Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tunes in Town: Truetone Honeys

The Truetone Honeys are an all-female trio (Truetone Honeys)

WILLIAMSBURG — Tunes in Town is an occasional series that will catch up with some of the local musical talents that call Hampton Roads home.

Caroline Scruggs, Anna Perkins, and Jeanette Corey all attended Christopher Newport University, and all three of them loved music from a very young age. Corey grew up in a musical household with an organist father and a pianist mother, Scurggs started on violin at age five, and Perkins began playing piano at age 10.

The Truetone Honeys were formed after Scruggs and her husband had booked a big gig with another music group both are part of. The gig had originally called for a barbershop quartet, which led to a brainstorming session. Scruggs and her husband came up with the idea to create an Andrews Sisters-vibe group.

“We had so much synergy together as a band and it really just took off,” Scruggs said.

The Truetone Honeys draw inspiration from female stars of the 1920s through the 1950s. Their shows are often judged at first glance as a female trio, USO style experience, however, Scruggs, Perkins, and Corey all strive to set the band apart.

Performing is at the heart and soul of each member of the Truetone Honeys (Truetone Honeys)

“A USO-style show is what people think of when they think of all-female vocal trios that are old jazz. We really work very hard to choose music that is actually mostly before the Andrews Sisters came,” Scruggs said.

When it comes down to rehearsals, the Truetone Honeys always start with a cup of tea and listening to period music. The trio often tries to find music by groups that are doing something different vocally.

“We sit down and transcribe these songs that inspire us. That could take us hours. We’ll listen to these songs and do our best to interpret what’s going on musically. I will base our instrumental arranging off the recordings that we listen to. Some of these tunes are so old that there isn’t any readily available printed sheet music, especially the really wacky ones that we like to sing,” Perkins said.

After putting in the work of transcribing, the trio rehearses together and makes sure that everything sounds the same before hitting the stage.

The trio’s main inspirations are songs by the Andrews Sisters, the Dinning Sisters, and the Boswell Sisters. Some of the Truetone Honeys repertoire includes “The Way You Look Tonight,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

The songs of the era of music that the Truetone Honeys perform often aren’t heard today. For Corey, getting to share music from that time period is a neat experience.

“We really truly like this music a lot and it’s very fun to hear and play. A lot of people who could listen to this music don’t know that it exists and the recording quality is pretty poor. Even if people wanted to enjoy it in its recording state, those recordings are old. A live experience allows us to present the music as it was meant to be heard, not through a century of audio deterioration,” Corey said.

The Truetone Honeys play various shows around Hampton Roads (Truetone Honeys)

Typically playing shows around the Hampton Roads area, the Truetone Honeys just recently returned from a mini-tour experience.

For all three members, getting into the studio and creating an album would be a dream experience. Not so much to create an album, but to pay homage to the female trio groups that paved the way for them.

The Truetone Honeys have a passion for the music that is evident every time they step out on the stage.

“We’re not trying to make this novelty music and we’re not trying to perform it in a way that is costumey or feels distant from our time. Yes, it is old music, but we are genuinely performing it because it is vital and it speaks for itself in the here and now. Our shows are not tribute shows, we really think this music is very good on its own. I believe in this music,” Corey said.

While making music together brings them each joy, at the root is their deep friendship.

“More than anything, our friendship is at the core of this group. In ten years, I just hope that we are just still having tea and singing together at each other’s houses,” Perkins said.

For more information on the Truetone Honeys or to see a performing schedule, visit the group’s Instagram, Facebook, or web pages.

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