Route 116, familiar to many a Valley resident, spans four different counties and connects Springfield, South Hadley, Amherst and other towns. Commuters and college students alike frequently use the highway, and often joining them in their travels are the members of Huckleberry Binge.
Formed in 2010 by Hampshire College freshmen Jonah Simonak (guitar, vocals) and Will Meyer (bass, vocals), Huckleberry Binge (aka Huck) also features Gage Lyons (guitar, vocals) and Jad Quesada-Khoury (drums). Split between headquarters at Hampshire and an apartment shared by Meyer and Lyons in South Hadley, the group is also quite familiar with Route 116, where it has been known to appear frequently, often behind the wheel of a uniquely painted bus.
“We recently invested in a 1993 diesel short bus that can run on vegetable oil,” says Lyons. “It came from the fact that we needed a reliable, easy way to get around to all of our gigs and needed to feel good about it. We feel better about our carbon footprint now, but realize it’s only a first step. Who knew that crusty rockers could have a conscience? Also, the bus has tiger stripes. It’s pretty hard to miss driving through downtown Northampton.”
Cranking out a mix of Americana and folk rock during its live gigs, Huckleberry Binge may describe itself as “crusty,” but the band actually possesses a fair amount of twang, as evidenced by rootsy tracks like “Grain Whiskey” and “County Fair,” available on its self-titled album via www.huckleberrybinge.bandcamp.com.
“When Jonah and [Will] started Huck, the vision was more folk-Americana-driven,” says Lyons. “They wanted to write songs about some of our nation’s unsung heroes and criminals. Sometimes it’s a wall of fuzz, other times it’s an intimate ballad. We’re working on covering all points in between.”
So far, Huck’s output has included a self-titled release and a four-track demo, which features a live track recorded during a performance at Amherst College. According to Lyons, the band plans on working on more material during the upcoming winter months.
“We’ve had various recording sessions that, so far, haven’t resulted in an EP that truly represents us,” he says. “We did a two-day session in Rosendale, N.Y. a couple of weeks ago, but we were out of our element. That said, winter is coming and there will be a lot of time to be trapped inside, pouring over Pro Tools. We’re hoping to revisit some of our folk roots as well, but keep the fuzz. Within the next year, we hope to release a decent EP and full-length album. I’m sure there will be some shows along the way—we’re a little addicted.”•