That she isn’t a household name today isn’t for lack of talent. Her enchanting voice worked as well years ago on stage at the all-girl rock festival, Lilith Fair, as it does in commercials and movie soundtracks these days. Her vocals — like those of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald or alt-country singer Neko Case — offer that well-loved blend of bold and silky sweet. Maybe that’s how she got her nickname, “Honey”. She had all the talent and savvy she needed, and a cool stage name to boot, but something just didn’t feel right.
As much as she liked performing alongside sister, Kim, her partner in the franklyScarlet duo, Brown was disenchanted with the music business and its governing corporations. She felt compelled to make a change.
“The industry was certainly not the nicest, warmest, friendliest place,” she says, adding that she wanted to do something more for herself, “and be a vehicle for other artists” in the process.
Her vision: Local Honey, an art and entertainment entity that puts on multi-media shows free from “the restrictions often placed on artists by labels, galleries, publishers and other corporate entities.” Admittedly, Brown has a tough time describing what, exactly, Local Honey is.
“I had the idea, but didn’t really know how to explain it to anyone. So I just started doing it … I still can’t quite explain it.”
What Brown pulled together was a series of theatrical musical events showcasing an eclectic arrangement of local musicians and artists, and incorporating vignettes and comedic monologues based on her past experiences (such as mimicking old managers and parodying other not-so-enjoyable moments throughout her rock ‘n’ roll history).
Despite the joviality, Local Honey takes the curatorial task to heart.
For a third year, the so-called “performing entity,” Local Honey, will host a musical Christmas Mix Dec. 19 at the Lakewood Theater. Though Brown says the show will be a “party on the stage,” this is no amateur production.
She’s bringing together several local stars — Polyphonic Spree drummer Brian Wakeland, for example — and constructing an entire orchestra charged with playing some of Christmastime’s more complex pieces.
From a version of Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas” to an instrumental “Nutcracker Suite”, sophisticated compositions should lend unique character, freshness and funk to the holiday show. Accomplished neighborhood music producer Mack Price is taking on the hefty role of musical director for the Christmas Mix. In tandem, Price and Brown chose songs, after which Price composed the arrangements.
He simplifies his job description: “Basically, my job [at the show] will be to direct the orchestra and keep an eye on Kelly,” Price says.
On past commercial projects, Brown has provided vocals for Price, who has produced music for award-winning documentaries and collaborated on soundtracks for CNN, PBS, HBO and National Geographic, to name a few. The composer speaks enthusiastically about the upcoming show and Brown’s endeavors.
“She’s got a real good idea,” he says. “Dallas is teeming with talented musicians that will make this special. Imagine sort of a Broadway revue that encompasses all styles — big band, alternative, country and western, classical — and for a $15 ticket, it’s going to be a good value.”
Brown expects an eclectic audience at the event.
“Old people, kids and everything in between. We’ll have something for all of them.”
Local Honey Holiday Mix
When/ Friday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
Where/ Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway
Cost/ $15 in advance; $20 at the door
To purchase/ localhoney.org
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