An Elkader native will tour the Midwest this year for over 100 shows with the band Honeywise. Sophia Landis and Honeywise are scheduled to perform at the Elkader Opera House on Friday, April 28, for her home crowd.
“I started piano when I began preschool as a three-year-old. At first, I wanted to quit lessons because it was hard, but my parents wouldn't let me and said I would thank them later. Throughout my childhood my parents were extremely supportive and tried to give me as many opportunities as they could do learn more instruments and be involved with chorus, band, musical theater, and any other musical outlet that came my way,” Landis explained.
She graduated and went off to college, but the typical student life didn’t quite stick. “I quit college after my junior year to follow my musical dreams, but I had no direction and did not know what I was doing,” Landis told The Press. “After a year and a half, I went back to school and right away met Jason Surratt, who helped manage the production of my solo CD. Shortly after, we started Honeywise.”
Landis and Surratt have since played over 130 shows in nearly 20 states. In July of 2016, they added Trevor Troupe on upright bass to form a trio. Honeywise now combines Surratt’s country background, Landis’ Native American flutes, piano and mandolin, and Troupe’s thumping upright bass for an overall folk feel. “Some songs tackle big topics, such as racism or respecting the planet. Others are feel good folk tunes about life and being on the road. Others still are soulful ballads,” Landis said.
Landis joined Surratt’s record label, Wild Midwest Artists, both as a recording artist and in dealing with promotions and public relations thanks to her completed degree in communication studies. “Jason started the record label as a consortium of musicians who work together for the greater good of all bands involved. Wild Midwest artists promote one another at each other’s shows, for example selling merchandise and covering other Wild Midwest artists’ songs to spread their music and introduce it to new audiences,” explained the Elkader native. The label currently represents Landis and Surratt’s solo acts along with Honeywise, Rush Cleveland, James Lieder, The Creek Heathens and Moonshine Sorrow.
The April 28 show will include an opening act, Raj Mantage, prior to the Honeywise performance. “[Raj] is a musician from the La Crosse area and will be playing guitar, violin, and didgeridoo as he sings beautiful original music,” said Landis. “Honeywise will perform much of their original music, including a brand new song that tells the tale of folklore surrounding a bluff in Elkader.”
The event welcomes all ages, and especially those with an interest in folk, roots, Americana, and acoustic sounds. Tickets are general admission and are available at Moser Family Pharmacy and at the Elkader Eye Clinic, both located in Elkader, as well as at the door.
Photo courtesy of Honeywise.