Honey Made
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Honey Made

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band R&B Funk





“Perfect Getaway” is the latest Funk driven single from the Austin, Texas-based artist Honey Made which contains enough Soul to induce goosebumps from the first few notes in the prelude.

As the drippings of soul nostalgia intensify in Perfect Getaway, you’ll find yourself in an effervescently shimmering soundscape where every instrumental in the arrangement exudes fluid expression.

In the jazzy downtempo instrumental arrangements, you’ll find plenty of catharsis as the Perfect Getaway makes a gentle demand to let the sound resonate while in the choruses, you’ll appreciate the explosive energy from the unrestrained vocals and the cutting angular guitar progressions.

Perfect Getaway is as accessible as Funk gets thanks to the even serving of anachronistic and contemporary textures found in the single. Honey Made is well and truly an artist putting on your radar.

You can check out Perfect Getaway for yourselves by heading over to Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast - A&R Factroy

"Concert Review: Honey Made at Stubb's Indoors 06-22-2019"

Nearly halfway through the set Willie Barnes II, set his microphone down and jumped down into the crowd, the audience formed a tunnel as he danced back to the back of the room, the band on stage keeping the groove going, the audience stretching their heads to the back of the crowded room to catch a glimpse of the roving party maker who soon enough was climbing back on stage mic in hand as the band pushed together into another tight chorus.

I looked over at Riley, his camera in hand. "This is so fun!" I said.

Riley smiled back with cool ease, "If you aren't having fun here, you are never going to have fun".

I scanned the room, didn't seem like anybody had that problem, everybody was moving and grooving and smiling.

You can't help but smile at Honey Made. It's hard not to delight at their athletic musicianship, their infectious hooks, or hairpin turns between the entire canon of funk feels - hard funk, hip hop grooves, or James Brown - you name it, they did it. If that was all it was, I'd still call Honey Made a great band, but it's more than that, it's their willingness to bring you into the fold that makes seeing Honey Made a great _time_.

As each song went along you felt just a little bit cooler than when you came in - more in touch with everyone around you, a part of the band, a part of a community. The way that happened was so well done. All three vocalists Willie Barnes II, Donald Ford Jr, and Chris Barnes had a way of talking with the audience and not to them. I felt like the third point in a triangle between the two front-men. It felt like an overheard conversation between two close friends and an invitation to join them. I have no idea if that was just an extension of how cool those guys are or extremely well-orchestrated stagecraft or both, anyway about it - bravo, it totally worked for me.

About those vocals. Ford and Barnes were as comfortable in their high falsetto register as they were belting out audience-rousing "hey's" and James Brownish band call outs. The interplay between the two was mesmerizing. That's saying a lot when there were 10 extremely accomplished musicians on stage that could draw your attention with either their finesse or overt mastery of their instruments.

I think one vocalist working as hard as Donald or Willie is phenomenal, two is mind-melting. I am telling you - come see these guys, you will be blown away by their musicality and how much energy they bring to the stage.

One of my favorite things about Honey Made was the brass. The arrangements were spot on - taking on a supporting role underneath the vocals while also developing interesting motivic ideas (small musical gestures with intent). However, when it was time for the horns to come forward - boom, there they were - in unison lines or filling out the sound with warm chord tones or counter melodies. We were treated to great playing from Bari and Tenor Sax player Dustin Hunter, trumpet player Joseph Morrow and Trombonist Donald McDaniel.

Another key element was the backline which is essential to all funk and soul. A funk rhythm section needs a lock - for me, that was drummer Chris Barnes, his playing on songs like the fast funk 'Love Machine' and the later Samba breakdown was right where it needed to be. The world of the singing drummer is a tough one, guitarists and bass lead singers have some tone next to their body that they can draw on to find pitch, not so for the drummer, and Barnes did a phenomenal job with his lead and backups.

There were memorable spotlight moments during the set as well - including a number of clutch keyboard solos during the show including some talkbox effects in there just for fun. David Thacker's keyboard set up included a Nord synthesizer in a wooden organ shell, an awesome bit of instrumental costumery - that would've completely fooled me if Riley hadn't been right up against the stage photographing to know differently.

Guitarist Elliot Liebman's guitar headstock was covered in a lei (leftover from an earlier gig at Oskar Blues), that visually communicated something quirky and fun about his personality, a nice touch. We got to hear a little more from him on his stellar solo on a slow 6/8 groove. It was melodic and virtuosic with a fabulous telecaster crunch tone. It even had a moment of fretboard tapping ala Van Halen. Pulling that off (hey-o! guitar pun) in an R&B tune tastefully was a feat, but seemed no problem for Liebman.

I was dumbfounded by a solo from Lee Braverman on bass. I initially thought he was doubling the keys but I think it was a pedal altered octave effect. Beyond the intriguing sonics of his bass, there was hyper-precise playing executed at an incredible clip. This was a complex solo that had echoes of Jaco Pastorius' work from Weather Report. Very complex motivic thought going on and one of the best bass solos I remember hearing ever. I think I may have gasped aloud. No joke.

Perhaps most subtly, percussionist Wesley Gonzales reliably cut through the grooves with an arsenal of percussive delights. During the set, I remember thinking, "damn, those toms sound amazing" and realizing that it was both Barnes on drums and Gonzales on timbales creating that sound. Being an ensemble player and having two musicians speak with the same voice is exactly the kind of thing a player like Gonzales can achieve. He and drummer Barnes shared a percussion duet towards the end of the set where Gonzales was given moment in the spotlight to shine as a soloist.

Tunes like "Steppin' Out" had the entire audience moving from left to right mirroring the entire band's Blues Brothers soul review dance steps on stage. The 60s spy-like groove of "Ashy Pockets" felt downright Pink Panther-ish which they doubled down on with a bari-sax solo. By the end of the night, the whole audience was waiting on cue from Willie and Donald to jump up and down in sync.

Throughout the night I kept thinking back to my brief time in Houston, Texas. I lived for a year in this house near a Baptist church. Every Sunday for a number of hours, you would hear this hypnotizing pulsing bass and drums emanating from that church. Even though it was down the street, from my living room, it still began to seep into my mind, a hypnotic mantra of music. Sitting there on the couch I would think: wow, that rhythm is bringing people together, unifying them, letting them work as one instrument. On Saturday night I got to experience that feeling again, that was us, that was the audience, that was Stubbs, that was Honey Made. - David Diers

"Album Review: Honey Made by Mama k & The Shades"

Honey Made is the latest album from Mama K & the Shades, a soul-funk band hailing from Austin, Texas. And it’s a doozy! A rollicking, energetic, shake-your-booty, get down and dance album consisting of eleven thoroughly enjoyable tracks.

Mama K & the Shades incorporate soul, funk, R&B and jazz influences into a distinctive, upbeat sound that can only be described as James Brown combined with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, with thick doses of Isaac Hayes and Barry White poured in for flavor. Mix them all together, give it a good stir and voila – swinging soul-funk like you’ve never heard before.

The band produces a big sound because it’s a big band. Mama K is Kelsey Garcia, who handles vocals. Her voice is just the ticket; it can grind and growl when necessary, and then transition to clear and crisp. The male vocalist is Willie Barnes. Johnny Storbeck plays guitar and produces some hot riffs. The keyboards belong to David Thacker. Lee Braverman plucks the bass. In the pocket is Chris Barnes, who, along with Wesley Gonzales on percussion, holds the beat. The brass section is composed of Joseph Morrow, Dustin Hunter and Donald McDaniel.

My favorite song on the album is the first track, “Two Wide,” which has a big brass intro, followed by the rest of the band jumping in and heating things up. Storbeck’s guitar lights up the solo and the melody is bouncy and fun. Another favorite is “Love Machine,” which, if you’re old enough or hip enough, should conjure up memories of James Brown gamboling and boogying on stage. The tune starts off as pure soul-funk and then segues into a Latin beat that seems just right. The way the band pulls of the transition is smooth as cashmere.

The last track on the album is “Hot.” The tune starts off sounding like Barry White covering Isaac Hayes, but then takes on a life of its own, moving from sleekly soft to pump-it-up funk. Great background harmonies fill the song all the way through.

Production values on the album are stellar. Honey Made was recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberly, Texas. And wherever Wimberly is, they sure know their stuff at Yellow Dog Studios when it comes to recording and mixing.

On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 1 being embarrassingly bad and 5 being marvelously superlative, I give Honey Made 4 stars. It’s one of those albums that every audiophile should have in their collection. It’s that good! - The Huffington Post

"SXSW Artist Mama K & The Shades On Honey Made"

One of the things that makes Austin such a cool city in the midst of so much… Texas… is the music scene. A perfect example of the innovative industry is Mama K & the Shades, a 10-piecer delivering hot tracks in a funky-soul-r&b-jazzy flavor. Their latest album, Honey Made is a sweet yet powerful blend of Kelsey Garcia (vocals), Willie Barnes (vocals), Johnny Storbeck (guitar), David Thacker (keys), Lee Braverman (bass), Chris Barnes (drums), Wesley Gonzales (percussion), Joseph Morrow (trumpet and flugel horn), Dustin Hunter (sax), and Donald McDaniel (trombone). The band released their album Honey Made last year, creating some major buzz.

Blasting me out of Saturday morning oblivion and into the very funky Now, “Too Wide” is a celebration of the human respiratory system. The lyrics sojourn into a pool scene, a serene cerulean pool with a shining monolithic source of the ultimate in Fun: the slide. At the center of it all is a fat kid who just wants to know what it’s like to experience the feeling of a near freefall. But alas, his tale does not end well, due to the unforgiving walls of the slide and the boy’s pork rind hobby. The song that came out of the cautionary tale has made my day.

“Main Squeeze” moves forward like a bass-jacked train cars (sort of like what Bugs Bunny always seemed to find when he needed reliable transportation). The horns flirt with the drums, as Kelsey’s vocals offer devotion. Then, the next track enters like someone who is completely invisible except for their shoes. “Good Things” has inviting horns, smooth vocals, and soft percussion. The vocals drizzle like melted chocolate taking its time. Everything combines to create a fantastical party track.

In “The Shades,” Willie, cavalier but insistent, invites the listener to pay attention to what he has to say. He sings of each member of the group, attesting to the greatness of The Shades. Everyone has their moment to shine. David plucks out a divine solo on the keys. Willie possesses a power so palpable, given just the audio, that it must be so dense when you see it in the flesh that you can taste it. And it tastes like honey.

I listened to “Like a Fool” three times before I could translate my reaction into words. This is a track so good, my brain found it difficult to shift its attention from aural pleasure mode to stringing a few humble words together. Like an expert, Johnny painted with his guitar wide, rounded – almost pointy – waves of sound into that private space every listener guards between his ears. Willie’s voice cried out in hurt and outrage, acceptance, and moving forward, and it was the most beautiful thing. That is, until Johnny shredded out a solo, dirty talk in electrical form, transmitted from his guitar to the listener’s neurons.

Keyboard opens the window to the fresh night air as the band gets into the groove of “Midnight Train.” Joe and Dustin blow their horns with the care of elderly people eating ice cream. Each note is so perfectly calibrated in every way. Not a drop wasted. The next track, “Baby Got Away,” has a larger than life sound. Like a child visiting a circus, this track takes over your world and makes you crave something sweet.

Bass notes wind up like a swimmer preparing to take the plunge as “Love Machine” begins. What ensues is a séance powered by staccato vocals, summoning Mr. James Brown from the Other Side. Just as I’m beginning to google lyrics, everything changes, and Kelsey is singing sultry Spanish lines, with all the feeling of that fat kid dreaming of going down the slide. It all changes again, with a transition back to the fast-paced belt-your-heart-out soul. Somehow, that interlude about “la maquina del amor” gives the song a different flavor, stretching the experience to a less hurried, less harried pace.

For a song about smells (or perhaps because it is a song about smells), “Stank” is brilliant. Bad odors are unpleasant but tolerable. Although I guess that may not be the case if you have congestive heart failure. Guitar transforms into a metallic physics demonstration of a metal ball bearing spiraling down a metal chute as “Nnedi’s Song” kicks off. Once the track is in full swing, it proceeds like a fast game of four square, the focus bouncing from player to player, with each strategically slowing down and speeding up to elicit a reaction from the listener ranging from enjoyment to infinite rhythm-driven euphoria.

The first bass beats of “Hot” tell me I’m in for something good. Willie speaks the verses, narrating the tale of a recent rendezvous. He lets out the words at just the right pace so as to keep you on the edge. Each chorus bursts out of its simmering antecedent verse, releasing the built-up tension. The song comes in at over 11 minutes, but it is clear that the band could have kept going. There is more hotness to be heard.

Mama K & The Shades will be hitting the stage at SXSW this year with performances on Wednesday and Saturday. See them live (it’ll cure what ails ‘ya) and check out Honey Made. I hope to hear more from the band in the future. - Libro Musica

"Austin musicians issued many records worth hearing in 2016"

Mama K and the Shades “Honey Made.” Reeling from the sudden loss of co-founder David McKnight, who died in a swimming accident in 2015, the 10-piece powerhouse made it their mission to complete his work. The result is a stunning debut that alternates between swaggering funk grooves with breakneck beats and soulful baby-makers that ache with heart. - The Austin American Statesman


Do Ya? - Single June 2019 
Recorded At Wolf Creek Studio Austin, Tx  Produced by Honey Made;  Recording Engineer - Miles Manglos; Mixing Engineer - Charlie Kramsky;  Mastered by Nick Landis Terra Nova Digital Audio, Inc. Austin, TxMusic; Music and Lyrics by Willie Barnes 

Perfect GetAway - Single June 2019 
Recorded At Wolf Creek Studio Austin, Tx  Produced by Honey Made;  Recording Engineer - Miles Manglos; Mixing Engineer - Charlie Kramsky;  Mastered by Nick Landis Terra Nova Digital Audio, Inc. Austin, Tx;  Music by David Hunter Thacker and Willie Barnes; Lyrics by Willie Barnes 

Ashy Pockets - Single 2020
Recorded At Wolf Creek Studio Austin, Tx  Produced by Honey Made;  Recording Engineer - Miles Manglos; Mixing Engineer - Charlie Kramsky;  Mastered by Nick Landis Terra Nova Digital Audio, Inc. Austin, TxMusic; Music and Lyrics by Willie Barnes 



Honey Made is a funk and Soul band from Austin, Texas.  The band was originally known as Mama K & The shades. Upon the departure of Kelsey Garcia (AKA Mama K ) in 2017 the band knew it had to make a name change. The band to this day continues to be inspired by founding member David McKnight  and looked to David once again in renaming the band.

“After the tragic loss of founding member David McKnight in 2015 and Mama K's departure  in 2017 – we took the time to consider the direction we wanted to go as a  band and we decided to change our name to honor David, “David always referred to great music as ‘honey made,’ which is why our debut album featured that title,” says McDaniel (trombonist for the band). “As we considered how to move forward producing new music we knew we had to emerge stronger than ever and keep his legacy alive – as the newly-named “Honey Made.”    

The band’s debut album was critically acclaimed and scored them special recognition as the March 2016 artist of the month via the Austin American-Statesman. They were also a hit on the festival circuit that year, playing at the Texas Reds’, Old Pecan Street, two official 2017 SXSW showcases, and toured throughout Texas and Colorado.

Honey Made has shared the stage with George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic at The Empire Control room. The band has also played alongside Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars, The Motet, Lee Fields, Roxy Roca and Flow Tribe.

The band is releasing two singles in June 2019. These are “Do Ya?” and “Perfect Getaway.” These are digital only releases and will be available on all major streaming services. 

The band has also completed a second album that it hopes to release in 2019 titled ‘Brand New.” “Brand New” by Honey Made is produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos with audio engineer Jim Vollentine and mastering by Paul Blakemore. The new album is full of genre-bending songs – infused with a signature blend of funk, rock, reggae, and soul – making it easy to reconnect with fans that know them as a fun, high-energy party band with serious musicianship and deep soul.   

Honey Made band members include: Willie Barnes, Vocals; David Thacker, Keys; Elliot Liebman, Guitar; Lee Braverman, Bass; Chris Barnes, Drums & Vocals; Wesley Gonzales, Percussion; Dustin Hunter, Tenor Saxophone & Baritone Saxophone; Joseph Marrow, Trumpet & Flugelhorn; and Donald McDaniel, Trombone.

Follow Honey Made on social media for tour updates, new music releases, and special announcements. Facebook: @HoneyMadeATX. Twitter: @honeymadeatx. Instagram: honeymadeatx.

Band Members