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"I hear you're in a band?"

"No, I have a band."

I get that a lot. Maybe most bands are not organized by women? I don't know. Either way, yes, I have a band. I was a solo artist for a few years then a few musicians later, along came Andy and the Honey Shakers were born. Andy and I share some duties, but the majority of the responsibility rests on me as I have set this up as a business, dealing with merch sales tax included!

That all said, it is also my problem if we don't get paid as I book the shows and this summer, we finally had our turn at not getting paid by a venue. Luckily it was not a local venue which, in my opinion, kind of makes it worse. It happened this summer when Andy and I were on tour. I would rather not name the venue publicly so if you are a touring musician going through Colorado, email and I will let you know although it's not that hard to figure out... Anyway, we played there once before and expected the same payout the second time. I actually asked for an increase in payout as we didn't eat there the first time and didn't drink much alcohol (free food and booze were part of the package) so a bump in the guarantee would do us better. I didn't get that increase so then I expected the original payout. At this venue, you provide your own sound as well so, musicians, here's how it went: we provided sound, rocked four sets with some happening while it rained, kept their guests happy, all after lugging our gear around the block and up the stairs. We earned our pay.

Here's where I went wrong... I'm old school or something, and when the bartender handed me the check at the end of our night, I didn't look at it. I trusted that it would be the correct amount as it was the last time. When Andy and I got back to the hotel then to dinner, I took the check out and saw that it was $25 short. Now, when you're only getting paid $200 for four hours of work with sound and your are on the road, that $25 is important. I immediately called the venue and the bartender said there was nothing he could do, that I needed to see the owner in the morning. Andy and I were there first thing and did just that. She said they had dealt with a huge tax bill that year due to musicians not claiming their payouts, so from the time we first played their until that second time, they had reduced their duo pay guarantee to $175; their booking agent failed to let me know this info. She then agreed to honor the $200 and used an app on her phone to pay me as she didn't have her checkbook to write another check (or I could come back on Monday; we we are touring musicians and were leaving that day so that wasn't happening). I saw a payment screenshot on her phone so I thought we were good. Then I handed her back the check, second mistake, and we left; I heard her ripping up the check as we walked out. Long story short, we were not paid. I don't know if she canceled the electronic payment or what, but I never received an email confirmation, and nothing ever showed up my PayPal which is what she said she used. She claimed she would contact her bank and send payment once the bank was sorted out. Nope, no payment. I emailed her very positively and politely, still no payment. She asked for our mailing address, and yet, no payment. I finally sent her an email in the context that clearly she was not going to honor her commitment. I contacted the Better Business Bureau, but they were unable to assist. I have one more direction to look into, but I doubt that will help. Lesson learned the hard way and now I know better. I also know that karma will absolutely take care of this situation as well, but I do wish that I could go back, rack up at $200 tab then walk out without paying...what do you think would happen? Hhhmm.... Oh well, enjoy this sweet picture of Andy and we'll see you soon! <3


Empty Bowls 2019

It's not like we would miss it, but we almost did!!! See you tonight!!!

10,000 Maniacs Part Two

How do I even start? How?!?!? I will say that it was almost a year ago this same time that we rocked the opening slot for Dramarama...maybe we can keep this big show rocking up?!?!?!?!?! To our family and friends, YOU made this show for us!!!! I can't even tell you how much it meant to us four that you were there. Really, so good! Thank you for giving us a shot, Lucky Man!!! Crescent Ballroom, you were a delight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And last but not least, 10,000 Maniacs, thank you. I don't know how it goes with local support so thank you for not saying "no." We will see you again, we hope! XOXO 


Bliss Release at FilmBar, 2

Bliss is now out in the world and we are excited! It's available everywhere online for download iTunesApple MusicAmazon, & CD BabyIf you would like a physical copy, then see our Shop page or join us at a live show!

Thank you to our beautiful family and friends who made our release show at FilmBar the absolute best!!! We heart you big time!!!! Photo below by B Nizz!

Keep The Greasy Side Down

August and September. Some good days and bad days occurred during these months in previous years. This year seems to be the same. So one of the good days is today when we heard from Ryan B. Clark, " Arizona enthusiast and native son...," author and so much more. We don't know Ryan very well, but we've seen him around shows and read his work about other local bands, so we are delighted that he took the time to write about Bliss. Here are his thoughts on the songs of Bliss. It does not hurt my feelings at all that somehow Ryan's article includes Bono and Roger Clyne; I'm totally good with that! ;o) One of my favorite parts, "Andy Borunda is one hell of a guitar player.  I have spent zero time talking about him up until now, but it is tracks 3 and 4 where all of a sudden my ear pounds through my meditations on lyrics and says, “Holy shit!  Andy can play!” Yep, he sure can and he's dazzling on Bliss...dazzling!!! Hearts and stars, friends, hearts and stars!


Bliss Release at FilmBar

Hey, hey!!! We've made this a free show because they're our favorite kind of shows to have so if you are definitely attending, please note that it is limited seating. The bar should be open and snacks should be available...we'll confirm and note it here.

The day's plan is to listen to Side A in the theater, have a sweet intermission, then return to the theater for Side B. Joe Asselin of our recording studio, Switchblade Sound (and kickass bassist of Sanitation Squad), will be spinning the record while we present visual goodness on the big screen!

All the fun buttons, stickers, printed materials, tshirts, vinyl records, and CDs will be on hand with Bob the Beard doing his thang for cash sales and then Andy and I will do our best to handle online sales!

The bar will be open for sales - Yes!

Snacks will be available for sale - Yes!

BONUS: there may be special guests in audience ~ Amanda LubkingBob CorritoreDanny Torgersen, and Pop Narkotic!!!!

Many thank you's and much love for our partner show sponsors!!!

Listening in Wales

We cannot thank Big Stir Records enough for putting our music out there! It has been blast seeing where it is being played! Add to that this happening soon, my mind is blown!!!


Bliss by Mitchell Hillman

Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers

By Mitchell Hillman 

Bliss is Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers eagerly awaited and long overdue third album. Following Yeah Yeah Yeah (2014) and Eyes on the Prize (2016) the band themselves have set the bar amazingly high, but the trifecta has been achieved. It's rare that an Americana act rocks harder than most rock'n'roll acts, but that's why Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers are far from being just any old Americana act. CPHS has cultivated their own sound and invented their own genre: Americana Thrash Pop.

It's a winning combination and a loveable mix that keeps you propelled with a down home, hook heavy vibe at a breakneck speed. It's the Honey Shakers indelible art to be sure and they've run with it--they've grown that genre from their own devices and it still stands true with Bliss, just with a little more edge this time around. On the record Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers are, Andy Borunda on lead guitar, Dante Fiorenza on bass, Ben DeLuca on drums and of course the Desert chanteuse herself Carol Pacey on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, as well as several notable studio guests making this their most accomplished album to date.

It's a brave move opening an album with a title like "If Romance Is Dead Then I Want to Be Dead Too"--I mean this would maybe be expected on an Emo record or a Goth platter--but it's a tough sell for upbeat Americana.  It verges on a Rockabilly punk freak out that will almost certainly have cross genre appeal to the Gothabilly crowd. It's an unusual start to an album called Bliss, but damn does it get the blood pumping, feet stomping and hips shaking. It's a stunning, explosive beginning and really serves to set this album apart from its predecessors. Hot damn.

"Caged Dead Birds" continues in notably darker, more aggressive vein than has been present on their previous efforts and it's clear that on this album Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers are really giving their all toward making this a much more rock'n'roll record. This tune could be put on a compilation of obscure protest rock from the late 1960s and you would be certain it fits there. It's loud, fast and it rules with a caustic lead vocal from Pacey that seems to be delivered without her patented smile.

The first signature single from this album is "Crumb" and it almost knocking the "pop" out of their own equation, underscoring once more how much of a rock'n'roll album this is. It's the tale of a femme fatale feeding a crumb of affection and maybe some adoration to a lover much in need of external validation. It's clearly the protagonist calling the shots here and making use of their lovers every flaw to get exactly what they want or need out of the situation. The setup for the song and the delivery are near works of genius. It's worth noting that the lyrics are entirely gender neutral which may be an Americana first, honestly--this could be sung by a man or a woman without changing a pronoun. I only mention "femme fatale" here because Carol Pacey is one hell of a powerful woman and she works that guile throughout every lyrical moment found here.

"Whisper My Name" is the first ballad to find its way to Bliss, it's a slow burning rocker in the end, but it's definitely on the sultry side. Andy Borunda's power chords charge the song with guitar lightning that keeps it truly exciting throughout. It's a sexy number that emanates from the desert with something that suggests creosote, sage and the smell of Sonoran Rain. Maybe it's the sheer stormy electricity corralled by the rhythm section and Borunda's guitar work that shines in the forefront. The added flourish of Amanda Lubking (Cockswain) on violin is simply icing on the cake and a genius move.

The title track is a bluesy little number, that starts a bit like some Deep South Swamp rock before it really kicks in after a minute and rocks the hell out. "Bliss (The Dead Cat Song)" is the third and last track to have the word "dead" in the title for those who like curious patterns. It's one of the most fascinating song structures the band has ever played with, part bluesy dirge, part pop laden paean, part rock and roll salvo. It's a fascinating tune that promotes repeated listens, because of its perfect peculiarity. It's the shortest track on the album, yet one of the most compelling.

The Violent Femmes "Add It Up" has been a cover in CPHS's set for some time and it's a close companion to their cover of Dramarama's "Anything, Anything" from Eyes On The Prize (2016) in delivery and vision. It certainly aims to maintain the rock ethos that's present on the album and it's a fantastic a cover that they make very much their own. Featuring Danny Torgersen on trumpet, it's a truly unique take that revitalizes a song that's seen endless covers since its 1983 release into the wild. It sounds like an insane studio party and it's a great way to kick off the second half of the album.

Torgersen reappears on "Plan B" with Trumpet in hand, an excellent road song with a locomotive rhythm that rushes in the second side of the album like a hot desert wind, you can taste the wind whipped dust on this one. It's one of the most radio ready tracks here and should be in serious consideration for single status as its hook will stay in your ears for days on end. The lyrics are delightfully self aware urging us all to live in the moment a bit more and refrain my hiding our heads in the sand. It's another rhythm monster that will not allow you to stand or sit still while it plays--it compels you to dance. It's got a life affirming groove that makes you want to be better and everything here coalesces into one manic frenzy.

"I'm Gone (Stupid Clown)" brings us back to Earth with a slow, reflective start and we're treated to harmonica courtesy of Bob Corritore giving this some supremely Western flair, which just goes to show how well this band can blend genres without ever betraying their identity or sound. It's possibly the most introspective tune on the album, but it's also one of the most relatable.  The absolute delight is when Pacey rages through the chorus declaring "When I'm gone, I'm gone!" and your cheering for the protagonist whose had it rough.

There's a feeling "Done" starts with that recalls vintage Stevie Nicks, early Pretenders or any number of luminaries in the rank of strong women delivering flawless vocals of defiance and strength. Pacey taps into something here and its stunning on one of the most minimal arrangements found on the album. There's some inexplicable quality to it that takes your breath away and makes you wait to exhale all at once. It's a shining gem about defining one’s boundaries once and for all. It's also thematically connected to much of the rest of the album which looks toward saying goodbye to a problematic past and moving forward to an uncertain future, which is certainly better than where they've been at the very least.

"Somewhere Beautiful" is the grand finale to this affair, sending Bliss out on an amazing note with Torgersen adding keys and joining in background vocals with Joe Asselin (Sanitation Squad). It's a slow burning number that serves as a complete indictment of a man who only serves himself and makes a life out of selfish interests, upon whom love is completely wasted, while at the same time it is a hopeful look toward the future with someone else living somewhere in beautiful harmony. The near Gospel choir that appears toward the end sends a smile with the shivers and goosebumps as the album truly ends somewhere beautiful, with the keys ringing and the guitar singing. It's a spectacular finale that puts the rest of the album in perspective.

Bliss is very nearly a concept album for the times, a diary of the perspective of a strong woman dealing with life in 2019, saying goodbye to the toxic relations in her life and moving on toward a vision of her own design, fortified by love and a belief in a better world, a better tomorrow. It's a far darker album than the Honey Shakers previous efforts, but it's certainly their best record to date, showing a depth and emotional maturity made possibly by real world conflict and I suspect more than a few "dark nights of the soul." It's brilliant from beginning to end, creating a cohesive sound, with perfect pacing and painting a fascinating picture in sound of life as it is authentically experienced and lived.

Bliss Release

Saturday, September 7

12-2 pm


Phoenix, AZ


10,000 Maniacs

We interrupt our normally scheduled album release to bring you this crazy good news... If you are local, please email for discount tickets!!!

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