Honeylark with Wanda Jackson and The Wurly Birds
8 p.m. Saturday
Will Rogers Theatre
4322 N. Western Ave.
Heavy, the debut album of Oklahoma folk-rockers Honeylark, will premier to much fanfare with its Saturday release show, featuring a rare performance from Oklahoma music legend and the Queen of Rockabilly herself, Wanda Jackson. Other collaborations include local favorites Fiawna Forte, The Wurly Birds, Em and the MotherSuperiors, Feathered Rabbit and a three-piece horn section.
The year and a half it took Honeylark (helmed by husband-andwife pair Natalie and Ryan Houck) to finish the record and the burden being lifted with its completion felt like a worthy cause for a hell of a Christmas party. “It’s very gratifying to finally release Heavy,” Ryan said. “We’ve been playing most of these songs live for quite a while, but it’s nice to have them on a record. It makes them feel more finished.”
Heavy is the first recorded material to see the light of day since the Houcks (and several other Honeylarks) split from fellow alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, and the new dynamic demanded Natalie approach songwriting in a new way.
“We wrote what we wanted to write,” Natalie said. “I limited myself less and trusted myself more than I have in the past. It’s a growing process, and I’m glad I went ahead and threw myself out there. It’s scary, but at the same time, it would have been worse in the long run if we were to over-censor our ideas.”
That methodology led to a sultry and moody but largely genre-less collection of songs that recall everyone from St. Vincent to Neko Case.
I don’t think we could write a genre-specific album if we tried.
— Natalie Houck
“It isn’t limited to a single genre or even an idiomatic sound or production style, yet it’s a very cohesive record,” Ryan said.
“I don’t think Honeylark could write a genre-specific album if we tried,” Natalie said. “I listened to the oldies growing up — my parents’ records — from ’60s and ’70s folk, Motown, rock, and then I soaked in what happened in the ’90s, too. Then there’s the fact that two-thirds of Honeylark’s members went to music school. I think that formal music background reveals itself at times.”
The band expects to tour in the early half of 2014 — no small feat with lots of little Honeylarklings back at home — amidst some summer festivals and more writing that will likely be born from a less solemn place than Heavy was.
“Meditating on the dark stuff in life can make you angry or even depressed, so I was lucky to have my closest friend to chart those waters with,” Natalie said. “These songs reflect that general darkness, and that’s something everyone can relate to. I might feel alone, but the isolation is chosen … it’s all in my head. In reality, we’re all going through the same crap in this weird, post-digital revolution time we live in. I want to connect with people in real, non-virtual ways. That’s why we write. That’s why we perform and put our songs out there — to share the human experience in a physical, tangible way.”