A female trio with a sound as sweet and organic as their name. Honey County consists of three ladies – Dani Rose, Katie Stump and Devon Jane – who can all sing lead, play their own instruments and write original tunes. They come from southern California wielding a unique style that blends rich country harmonies with a breezy West Coast sound, evident in songs like “Love Someone,” which appeared in the final season of the “Nashville” TV series, “Los Angeles” and current single, “Sale of the Summer.” They’ve also opened for acts like Brett Eldredge and Jake Owen and performed at various music festivals.
The California-based trio visited Nashville recently and sat down with “Sports & Entertainment Nashville” to talk about their catchy name, new single, songwriting and other topics. They’re all in agreement that when folks see the name “Honey County,” it definitely grabs their attention. “Everybody seems to love the name, and we all do, too,” says Devon, the blonde-haired, guitar shredder who also tours with Katy Perry. Adds keyboard player/vocalist Dani, “I think it is intriguing. I remember when I first heard the name Lady Antebellum, I thought, ‘Great. Who is she?’ Then you find out that it’s two guys and a female. What a cool concept.”
“Honey County is not a literal place,” notes Katie, guitarist and vocalist. Could the name, then, be more of a state of mind? “Oh, I like that!” raves Devon. “I never thought of it that way,” chimes in Katie. “But that’s a pretty good description.”
Talk turned to their current single “Sale of the Summer,” which appears destined to capture the fancy of the female audience. The song focuses on a relationship gone wrong, but the female character, instead of brooding, hatches a plan to pay back her cheating two-timer by selling all his belongings. “Sale of the Summer” will be part of an EP project, due later this fall.
SEN: “Sale of the Summer” would seem to be the ultimate female fantasy. Was that based on a real-life situation?
Devon: “Thankfully, no [laughs]. We didn’t have to deal with that first hand. It was actually Dani’s idea. It was like a concept for this girl who just gets crazy when her guy gets unfaithful.”
Dani: “I was thinking it would be so funny if this girl took all of his stuff and sold it. And made a nice profit. I have a boyfriend and he has stuff all over the place. So I was thinking, ‘What if she took all the guy’s furniture?’ She’d get her revenge.”
SEN: So, is your boyfriend now leery of getting on your bad side?
Dani: [Laughs}. “Maybe. He holds his YETI cooler dearly. He doesn’t let me know where he puts it.”
SEN: All three of you sing lead vocals. How do you work that out for each song?
Katie: “Well, here is an example. We just got finished writing something with Kalie Shorr that we are really excited about. Devon was like, ‘That song is so cool. Can I sing the verses?’ And I’m going, ‘Of course you can. You sound great on those.’ It’s all about what works best for the song and what parts are gonna allow each other to shine.”
Devon: “We all have very different voices and different tones. It really works for us.”
Dani: “Actually, I hog everything until they say, ‘Dani, give it a rest.’ [Laughter}. Seriously, I always say that it’s almost as if you took Bonnie Raitt, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood and put them in a girl group.”
SEN: Will the upcoming EP consist of all original songs?
Katie: “It will include all originals and will probably be about six songs. We’ve been writing a lot at home and in Nashville. We’ve had a chance to test out some new material on the road and the feedback we get from those songs gives us an idea of what we might end up recording. We rely a lot on audience reaction.”
SEN: When you write songs, do you tend to tweak them along the way?
Dani: “We tweak quite a bit. We did that on ‘Love Someone,’ which Katie wrote before she was even in Honey County. We thought that the line, ‘You can’t love someone into loving you,’ was magical. What a great strong hook. But we did tweak it. When I heard the chorus, it was third person originally.”
Katie: “It’s so much stronger when it’s first person. We changed a couple lines, and the whole bridge.”
Dani: “We also changed some of the melody in the chorus. It was a process. I’m glad it happened because, lo and behold, we ended up getting it in the season finale of ‘Nashville.’ So, that was really fun to take something that was a gem and polish it a little bit more. And then to have it be featured in something so prominent as ‘Nashville’ was incredible.”
SEN: The three of you seem to have a great chemistry.
Devon: “We have a family vibe and we have a great time together. We can get on each others’ nerves a little but we know how to work it out. We’re all a good balance for each other.”
You can catch Honey County this fall on their Sale of the Summer Tour, including several shows on military bases with Thompson Square. For more on the trio, visit their website.