Hometown Girl Returns with Detroit Band

Art Exhibit by Winslow McCagg Accompanies

Story and photo by Jennifer Lee

A vibrant, thought-provoking, and hip-shaking show is coming to the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville on March 25, when paintings by local artist Winslow McCagg will provide a colorful backdrop for the eclectic and upbeat sound of Detroit-based band, The Sugar Clouds.

Missie Bradley Hoenstine grew up in Clarke County and, at 25, moved to the Detroit suburbs in 1993 because, as she says, “there was a really hot job market here and gainful employment was easy to find.” The live music scene was also a draw and she says you could find live music any night of the week if you were willing to venture out to find it.

This scene, offering a plethora of cover bands as well as original local musicians, inspired Missie and her then husband Greg Hoenstine to take their combined talents of songwriting, singing, and musical chops to collaborate with professional musicians and create a band called the Hosts in 2005. “Aside from me, all the other band members are, or have been, in other bands. They are a great and very active group of musicians,” she says. The band plays mostly “dive bars,” events such as the Pop Overthrow, The MetroTimes Blowout, and the CityFest, as well as occasional private events. One of their songs was used in an independent film in a California film festival.

While Missie writes, sings lead and back-up vocals, and plays small percussion, Greg is the primary songwriter and plays rhythm guitar, keyboard, and also sings lead and back-up vocals. Jim Faulkner is a sought-after Detroit drummer, Paul Einhaus plays lead guitar, and Todd Breadon plays bass. “I always have a bit of a hard time categorizing our musical style. We are heavily psychedelic-60’s inspired with folk and pop rock influences. We actually have a couple of songs that smack of good ol’ country and some straight up rock’n’roll. Maybe you can tell us what we are,” she invites.

Musical influences for the band range from Stevie Nicks to Elvis to the White Stripes and to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Brian Jonestown Massacre “and all sorts of modern underground indie rock and electronica,” Missie explains. And her hometown has certainly had its influence, too. “Berryville has provided plenty of content for some of my more personal stories. Unlike on TV, the names have not been changed…”

Art Meets Music

On one of their trips to Berryville to visit Missie’s family about 14 years ago, Missie met Millwood-based artist Winslow McCagg; there was an instant synchronicity. “I could not stop thinking about his art, and eventually I asked Winslow if he would create two pieces for me that could hang side by side but would lose nothing of their meaning if they hung separately,” she remembers.

This directive was motivated by the fact that Missie and Greg were headed for divorce, and she wanted each of them to have a piece when they found separate homes. “In a nutshell, Greg and I started the band while divorcing. After playing many months together, our bandmates at the time had no idea we were soon to be unmarried. Greg and I used writing and music-making as a way to express our feelings, and saved the money we would have spent on therapy to record our first CD by our then name, The Hosts. Winslow’s pieces turned out so perfectly that when we recorded our first CD, there was no question as to what the cover art would be,” she explains.
Winslow’s complex, intellectual, and psychedelic art, full of meandering shapes, vibrant colors, and mysterious stories, seems almost made for album cover art. “Over many visits, I saw them (Missie and Greg) evolve from dormant musicians to allowing in the Muse, and eventually forming The Sugar Clouds. I have been honored to have my artwork grace their two album covers: a bucket list desire for an artist, at least this artist,” Winslow says.

Finding a Stage Together

The idea of the collaborative show came about when Winslow was asked by the Barns of Rose Hill to hang an exhibit and he suggested that The Sugar Clouds play the opening night. Everyone was on board.  “When we decided to record the second CD, we sought out Winslow immediately to do our cover art again, so naturally when he asked us to play his art opening, we were all too happy and honored to do so,” Missie says. Called ‘One More Round,’ Winslow says this art exhibit is “a continuation of the visual conversation I have with this beautiful place wherein we live.”

When asked how she feels about playing for her hometown crowd, Missie says “nervous, excited, privileged. I’m proud to bring my bandmates and friends to my home. I can’t wait to introduce them to my family and friends and show them the river and the mountains and my family’s farm.”

The pleasure should be all ours as we celebrate the arrival of spring with some fantastic original music and art, rousing fun and playing in
harmony together.


The Sugar Clouds: March 25 at Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville. Opening reception begins at 7pm, music starts at 8pm. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

One More Round: Paintings by Winslow McCagg opens March 25 with reception at 7pm, and runs through
April 20.

Tickets at barnsofrosehill.org/event/the-sugar-clouds.