Link to Living Tradition Homepage





HONEY AND THE BEAR  - Journey Through The Roke  

HONEY AND THE BEAR  - Journey Through The Roke  
Private Label  

This is a charming second release from Lucy Sampson and Jon Hart, a folk and roots duo who live in coastal Suffolk. They both began songwriting as teenagers, both are multi-instrumentalists and singers and both had released albums before they started writing and performing together in 2014. 

In 2020, with the onset of COVID-19, the duo was grounded, but they went on to do Sunday night Facebook Live streams – 32 throughout the year. They challenged themselves to write a new song weekly for the first 12 weeks, and that project became this album. During lockdown, they spent more time outside in nature, which became a great source of inspiration, and they channelled those encounters into song. The tracks also include tales of courageous folk, concern for our environmental future, and stories of peril on the sea. 

The dozen tracks are all co-written by Lucy and Jon, save for a wistful version of My Lagan Love. They share vocal and instrumental duties, providing adroit service on several instruments, and are joined by four musical guests (all members of Sam Kelly’s The Lost Boys). With close harmonies and an effective layering of instrumental voices, the overall texture is clearly folk with a respect for traditional modes. 

Many of the tracks are thoughtful and alluringly reflective (such as Buried In Ivy) while others are bouncier (like Freddie Cooper). There is evident singalong potential on tracks like Life On Earth, dedicated to the work of David Attenborough, or The Swallow, a bright ode to the life of winged garden companions. As a whole, this self-produced release is a strong outing.

“Roke” is an old East Anglian term for the evening fog of the marshes, kind of like the bewildering journey we’ve had this past year. Journey Through The Roke celebrates human resilience and the profound inspiration of nature that reminds us of the chance for a reset. Honey And The Bear have recorded a splendid answer to that question: “What did you do during the pandemic?”

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 140 of The Living Tradition magazine