Artist/Band : Honey & Wine

Music Genre : Country

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In order to compose and create music that instills love, family, and enlightenment, COMMUNITY is the backbone to Honey & Wine’s enchanting sound. Inspired by the vast and diverse community of country artists like Little Big Town, Lady A, Miranda Lambert, The Chicks, and many more, Honey & Wine incorporates vivid memories and vibrant communities as frequent motifs in their music. Fans love Honey & Wine and appreciate good country music at its core. Their fans are of all ages from young to old.

When it comes to living life, Missouri is the home of Honey & Wine, as well as one of the birthplaces of country-folk music. Honey & Wine personifies the culture and community that is Missouri – Whether it’s the smell of barbecue cooking in Pleasant Hill on a warm summers evening or flashbacks of simpler times with friends, Rick and Connie embody their talents of descriptive songwriting through inspirations of family and community working and pulling together, helping one another, serving one another, and celebrating life at its fullest…TOGETHER.

The music of Honey & Wine captivates their audience with skilled guitar playing, heartwarming storytelling, and immersive vocals. However, the story behind the band is more intriguing than their charming bluegrass, folk, and country-rock sound. For over 30 years, Rick and Connie each learned music and played in various talented bands of various genres on separate paths. It wasn’t until those paths crossed at a music awards event in 2011 that they later began co-writing at a songwriting seminar where they found that perfect blend of what each brought to the table – creativity and structure. This allowed each to leverage their musical strengths and unlock their individual abilities that collectively gave birth to their style and sound. But such a blend needed a name that perfectly embodied it. After much musing, the name Honey & Wine was ultimately chosen. Honey is natural, sweet, and timeless, while wine has a wonderful flavor and numerous antioxidants that benefit good health. These are also the characteristics and qualities that mark Honey & Wine music.

With Rick on the guitar and Connie on vocals, these two intertwine their individual talents to compose music that is both spiritually awakening and symphonically sophisticated. Combining their long history of musical prowess, these two are a powerful force in country music, and shine a light through their sound to their audiences. You can experience this powerful force and shining light for yourself buy checking out their music!

Rick Kuenzler,

What Musical Genre Do You Feel Best Describes Your Music And How Would You Describe Your Sound?

Honey & Wine music is primarily country ranging from country-bluegrass influences to country-rock.

How Did You Get Your Name? Is There A Story?

The name “Honey & Wine” originated from the characteristics of Honey & Wine. Honey is natural, sweet, and timeless, while wine has a wonderful flavor and numerous antioxidants that are a benefit to good health. These are also the characteristics and qualities that mark Honey & Wine music…timeless and helping people feel good. (As a sidenote, Rick likes the occasional sip of Wild Turkey American HONEY whiskey and Connie likes a good WINE!)

What Are or Have Been Your Musical Influences?

Little Big Town, Lady A, The Chicks, Trick Pony, Miranda Lambert, Johnny & June Carter Cash, Luke Bryan.

What Are You Working On Now? Any Future Collaborations We Can Look Forward To?

Honey & Wine is currently working on a follow-up to their ep “Dreams in a Graveyard.” There are several more Honey & Wine originals that we can’t wait to get into the studio to record, hopefully within the next year or so.

What Is Your Ultimate Goal In The Music Industry? What Is Your Plan Of Action?

Connie & I (Rick) got a later jump in life into country music, both of us are in our 50’s, so we are realistic in the sense that we aren’t looking to be the next “Garth Brooks”. However, we do love songwriting, recording, and performing, and our hopes are that one of more of our songs will catch the attention of current “hot” country musicians that would like to perform them.

What Is Your Favorite Track To Perform Live and Why?

Our favorite track to perform live is “Twin Flames” for various reasons. Number one, the groove is just awesome. We brought in Lester Estelle, Jr. (Kelly Clarkson) to do the drumming because Connie has known the Estelles for years. Also, the song is about Connie’s parents, so it means a lot to her. It means a lot to me (Rick) because I have been a close friend to the family since 2011 now.

What Has Been The Biggest Challenge In Your Career Thus Far?

In a word…COVID…our first ep was set to release in the fall of 2020, then covid hit and torpedoed our release party. For almost a year, there was no playing out live. We did what we could via social media, but we still took the hit for it. Now we are cranking back up and getting out there again.

What’s Your Typical Songwriting Process?

Connie & I (Rick) usually get together and brainstorm a topic. We like the process outlined in the book “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, professor of Berklee College of Music. Some of his students have gone on to win multiple Grammy Awards. We start with object writing/brainstorming, then crafting. Sometimes there is a melody idea from the beginning, sometimes it comes later. Connie & I will often work separately for a while, then come together to get suggestions/ideas from each other and then finalize the songs.

How Has Social Media Influenced Your Career As An Artist?

Social media is redefining how the art/music world does business. Buyers get a lot of their fine musical art online. An artist can either baulk at it or learn to use it to reach existing and potential fans. Never before has an artist had the power to get into a conversation directly with their audience. Social media allows you speak with your followers to find out who they are and share about who you are and the music you are making. Someone can inquire about a song, and in an instant, they can get the back-story and it resonates even deeper with them. And via social media, the eyes and ears in the industry can consider our work on a daily basis. It’s another opportunity to get that “break” music artists are looking for. We can’t and won’t neglect social media.

What Are Some Tracks and Artists Currently On Your Playlist?

Little White Church – Little Big Town; The House that Built Me – Miranda Lambert; Boondocks – Little Big Town; Automatic – Miranda Lambert; American Honey – Lady A; Fishin’ in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Huntin, Fishin, Lovin Every Day – Luke Bryan; Fast as You – Alan Jackson; Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash; On a Mission – Trick Pony; Hell on Heels – Pistol Annies

What Did You Do Before You Started Making Music?

Connie has been involved in music most of her life, from playing praise music at IHOP (International House of Prayer) to her group Airborne. She also served as the founder and president of King Cat Christian Music in the Kansas City area, doing interviews on radio with top Christian artists, and also celebrating musical acheivements annually with the KCCM S.A.L.T. & L.I.G.H.T. Awards. Rick learned to play the guitar at age 8 and performed live at a talent contest as an 8th grader in middle school. Music took a back seat as Rick Joined the Air Force in 1984 until 1991, then took up truck driving. It wasn’t until 2011 that Rick suffered a major injury that effectively ended his driving career. Rick felt led to get heavy into music and was asked to play for several groups, from Christian praise to classic rock, to country. Rick & Connie met at a songwriting seminar and formed Honey & Wine…the rest is history.

Any Advice For Young People (Men or Women) That Want To Succeed In The Music World?

If you really feel that is your calling/direction, then be RESOLUTE about it. It’s going to be tough. I can’t tell you all the stories of artists (some now famous) who were on their last dime or thought “What am I doing” and thought about giving up. It’s a tough road and you need to learn to listen, take advice, all WITHOUT selling out WHO YOU ARE! Be true to yourself, but learn from those around you, especially those who are making their living at music.

What Would You Change In The Music Industry If You Were A Top Music Executive?

Speaking from being in the Country genre, I think I’d take a look into what really is country music. I know things change and music changes, but I do feel there is a bit of “selling out” going on in country music, specifically to pop music. There is an incredible undercurrent of fans wanting that traditional country sound. Some of the songs I’ve submitted to Nashville have been returned with the critique of being “Dated” for simply having that traditional country sound.

How Do You Feel About Originality?

Be true to you. That doesn’t mean you don’t listen to suggestions or critique about your music; but it does mean that you don’t sell yourself out if a producer turns one of your songs into something that isn’t really you. One example for me is our song “Whatever Happened to Your Love”. I wrote it with a heavy Bluegrass influence, but in the studio, the producer made it sound more like pop. It didn’t set well with me and we worked on it. What we came up with was both true to me, yet relevent. Don’t feel you have to conform to what everyone else says to be successful…be you!

Is There Anything Else We Should Know About You Or That You Would Like to Add?

After feeling led back into music in 2011, Rick was also presented the opportunity to become a morning DJ at a local country radio Station, 92.1 The Bullet (www.921news.com). The owner said Rick is a natural at DJ and he works there to this day. Connie bought a building in downtown Pleasant Hill and is in the process of converting it into a music & arts venue called “Vault 126”. The plan is to showcase great talent, both local and national, from the “Honey & Wine Stage”. Both Connie & Rick have rubbed shoulders with some prominent country & Christian artists.

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