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Honeybucket's 'Newgrass' Sound Emerges from Cleveland Heights

The band, including two Cleveland Heights alumni, has music available online and will soon perform in Ohio City

The guys from Honeybucket always cut to the chase when describing their sound.

"Whiskey drinkin', boot stompin' tunes with a dash of sweetness," all three members exclaimed during an interview this week.

In fact, you're liable to see a bottle or two of whiskey sitting on the stage during any of the band's perforamances at venues in Cleveland Heights, Ohio City and elsewhere throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Honeybucket is comprised of Cleveland Heights High School alumni Brendan O'Malley and Abie Klein-Stefanchik and Adam Reifsnyder, who moved to the Cleveland area from Cincinnati a few years ago.

Vocals from all three are heard throughout their seven-song set, The Ohio EP. Klein-Stefanchik plays upright bass and Reifsnyder specializes in acoustic guitar. O'Malley plays a mandolin he found at his father's house under a bed.

Though the "boot-stompin'" bit plays well as a tagline, their sound is a bit more complex than that. The music has a bluegrass feel, but the band members say they're equally influenced by pop and rock. They're fine with labeling it as "newgrass," but don't want to remain in a box.

"We're totally city guys and don't have that mountain background, but (the bluegrass sound) just seemed to fit," Reifsnyder said.

Stream Honeybucket's music by clicking here.

Honeybucket operates without percussion and has no plans to change.

"Trust me, there's plenty of rhythm going on here," O'Malley said.

The band formed shortly after Halloween 2011 when O'Malley met Reifsnyder and began going on the musical "man dates" the two still joke about. O'Malley then brought his longtime friend and former classmate, Klein-Stefanchik, into the fold and the trio quickly began crafting songs upstairs at O'Malley's Cleveland Heights home.

The guys hope to record more music in the coming months, but it's hard to get them off the stage. They'll be one of 48 acts to take one of six stages on Feb. 16 at the Brite Winter Festival in Ohio City.

A day before that, they'll be in Bentleyville performing at the Look About Lodge on the Cleveland Metroparks' South Chagrin Reservation as part of the Fireside Concert Series. With about 40 people expected, Klein-Stefanchik says the guys are more at home at such a small venue than the larger crowds they could perform in front of some day.

Honeybucket isn't exactly anxious for those bigger, out-of-state gigs to come. Until they do, the band is fine presenting its music around Cleveland and debunking some stereotypes along the way.

"People do hear bluegrass and they do have this stereotype about it, but I think when they hear the music it's certainly not what that stereotype is," Klein-Stefanchik said.

"We borrow from all different kinds of genres and have backgrounds that support that," O'Malley added.

Visit Honeybucket's Facebook page by clicking here, and check out more videos on the band's YouTube page.

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