’ driving bluegrass beat is full of melancholy undertones, and offset by very intense harmonies, or as the band refers to them, “blood harmonies.”
They flow from the talented mouths of sisters, Dawn and Shawna Redskye.
“We grew up singing together. We had a very musical house — listening to lots of different music all the time,” says lead singer and banjo player Dawn, 25. Shawna, 23, plays the guitar and fiddle.
The sisters were born to an Aboriginal father and Irish mother on Bearskin Lake First Nation reserve near Hudson Bay.
“I remember being taken care of by my kokum — that means grandmother in Ojibwe. It was a pretty isolated community,” says Dawn.
The sisters aren’t able to visit the reserve because it’s too remote to be reached by affordable transportation.
“We both kind of struggle with an identity crisis, having two very different sides and not being able to fully connect with either,” says Dawn.
“There’s a sadness and a loneliness that comes across in our music.”
One of songs on the new EP is called Small Town.
“We lived north of London in a very small, white, religious town, and we weren’t religious at all. The song is about wanting to leave and pursue bigger things,” says Dawn, who lived in Forest with her sister until they moved to London four years ago.
Deal With the Devil is another song on the EP.
“It’s a fun song and a homage to Tom Waits, one of my inspirations. It goes back to old Americana music, with religious themes and struggling with internal demons,” says Dawn, who also draws inspiration from the band 16 Horsepower and the native folk artist Buffy Sainte-Marie.
The Blackwood Honeybees have been working almost non-stop recording and playing shows for the past few months.
Other band members include Jeff Kahl on drums and Mike Ge on double bass.
Their EP release show will feature guests Billy Christopher (London) and Defne (Oshawa). The doors open at 8 p.m. and cover is $5.