"Pages": Honey Butter's debut single

Image courtesy of Evan Robinson-Johnson

Image courtesy of Evan Robinson-Johnson

You may have seen Honey Butter light up the stages of Dillo Day 2018 and the Mee-Ow show this past year with their countless show-stopping covers and a light sampling of original songs. Now, they’ve finally decided to grace us with their debut single “Pages”

The six-piece band of Northwestern musicians took to the studio to record this original tune that perfectly captures their sound–a fresh, idiosyncratic fusion of pop, soul and RnB–just in time to help you soak up the remaining weeks of summer. 

As the track tells the all-too-familiar tale of love turned sour, the band’s co-director duo of drummer Oliver Holden-Moses and guitarist Jacob Galdes hold down the groove with the help of bassist George Estey. The group’s recently-graduated Sam Wolsk doubles on keys and trumpet and teams with Austin Klewan on tenor sax to fill out a perfectly-harmonized horn section while newcomer Alexa Moster sings lead. 

The regal quality of Moster’s rich mezzo soprano saturates the track with a warm, mellow sweetness yet cuts through the textured instrumentation with a power reminiscent of RnB’s most soulful queens. The upbeat bop is topped off with a sprinkling of tambourine and resonant, triadic male background vocals of Honey Butter’s own instrumentalists, à-la-Temptations.

“I would say our sound is similar to our name in that we have a very smooth, sweet, and dreamy gloss over our songs,” says Moses. “But if you dig a little deeper, there is something for everyone… More than anything else, I want people to feel a sense of community when they hear our music [and] understand that they are never alone.”

The musicians bring a sturdy foundation in jazz performance, a healthy repertoire of soul and RnB influences, like Stevie Wonder and Lawrence, and a seamless fusion of stylistic sensibilities come together to create a killer combination. The unique resulting sound is refreshing among an industry of ever-amalgamating genres and monotonous popular music often written without a message.

Image courtesy of Rachel Kupfer

Image courtesy of Rachel Kupfer

“Pages” may sound bright and summery on the surface, but the song has its roots in a real-life romance gone wrong. Galdes got the idea for the song on a camping trip as he listened to a close friend recount the cold-hearted, illusory actions of his most recent ex-girlfriend.

“She was leading him on to believe that they would get back together but then would go hook up with another guy right in front of his face,” says Galdes. “Hearing all the rough stories inspired me to write a song about it. I wanted it to sound happy and fun on the surface, but have the lyrics be about the break up. I really like songs that sound happy with the lyrics that don’t match the music.”

Although Honey Butter has a full arsenal of original works ready for release and many more in-progress, they chose “Pages” for their recorded debut to introduce their newest addition. 

“Alexa Moster is the newest of member of Honey Butter, [so] we wanted to be sure that people heard her on our very first track,” says Galdes. “Pages is also a catchy, summery song, so we thought it was a fitting way to cap off our summer.”

The summertime anthem aside, Honey Butter has a lot on the  horizon, including an upcoming gig at Evanston SPACE on October 2. “[We] will hopefully be playing every weekend at venues in and around Chicago,” shared Moses. “We [also] have a few more singles set to release in the coming months, along with an EP that will follow shortly after.”

In their own words, “I could write so many pages” on the sweet sounds of Honey Butter’s premiere single, but I think it’s best to let the music speak for itself. You can find “Pages” out now on Spotify and keep up with the band’s Instagram @honeybuttertheband to stay up-to-date on their coming shows and projects. 

Image courtesy of Evan Robinson-Johnson/Original cover art by Zoe Juanitas

Image courtesy of Evan Robinson-Johnson/Original cover art by Zoe Juanitas

Steven Norwalk