Parkland Press

Monday, November 11, 2019

Honey NOLA sound

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by REBEKAH HAWK Special to The Press in Focus

The members of the Honey Island Swamp Band, who hail from New Orleans, found themselves stuck in San Francisco following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

So, they formed a band, dubbed it Honey Island Swamp Band, eventually working their way back in 2007 to New Orleans, where the group gathered local recognition.

The Honey Island Swamp Band, whose music is described as Bayou Americana, performs at 9:30 p.m. July 6 and 6 p.m. July 7 at the Jambalaya Music Festival, Kempton Community and Recreation Center, Kempton, Berks County.

Honey Island includes Aaron Wilkerson, acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals; Chris Mulé, electric guitar, vocals; Sam Price, bass, vocals; Garland Paul, drums, vocals; and Trevor Brooks, Hammond B-3 organ, piano, who joined in 2010.

"We're gonna bring New Orleans to Kempton, Pennsylvania," says Mulé in a recent phone interview.

The band members, who knew each other from having played together in bands in New Orleans, got a gig at John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room along Fillmore Street. Boom Boom Room owner Alex Andreas offered the band a weekly Sunday night gig, which became a favorite of Bay Area roots music fans.

"We tried to make something good come out of something terrible," Mulé says. "And, in my opinion, we succeeded."

Sound engineer Robert Gatley recorded a Honey Island Swamp Band album at the legendary Record Plant studios in Sausalito, where he worked. The seven-song debut, "Honey Island Swamp Band," included Wilkinson and Mulé originals.

The band released its first full-length album, "Wishing Well," and on the basis of the songs "Natural Born Fool," "Till the Money's Gone" and the title track, received the 2009 "Best Blues Album" from OffBeat Magazine, which also the group "Best Emerging Artist" and "Best Roots Rock Artist."

The group received "Best Roots Rock Artist" at the 2011 Big Easy Awards in New Orleans.

"Good To You," released in 2010, features "300 Pounds," "Chocolate Cake" and the title song.

The group has been touring throughout the United States. "It's an honor of love," says Mulé, "because the money's not great but we love what we're doing."

The group's latest album, "Sugar Cane," was produced by John Porter.

"We're excited about our big national release," says Mulé.