Hailing from the backwater wilds of Norwich, Connecticut, The BeeKeepers describe themselves as “3 women + 13 instruments + rich ‘honeyed’ vocals and ‘mesmerizing’ vocals harmonies” and their individual blend of Americana, incorporating folk, acoustic rock, and blues, finds an ideal expression on their debut Songs from the Hive, Vol. 1. The six song collection illustrates why this award winning trio has garnered praise from every quarter. These are performers and musicians with an unabashed love for composition and the nuance running through the songs on Songs from the Hive is enough to exert a near hypnotic hold over even the most jaded listener. Their songs are landing in many places already – 70 radio stations across the United States and numerous television programs are latching on to these sensational ladies and, with this release, there’s sure to be more who will follow the trend.
The lyrical material is superb. “Indecision”, written by Sylvie Abate, unwinds with breathtaking tenderness and the vocal digs deep into the song’s economical lyrical turns while framing the writing with immensely tasteful musicality. Despite the certain virtuosity of the players involved, there’s never any sense of showing off. Instead, The BeeKeepers are aiming for your head and heart alike with just the right amount of musical muscle. Amanda Sullivan’s “What a Day” has a strong pulse thanks to effective drumming and the trio’s ethereal harmonies are never laid on in too heavy handed of a manner. They are definitely concerned with delicacy, but the aforementioned acoustic rock influences come through quite nicely on this song and some exquisitely lyrical guitar lines that never overstep their obvious mandate. Miles Aron definitely deserves ample praise for his playing here. Abate returns as writer for the song “Yellow Flashing Lights” and Amanda Sullivan’s vocals are ably supported by the superb harmonies she shares with the trio’s third member Phred Mileski. It has a low-key sound that you’ll enjoy from the first and the same thoughtfulness defining the trio’s material. Cleo Flemming’s cello adds an unexpected classical touch to the song and the track especially takes off mid-way through when the drumming picks up the drama in an artful way.
Sullivan and Abate team as writers for the song “Textile Town” and this selection is grounded in a long tradition of “leaving” songs without ever seeming like some sort of pastiche. Billy Klock’s work on the drums is effective throughout the entirety of the album, but particularly so here, and he’s an underrated part of why these songs come off so well. The Merlin blues of the finale “We Both Know” is stripped back in its opening moments, but it soon shifts into a slower chorus when Billy Klock’s drums come in and the harmonies hit home with great skill. Rarely does Americana music receive such an effective treatment in the modern music scene, but The BeeKeepers are obviously enormously capable of picking up this particular mantle and carving out an idiosyncratic notch for themselves in a relatively crowded musical scene.