Holy Hive, the Brooklyn based folk/soul trio formed by folk singer/guitarist Paul Spring, sought-after soul drummer Homer Steinweiss, and bassist Joe Harrison have confirmed the release of their highly anticipated debut full-length Float Back to You, due out May 29 on Big Crown Records. The album follows a string of well-received live shows, singles, and their critically acclaimed Harping EP.
Recorded at Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY, (co-owned by Steinweiss), the new album features 10 originals, a cover of “Be Thou By My Side” (originally by 60’s UK pop group Honeybus), and a re-working of Irish folk tune “Red is the Rose.” It was produced by Steinweiss and features guest musicians throughout including harpist Mary Lattimore, Leon Michels (El Michels Affair) on sax and keys, Shannon Wise (The Shacks) on backing vocals, Dave Guy (The Roots) on trumpet, Nick Movshon on bass, and Spring’s wife Sophia Heymans on piano.
A professional drummer for the last two decades, Steinweiss has provided the back beat to hit records by Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, The Jonas Brothers, St. Vincent and Charles Bradley to name a few. He got his start as a founding member of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and toured extensively with the acclaimed soul outfit before settling into a more studio-oriented approach to drumming.
Spring, on the other hand, spent his formative years studying ancient languages, poetry, and classical guitar in the small city of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Touring solo and camping in a Honda Odyssey, he has self-released 7 albums of singer-songwriter material including a commercially well-received children’s record, Home Of Song.
Originally meeting in 2005 on a Minnesota farm (through their respective girlfriends, a pair of cousins) Steinweiss and Spring soon began a long-distance friendship between New York and Minnesota which, over time, developed into a folk music recording project. Joe Harrison, a multi-instrumentalist who has played with Frank Dukes and Charles Bradley, was working as a studio assistant at The Diamond Mine at the time. He started sitting in on sessions, eventually joining the band in 2015 when the trio began recording as Holy Hive.
In 2016, shortly after Spring relocated to New York, the newly christened Holy Hive was invited on tour with soul veteran Lee Fields. That tour dramatically and irrevocably changed the band’s approach. They started exploring the relationship between the traditions and lyricism of folk music and the aesthetics and rhythms of soul music. Thus giving birth to the genre that best fits them, Folk / Soul. With their new sound, they enlisted collaborators and began to further hone their music during a year-long monthly residency at famed Red Hook, Brooklyn dive Sunny’s. Along with a couple of years working together in the Diamond Mine, the band amassed a collection of songs musing on love and loss with lyrics inspired by folk ballads and 60s soul music and are ready to share it all on Float Back to You.
The symbiotic relationship of Steinweiss and Spring has been likened to that of an oxpecker bird sitting atop the back of black rhino, with Spring’s delicate falsetto and fluttering guitar alighting atop Steinweiss’ brawny drums in perfect harmony. There are many levels to Holy Hive, some of them show up on the surface, but some of them are like the album’s title track; you listen to a gorgeous love song only to find out later it was inspired by the feeling of a woman coming home to her favorite house cat. This is perhaps the most telling of Holy Hive, they are easy to like on first listen but spending time with their music will reveal a much deeper experience.