Two gals, twenty six strings, frightening harmonies and a whole lot of love!! Pure and simple, Raw Honey is music for the soul. Guitars, mandolin, dobro and rich, up front vocals powerfully deliver their award winning original songs.
Miranda Bradley (ex-Fruit) and Sue Pratten have been creating their musical buzz all the way from festival stages to intimate lounge rooms since 1999. Their blues-edged contemporary folk sound combined with the intimate appeal of their story telling, makes Raw Honey a popular choice for music lovers everywhere.
This duo, originally based in Adelaide, South Australia, has released two recordings, the latest of which, Unlikely Places, is a vivid exploration of love, loss, family, freedom, hope and peace. These themes run deep in Raw Honey’s music and every gig is a chance to connect with the things that matter most in life. Their performances always feature original music of beauty and passion, pin drop arrangements, lush harmonies and great guitar work.
Well, Miranda and Sue grew up in different states, played in different bands and lived completely separate lives. Then, following a chance meeting in ’98, they discovered that one of them already knew the first (and still unpublished!) song that the other had written nearly 15 years earlier! This freaky realisation was the catalyst for them to dive into their already interwoven musical destinies. The result is Raw Honey.
While Raw Honey is currently in performance hiatus (Miranda now lives in Canberra while Sue is in Coffs Harbour), their music lives on and future gigs are still on the cards.
Raw honey - made by bees... it’s unprocessed and naturally occurring with the power to heal and soothe - all the things we hope for our music!
What others have said:
"Exquisitely beautiful..." Phillip Satchel, ABC Radio
"About as good as it gets..." Peter Burdon, Blaze Magazine
"when the smart writing and gorgeous arrangements of Miranda Bradley meet the oh so natural, shoot from the hip bluster that is Sue Pratten - raw talent" Susie Keynes (Fruit)
"unlikely places" reviewed in Trad and Now Magazine (October - November 2006) by Ian Dearden
This duo, two women from South Australia sounding at times like Bonnie Raitt in stereo, have produced a superb album in this, their second album but their first studio effort (the first album, released in 2001 was recorded “live in the studio”).
Miranda Bradley and Sue Pratten are each, in their own right, experienced singers, songwriters and instrumentalists (guitar, piano, bass and mandolin), and have been together since 2000. Each brings significant skills and experience to the duo, with Miranda having done time in the inimitable Fruit (one of Australia’s most exciting live bands) and Sue coming from a lengthy background in both performance and music education.
All of the elements, have come together beautifully in this package. The songwriting is first class, the singing and harmonies are to die for, the arrangements are spot-on, and the performances that they have wrung out of their support musicians are exceptional. I particularly enjoyed the blazing electric lead guitar of James Meston on tracks such as “Empty Handed” and “Ten O’clock Blues”, but it would be unfair to spotlight anyone of the superb supporting cast because they are all, without exception, outstanding.
This is a CD where it has all come together beautifully. The recording quality is first class; the original songs are very classy, the vocals (both lead and harmonies) jump out and grab you by the throat, and the package works from beginning to end.
For a superb mix of folk, blues, rock and roots, you need go no further. And in a world riven by pain, sadness, misery and despair, they have the guts to write (and sing with pure belief) a song called “Peace Hope Faith Love”.
It’s good enough for me, and it will be for you. The good news is that Raw Honey has managed to make their way onto the bills of leading folk festivals including Woodford, Port Fairy and the National, not to mention a whole range of other venues in South Australia and beyond. I’ve not seen them live, but if this CD is a fair indication of their talent, they are not to be missed. You can find this CD and their previous effort “Live At The Hive” on their website at www.rawhoney.com.au
"unlikely places" reviewed in Blaze Magazine by Ron Hughes (Issue 85, 30 April 2004)
Thoughtful and engaging lyrics, an eclectic range of musical styles and solid musicianship are the hallmarks of this independent release from Sue Pratten and Miranda Bradley aka Raw Honey. Contributions from guest artists including James Meston, Libby O’Donovan & Melissa McCaig, Zoe Barry & Belinda Gehlert amongst others, ensures a rich sound captured by the production team of Catherine Oates, Kim Webster & Raw Honey. Local artists make good. Very good, in fact.
"unlikely places" reviewed in SCALA News by Dr Mandy Treagus, University of Adelaide (Issue 98, April/May/June 2004)
Smooth and Sweet: An Album to Savour
It’s been almost three years since Raw Honey’s previous effort, Live at the Hive, was released in September 2001, but the wait has certainly been worth it. Some of the songs on Unlikely Places have been heard around Adelaide and beyond for a while; it’s good to have them on disc at last, so deliciously arranged and executed. For those unfamiliar with the duo Raw Honey, they consist of Miranda Bradley, well known to Adelaide audiences as a foundation member of Fruit, and relative newcomer Sue Pratten, both of whom are accomplished songwriters, guitarists and vocalists, while Bradley adds mandolin and bass on occasion. Recorded and mixed at the Cheese Factory by Kim Webster between August and February, the album shows the benefit of attention to detail. It’s excellent value too – it’s at least an hour long including the bonus 13th track – but it is always compelling.
While the style could be best described as contemporary folk, each song has a completeness which draws the listener into its world. It’s a journey through a range of emotions effectively realised in both lyrical and musical form, the extended outros indicating how difficult the musicians (and producer Catherine Oates, also formerly of Fruit) found it to let go of the feeling of each song. In contrast to Bradley’s songs of longing and transition are Pratten’s celebrations of life’s riches, while both successfully negotiate that most difficult genre, the song of social justice. While Pratten asks herself the big questions about worldwide inequality in “World Gone Mad”, Bradley responds to current dilemmas such as terrorism with the assertion of “Peace Hope Faith Love”, to be found “in unlikely places and against all odds”. The grounding heartbeat is a nice touch.
An impressive cast of local musicians supports the duo here. The former Fruit connection continues with Jenna Bonavita’s bass lines, which are particularly inventive on “Fickle”. She and Rob Eyers on drums form a rock solid rhythm section that keeps every track tight and directed. James Meston adds effortlessly fluid yet restrained electric and acoustic guitar to most tracks. He’s finally allowed to let rip in Pratten’s variation of the ‘I got the blues in the morning’ theme, “Ten O’Clock Blues”, and the result is good rockin’ fun. Zoe Barry and Belinda Gehlert add cello and violin respectively to several tracks, with lap steel guitar from Andy Rasheed and keyboard from Kim Webster in occasion. Catherine Oates adds tasteful piano accordion, backing vocals and percussion to several tracks, and possibly ill-advised “ornamental trombone band” to the end of the delightful “Do You Remember”, one of the best evocations of childhood I have heard in a song.
Vocal performances are uniformly strong. While Bradley sounds super smooth, those who have heard her live over the years may feel that recording has sometimes stripped the distinctiveness from her voice, though it comes through on the rockier “Fickle” and “Empty Handed”. Pratten’s voice is much as it is live: strong, warm and characteristically Australian. Libby O’Donovan and Melissa McCaig, known for cabaret (Flat on Your Bacharach), jazz and other vocal work, really bring something special to their backing vocals. Two of the finest tracks on the album feature them. One of these is the finely crafted “The Ocean”, by Bradley, in which the lyrical imagery perfectly serves the song’s overall theme of mother/daughter relationship. Over strings, O’Donovan and McCaig combine with Bradley and Pratten to lift the bridge the new heights. Their brief section of a cappella work is one of the album’s finest moments. Pratten’s “Heart Chart” makes simplicity its strength, and once again features O’Donovan’s and McCaig’s subtle but utterly appropriate backing lines. A heartfelt affirmation of a relationship, this song conveys a world with the briefest of statements, such as the line: “Our journey keeps”.
The album and sleeve looks great too. Andy Rasheed’s photography is a subtle revelation. This dose of honey comes with no sting – if you want musical edginess, you won’t find it here – but if a smooth, sweet flow is your style, then Unlikely Places will more than satisfy. It’s as good an example of mature songwriting and assured performance as you could hope to find; that fact that it has been produced by independent part time performers indicates not only their dedication but also their talent. Go out and buy it; it’ll stay in your CD player for weeks!