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Shuffle: Honey-Making Soul Singer Wesley Bright Steps Away From His Sweet Center Stage

Ben Willis
Wesley Bright of Akron has been entertaining crowds backed by The Hi Lites and The Honeytones for nearly a decade

Popular Northeast Ohio soul band Wesley Bright and The Honeytones is saying goodbye, for now. The group that's been performing for much of the last decade plays its final show this weekend before taking a long break. 

Thriving on stage and at home
Wesley Bright thrives on the energy of a crowd. He's often dressed in a suit jacket, dancing, smiling and stomping around the stage.

His smooth, soulful voice is backed by about a half dozen musicians. First they were the Hi-Lites. In 2016, Bright joined with The Honeytones. It’s a fitting name for the performer who is also a beekeeper. Bright's business, Akron Honey Company, has been growing in the last couple years. And so has his family. He has three young children and his wife is expecting twins this summer.

"Out there hustling, you miss a lot that's [at home]. I have a young family. They hate when I leave. I'm really excited to just not have to go to rehearsal or cut out of town for tour."

'I'm doing what I'm doing because people are there. I'm going to come back'

Wesley Bright and The Honeytones have two final performances Saturday, Feburary 9, at BLU Jazz+.  Then he plans to spend more time with his family, his business and his music.

The Colemine family
Last year, the band signed with Colemine Records in Loveland, near Cincinnati. They released two singles: "Happiness" and "You Don't Want Me".

"Colemine is like the family label," Bright said. "The relationship we have with them is real special becuase you don't get a record label with people you can trust."

Credit Shane Wynn Photography
Wesley Bright and The Honeytones

Bright says the problem with the success of his band is that he spent too much time performing and hardly any time recording music. 

"With the Hi-Lites, we only released one piece of music. We saw this opportunity at Colemine to flip that around. When you start recording music, you can take that and spew it out to the world using the right channels and get to the right people than we ever could do live."

Bright says the band plans to record at Colemine in May. "We've got some songs that are in the mix, but you just won't see us out like you have."

At home on stage
But he says he won't be able to stay away from the stage forever.

"I've been performing in the most raw way over the last eight years. I've never had a chance to get singing lessons or performing lessons. I'm doing what I'm doing because people are there. I'm going to come back. It's going to happen. But it's not going to be for a while. I mean, that's my home. It's being in front of people."

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.