When good singers come across other singers who can easily find the right harmony, there become more than two voices coming together. Something else happens when the rare, right fit falls into place, and Honey & Houston have it. Lauren Houston and Heather Turner have been playing together as the duo Honey & Houston almost as long as they have known each other, and the band they have built together has become an excellent vehicle to share their original music and artistic interpretations of songs that have influenced them.
Lauren Houston and Heather Turner met in 2006 at one of the first Cincinnati gigs each of them played. Turner was playing with Tupelo Honey, fronting along with Katie Wefer Cook. Houston started as a singer/songwriter and instantly became friends with both Turner and Wefer. It didn’t take long before a budding duo were playing gigs together. They played many Tuesday “girls nights” at the Poison Room (which is now MayDay downtown), played Arnold’s numerous times and helped fuel momentum for Rivertown Music Club’s annual breast cancer benefit, One More Girl on a Stage - a purpose near and dear to all of our hearts.
In 2009 Houston and Turner took a vacation to Italy and Spain. Blown by the laid back lifestyle of Spaniards, the friends dreamed of moving to Barcelona and starting a band - Turner on guitar, Houston on bass. They came home and told everyone they were moving. The move never happened, but the band did. It was 2011 when they really started digging the trenches for their new project with rootsy sound, tasteful music with heavy harmony, and heart. Houston learned the bass and worked with Turner to pick out vocal harmonies. (It is at this point that the author double-checks his notes… what do you mean Lauren Houston hasn’t always, always sung harmony? You’ll know it when you hear it.) Honey & Houston kicked off their new band with original songs written while in Europe. After a couple of shows as a duo, they knew it was time to grow.
Honey & Houston’s songs are written by either Heather Turner or Lauren Houston, and they switch between lead and backup vocal roles depending on who’s song they are singing. There is no need to pick a favorite between the two, by the way… both singers will get your attention with their leads, and both know how to add exactly what a song needs on harmony. An ad on Craigslist helped the duo find lead instrumentalist Mark Cretcher, who was able to quickly select between guitar, mandolin, banjo, and lap steel to add sparkle to the songs. Honey & Houston played as a trio for about a year and as a group before deciding it was time to bring their sound together with another instrument. Turner connected with Daniel Peterson, who was the drummer for Tupelo Honey, and he also jumped right in to add more dynamics to the songs.
The trajectory of this band has been successful and well-deserved, with a Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nomination for Best Country Band and a performance at the 2014 Awards ceremony. Besides the high-profile shows, Honey & Houston are just as grateful to be able to play at their favorite local breweries, festivals, and venues that keep them a part of Cincinnati’s rich music scene. The band is looking forward to playing the 2014 MidPoint Music Festival for the first time with the full group, and they are currently working on a record that they hope to release in early 2015. Houston and Turner have begun to work on writing songs together, not just for simple lyrics and melodies but to explore how they as musicians can push themselves to present their songs in new ways. With no shortage of talent, ideas, versatility, and ambition, it should be safe to say that Honey & Houston is a band music fans should be paying close attention to at the Festival and in coming months.