East Anglian duo Lucy and Jon Hart have long excelled at creating songs that are ‘close to home’. But their third album, Away Beyond the Fret* – released this autumn, is certainly their most personal and resonant yet.
The title conjures thoughts of looking into the future, beyond the mist and horizon. Lucy describes it as ‘looking at the world with a fresh perspective, like a new-born babe.”
Like their two previous acclaimed albums, Made in the Aker (2019) and Journey Through The Roke (2021) the new album is steeped in Suffolk, their home county – the landscape, the people, the past and modern day heroes and heroines, the rich folklore and the restless sea.
Performing as Honey and The Bear, the husband-and-wife duo, have always had the knack of writing innovative, sensitive songs with savvy lyrics and a strong sense of place. Now they have a strong sense of family too, following the arrival of their daughter, Gracie, another key inspiration for their beautifully crafted 13-track album.
The multi-instrumental songwriters live in coastal Suffolk and draw huge inspiration from the county in all its moods and guises. The pair have been writing and performing together at gigs and festivals in the UK and Europe since 2014 having met at a songwriting event two years earlier.
2019 saw them deliver the accomplished debut album, Made in the Aker, (aker is local dialect for a turbulent current). Then, in 2021, they released Journey through the Roke (roke is another old East Anglian word for the smoke-like evening mist that rises off marshes and water meadows).
It comprised songs written during the pandemic and initially unveiled in a marathon series of weekly lockdown live streamed gigs from their home which became hugely popular.
Lockdown also brought the couple a newfound appreciation of nature and the great outdoors. One of the tracks on the last album, Life on Earth celebrated the life of Sir David Attenborough. The man himself, on hearing the song, wrote to say he was ‘greatly complimented’ that he had inspired it.
Two and a half years on, Away Beyond the Fret unwraps like the last part of a trilogy; another atmospheric smorgasbord of songs, from the delicate to the driven – a crisp and classy genre-hopping mix rooted in folk but flirting with Americana, country, rock and the mainstream.
It sits tightly with the earlier albums as a set body of work.
Says Jon: “We wanted the songs to feel closely associated to the music on the first two albums, but at the same time to stand on its own. The ingredients are the same and the team around us.”
Lucy adds: “The songs and stories on this album came to us after a two year songwriting hiatus in a post pandemic world that is distinctly changed yet also strangely similar. We had been devoting our time raising our daughter and in many ways you could say this album has been inspired by her beautiful existence. Many of the songs on this album focus on our Suffolk home and the close bonds of family, friendship and community.”
With striking artwork designed by Lucy the album cover cleverly depicts a woman camouflaged in the waves against a starry, midnight blue sky.
The duo fuse fine vocals and play a plethora of stringed instruments. They both play double bass, bouzouki and acoustic guitar while Lucy also plays ukulele and Jon provides effortless electric guitar.
Guesting on the album , as on the previous releases, are four talented members of Sam Kelly’s The Lost Boys band – multi instrumental genius Toby Shaer on whistle, flute, harmonium, viola and fiddle, in-demand Evan Carson on bodhran, drums and percussion, deft Archie Churchill-Moss on diatonic accordion and Graham Coe, delivering a beautifully judged cello throughout. Fellow singer-songwriter Kelly Bayfield adds harmony vocals on some tracks while a Suffolk choir adds soaring vocals to one of the final songs.
“This duo are a folk force to be reckoned with.”– East Anglian Daily Times
(Added this video because its such a fabulous one to help you forget everything going on in your life and just get lost in it … my opinion, not necessarily that of our esteemed readers, other Honey & the Bear videos are available, check them out here!! www.youtube.com/@HoneyTheBear)
Released on November 3, Away Beyond the Fret is produced by Honey and the Bear, recorded and mixed by Jon Hart and mastered by Josh Clark at Get Real Audio. It will be available in CD and DL format from Honey and the Bear’s own website and via iTunes, Amazon and other online stores.
The album will be showcased on a November/December tour starting with a sold-out album launch performance at the famous Snape Maltings in Suffolk.
HONEY AND THE BEAR TOUR DATES
November 4 : Snape Maltings – Suffolk –ALBUM LAUNCH SOLD OUT
November 11 : Folk Club – Surrey
November 12 : Tetbury Goods Shed – Gloucestershire
November 15 : Cambridge Junction J2, Cambridgeshire
November 17 : The Live Room – Saltaire, West Yorkshire
November 19 : Nettleham Village Hall – Lincolnshire
December 2 : Swanton Novers Village Hall – Norfolk
For further information please visit: honeyandthebear.co.uk honeyandthebear.co.uk
*Fret – An East Anglian term for a mist or fog coming from the sea (Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks)