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The Honey Brothers: No “Entourage” Baggage Required / Free MP3

The New Now

When a TV or film star spends some time moonlighting in a rock band, often it's done with a lot baggage attached. And that baggage can be a catch-22 of sorts. Of course, it might help the band receive more notice than other new acts without a celebrity, but sometimes the band member's celebrity status overshadows the music. Some fans have a hard time separating the actor's on-screen persona from the musician, and sometimes, those uber-talented individuals can get annoyed and throw a hissy fit if they perceive that an interviewer isn't respecting them as a serious musicians. Remember Billy Bob Thornton's recent blow up? If the actor/musician type has enough talent to simply transcend the baggage, they can avoid such problems. Zooey Deschanel does a good job of this in She & Him. I think Adrian Grenier also does an admirable job playing drums in the New York-based new-wave folk combo known as the Honey Brothers.

In the band, Grenier performs under the pseudonym Honey DuContra, but that can't hide the fact that he's best known as Vincent Chase in the hit HBO series Entourage. Just in case anyone gets the wrong idea, Grenier has gone to great pains to point out that his stint with the band isn't some sort of quick cash-in attempt. "The Honey Brothers and I have been brothers well before my success on Entourage, so it's not as if I just decided to start doing rock 'n' roll one day," he told the New York Post's Maxine Shen. "I've always been playing."

Strangely, Grenier isn't the only Honey Brothers-Entourage connection. The band's ukulele player/keyboardist shares the name Ari Gold with the Entourage character, who is portrayed wonderfully on the show by Jeremy Pevin. Like Grenier, the Honey Brothers' Ari Gold also has some notoriety apart from the band. He's an award-winning filmmaker, whose debut feature Adventures Of Power, screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

All the aforementioned information is good to know, but it might be best to metaphorically stick it in your back pocket and enjoy the Honey Brothers for what they are--a fun-loving, sweet-sounding melodic rock act that gives nods to their influences without sounding like a copycat act. The Honey Brothers aren't trying to change the world, just to make it a more enjoyable place. The band came together shortly after that horrendous day in our history known as 9/11. "It was a time when people sought comfort and healing with their friends," banjoist, guitarist and second ukulele player Andrew Vladeck told the Philadelphia Daily News' Johnathan Takiff. "We'd get together and make dinner, drink booze and learn old folk songs. Then we'd wander outside and sing for people on street corners."

Although the Honey Brothers have been making music for close to eight years, that spirit still inhabits the band's sound. The group recently released the Demonstration EP, a follow-up to their 2006 effort Songs For Your Sister. Check out the Talking Heads-influenced title track below. If you like it, right click and select "save as" to add it to your own digital music library. If you really enjoy it, buy the whole EP for your favorite digital music retailer and look for the Honey Brothers on the festival circuit this summer. They'll be at the Wanderlust Festival in Lake Tahoe, California on July 26, All Points West in Jersey City, New Jersey on August 1, the Osheaga Festival in Montreal on Aug. 2, and Bumbershoot in Seattle on Sept. 6. If you can't make it to any of those dates, you can always check out Grenier on Entourage when the show kicks off its sixth season on July 12.



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