The Austin based funk and soul band Honey Made follows up their recent EP, Couple Few, with their debut studio full length album Brand New. For Honey Made, the new album is an ode to looking forward, finding that newness in life that can make it so interesting, from love, to a journey, to a new musical venture, Brand New takes on so many meanings. Brand New is due out November 6th everywhere you stream music.
Honey Made is a nine piece band, and an Austin, TX staple. They have uniquely honed their sound on stage and on many tours, with various iterations of the band before coming upon the final sonic signature for Honey Made. Willie Barnes II, vocalist and songwriter, comments “We are breathing fresh air into the soul genre. A lot of soul bands are trying to recreate a specific old school sound so much that there is no originality or advancement in the genre. This is a soul record on steroids.”
Brand New features ten original tracks and display a diverse musical range from soul, funk, reggae to jazz elements. The title track and lead single, “Brand New” lyrics were written by Willie, he recalls, “It’s the story about when you meet that person who takes you out of that dark place that seemed inescapable and shines a new light into your life. The funny thing is that I wrote this song about my wife when we started dating.” It is also a follow up to the story of a jilted lover in the song off the previous EP, “Like a Fool.” Wille continues, “We met, my wife and I, after both going through similar situations that I talk about in “Like a Fool.” A few years later we were married and we surprised her by playing “Brand New” to her during my vows. Everyone was in tears.” The song is also a nod to the fact that the band is brand new with a new attitude and sound.
Honey Made consists of Willie Barnes II, Vocals; Donald R Ford Jr., Vocals; Brian Cokeley, Keys; Lee Braverman, Bass; Chris Barnes, Drums and Vocals; Mark Saldana, Percussion; Dustin Hunter, Tenor Saxophone and Baritone Saxophone; Joseph Morrow, Trumpet and Flugelhorn; and Donald McDaniel, Trombone. Together, their throwback sound recalls the likeness of soul legends James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and Earth Wind and Fire and adds a modern take on slamming primal soul fused with their R&B roots. A great sound that drew the very talented Grammy Award winning producer Steve Berlin to the project.
When Steve Berlin came on the project as producer, he had one small request, that the band recorded at the legendary studio Texas Treefort Studios in Austin. Donald M. recalls, “It is a unique experience with much of the gear vintage analog gear put together by Jack Rock – Viewpoint Records. He has an extensive career in the aerospace industry and used that knowledge to put together the studio console, power amps, preamps and mixers to create the warmth of an analog recording with the capabilities of digital technologies.” Tracking the new album with Steve took some time, as the band worked under Steve’s tutelage and tightened up their sound, rearranging the backing horn lines, even shipping in a new snare drum just for the right sound. Donald M. continues, “Steve was always pushing us in a good way to be better musicians. I remember notables like Kevin Russell of Shinyribs stopping by to listen to the recording!” The new album came together under a team of notable engineers including Paul Blakemore (Esperanza Spalding, Arturo Sandoval and Jaco Pastorius) mastering engineer, James Vollentine (Court Yard Hounds, White Denim, Spoon and Marcia Ball) recording engineer, and Charlie Kramsky (Alicia Keys, Nels Cline, Bobby McFerrin, Jesse Winchester, Nothing More) mixing engineer.
Honey Made came together in 2018 honing their classic sound on stage both locally and nationally, and have shared the stage with the likes of George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic, Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars, The Motet, Lee Fields, Roxy Roca and Flow Tribe, to name a few. They have become known as one of the best live bands and party bands in Austin, TX, and in the age of COVID, they plan to get back on stage and in front of audiences as soon as they can. For now fans can catch their live stream record release party on Purple Bee-TV on November 6th. And in Austin, at the Far Out Lounge on November 19th.
Brand New is the debut studio album from Honey Made due out November 6th, 2020!