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Honi Deaton and Dream will sweeten up concert series

As a child, Honi Deaton thought she was famous. Strangers would walk up to her and ask, "How ya doin', honey?"

"I just assumed they knew my name," said Deaton with a laugh. "When I got a bit older, though, I figured it out."

Now, at 32, Deaton is on the road making her actual name famous, as lead singer for Honi Deaton and Dream. A Georgia native, Deaton will return to her roots this evening as part of Lawrenceville's Moonlight and Music Concert Series.

Though Deaton formed her bluegrass band about five years ago, she has been traveling around the country for 13 years as a performer, and swears she came out of the womb singing.

"But I can't remember that far back," she said.

At the age of 5, Deaton was introduced to the piano, and her love of music was cemented. These days, she sticks to singing, playing the upright bass and a bit of guitar.

"It's a little hard to travel around with a piano," she said.

In bluegrass tradition, Honi Deaton and Dream concerts also feature plenty of banjo picking. Whether it's for the group's joyful tunes or more mournful melodies, the banjo is always on stage.

"Absolutely, we have a banjo. Without the banjo, it's not bluegrass," she said. "We rock that banjo pretty hard sometimes. We have a good time."

The band's fun-loving, hard-rocking ways have not gone unnoticed by critics. Deaton has been nominated twice for the International Bluegrass Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year award, and the band was nominated for a Dove Award for Bluegrass Special Event Album of the Year. Honi Deaton and Dream also recently recorded and released their latest album, "Chasin' Dreams," which is on sale on the band's Web site, www.honideaton.com.

"A lot of the tunes we'll be playing at the show are from our new album, so come prepared," Deaton said. "It's going to be a fun show, with music for people of all ages and with all kinds of music tastes."

SideBar: If You Go

What: Honi Deaton and Dream concert

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: Gwinnett Historic Courthouse lawn, 185 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville.

Cost: The concert and lawn seating are free, and tables for six can be rented.

Info: The concert is part of the 2007 Moonlight and Music Concert Series. Call 770-822-5450 or visit www.honideaton.com or www.visitlawrenceville.com.