The Hula Honeys
Life Just Got Sweeter
- Life Just Got Sweeter is the debut release for The Hula Honeys Ginger Johnson and Robyn Kneubuhl. The Hula Honeys are known primarily for performing the enchanting music from Hawaii’s territorial days, songs that take you back to “Boat Day” and Waikiki’s golden era. Also within their versatile repertoire is everything from traditional Hawaiian ballads to tin pan alley standards, charmingly updated with a light air of contemporary Hawaiian jazz. All are performed with elegance, spirit and aloha.
- Ginger and Robyn are joined by guitarist Jeff Costello and bassist Cliff Collins, who also contributes backing vocals. Costello’s guitar work is deft, timeless and perfectly suited to the genre, his electric solos often taking on the persona of Hawaiian steel guitar. Robyn and Ginger fill out the mix with skillfully played ukuleles.
- Special guest Emma Veary sings her signature song I’ll Weave a Lei of Stars for You in a duet with daughter, Robyn.
- Included among the classics are five original compositionsfun and sassy, insightful and sincere, genuine and true to the artsure to delight!
- Other contributors to Life Just Got Sweeter include Maggie Siegfried, who sings backing vocals on Moon of Manakoora and Goodnight My Love; Maui drummer Jesse Smith provides just the right touch on several numbers with brushed snare and high-hat cymbal; Hana musician and educator, Vinton Castro, lends his Hawaiian steel guitar on Pua Pakalana and Goodnight My Love.
- Wayne Harada of the Honolulu Advertiser says: “A honey of a find…Hawaiian paradise never sounded so good…enchantment is what the Honeys are all about. If you adore Na Leo, Puamana and “Territorial Airwaves,” you’ll embrace the Hula Honeys.”
- Popular Maui writer, educator and radio host Tom Stevens writes: “…sweet, sassy and sophisticated, their sound weds pre-statehood Hawaii party music with hip jazz chords and subtly intricate vocal harmonies. The results are unique, heartfelt and irresistible.”
- For booking and other communication, contact the Hula Honeys at thehulahoneys.com.
“Life Just Got Sweeter” the songs:
- Hula Honeys Hapa Haole Band
(Ginger Johnson & Jeff Costello)
Lively and autobiographical, Ginger and Robyn trade vocal leads with Ginger harmonizing in the chorus. Jeff’s jazzy guitar solo seems to have one foot in Hilo and the other in Chicago. Sweet and sassy!
- Pua Pakalana
Lush and traditional sounding, Robyn remembers and honors her beloved grandmother with this lovely original composition.
- All Pau Now
First recorded in the 1930’s, this is a fun and spirited classic hapa-haole number.
- Hawaiian Paradise
We agree with Wayne Harada: this song never sounded so good. Composed by legendary bandleader Harry Owens, the song summarizes every promotional press release written about Waikiki during the golden era.
- Life Just Got Sweeter
(Ginger Johnson & Robyn Kneubuhl)
Sweet and spicy title track. Ginger says, “Food can be a language of love. This song uses local foods to say, ‘Sweetheart, you’re good enough to eat!’” Recorded live in the studio.
- I’ll Weave a Lei of Stars for You
(R. Alex Anderson & Jack Owens)
A very special duet by Robyn and her famous mother, Emma Veary, singing Emma’s signature song from decades gone by.
(Billy Abrams & Andy Iona Long)
Another Waikiki classic, drenched in golden sands and sunsets. Jeff acknowledges the legendary steel guitarist, Jerry Byrd, in this arrangement.
- My Little Grass Shack
(Bill Cogswell, Tommy Harrison & Johnny Noble)
Using an older arrangement seldom heard these days, the Honeys put their own stamp on this timeless classic.
- Misty Rains and Lehua
(Maddy K. Lam & Kahauanu Lake)
Robyn and Ginger honor two of Hawaii’s music legends with their soft and heartfelt version of this lovely ballad.
- Moon of Manakoora
(Frank Loesser & Alfred Newman)
Images of Dorothy Lamour swimming through a moonlit jungle pool come to mind with this lush and lovely show-tune from the fifties. Rich and full harmonies.
- Out of Nowhere
(Ed Heyman & Johnny Green)
Ginger sings her heart out and adds her tenor ukulele to this oft-performed jazz standard, while Jeff shows off some of his fine jazz styling on the guitar.
- Footsteps in the Sand
Robyn conjures wonderful Pacific imagery in this tug-at-the-heartstrings ballad that could have been written fifty years ago instead of last summer. A tribute to the genre.
- A Royal Hawaiian Sunset
(Ray Anthony, Dan Simpson & Marge Trumbull)
Ginger discovered this exquisite gem on a Gary Aiko record. Love ballads don’t come any sweeter and no title could be more appropriate. Jeff’s solo is captivating, as are Ginger, Robyn and Cliff’s harmonies. Here indeed is the magic of Waikiki at sunset.
- Where the Sea Meets the Shore
Love as a theme continues throughout. Ginger paints a picture of love on the shore with a Hawaiian language bridge just so you won’t forget what shore you’re on.
- Goodnight My Love
(John Marascalco & George Motola)
Jeff brought this song to the Honeys, a rhythm & blues hit from the fifties and a personal favorite. It comes as no surprise he once toured as guitarist with the Platters. With ukuleles and steel guitar, the Honeys make this song their own, capturing the soulful feel of the original while imprinting it with the mark of their homeland.