Holy Hive is a Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay act featuring:
- Paul Spring, a St. Cloud, MN-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who spent his formative years studying ancient languages, poetry and classical guitar before making a name for himself as a folk artist, who self-released seven albums, including a well-received children’s album Home of Song.
- Homer Steinweiss, a Brooklyn-born and-based drummer, who has played, toured and recorded with a who’s who of contemporary soul and pop music including Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, The Jonas Brothers, St. Vincent, Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings— all before becoming a highly-sought after session player.
Interestingly, Holy Hive can trace its origins to when Spring and Steinweiss met on a Minnesota farm through their respective girlfriends, who are cousins. The duo began a long-distance friendship, which over time developed into a folk-based recording project. Back in 2016, Spring relocated to New York. Shortly after, the duo were invited to tour with fellow JOVM mainstay Lee Fields. That tour dramatically changed their approach and sound: after the tour they began exploring the relationships between the traditions and lyricism of folk and the aesthetics and rhythms of soul music — seamlessly meshing them into something anachronistic yet uniquely theirs. And with a new sound, they began honing their sound with a year-long monthly resident at Red Hook, Brooklyn-based dive bar Sunny’s with a rotating cast of collaborators.
Spring and Steinwess then spent the next couple of years working on folk and soul inspired material that thematically focused on love and loss. The end result was teh duo’s full-length debut, last year’s Float Back to You. Recorded at Steinwess’ Diamond Mind Studios, the album was produced by Steinwess and consists of 10 originals, a cover of Honeybus’ “Be Thou By My Side” and a re-working of the old Irish folk standard “Red is the Rose.” The album also featured an impressive array of guest stars including Mary Lattimore (harp), El Michels Affair’s Leon Michels (sax, keys), The Shacks‘ Shannon Wise (backing vocals), The Roots’ Dave Guy (trumpet), Nick Movshon (bass) and Spring’s wife Sophia Heymans (piano).
The duo’s self-titled sophomore album is slated for a September 24, 2021 release through their longtime label home Big Crown Records. The album reportedly reviews a natural but subtle evolution for the duo: while still largely centered around the old-school soul and folk that has won them attention and praise, the Spring and Steinweiss push their sound and songwriting approach in new directions with narrative-driven Mexican ballads, Turkish funk and even a bit of Chicano Soul being added to the mix.
“We wanted this album to be a blending of our musical personalities – a continuation of our Folk Soul experiment,” Holy Hive’s Paul Spring explains. “We started the album together on tour, staying in Air BnBs with small mobile recording rigs. Then the pandemic forced us to work on it separately from our own quarantined homes. And finally, months later and reunited in New York, we finished it together in the Diamond Mine Studio.” Steinweiss continues, “I think we achieved something new and exciting on this album. We went deeper into ourselves to find inspiration, and we did a lot of self-reflection to find the words and themes that we wanted to express. There is a sadness to the album as a whole, but it was finished during a sad time for the world so I think it reflects a lot of what we have been going through.” Unsurprisingly, their self-titled sophomore album may the most personal of their growing catalog with the album’s material thematically touching upon the joys of partnership and love, and the fact that sadly no matter how hard you may try, all things end. So you dust yourself off, maybe figure it all out and (hopefully) try to start over again with some level of perspective.
The self-titled album’s first single “Ain’t That The Way” is a woozy and uneasy stomp featuring a persistent rhythm punctuated by handclaps, a looping and twinkling keys, a soaring hook and achingly plaintive vocals. And while displaying a breezy and infectious craft, the song is centered around the fact that all things good and bad end. Heartbreak is a part of our lives — and so is what you do with it.