Fresh off well-received official SXSW showcase appearances, “funked-up soul” act Motenko is thrilled to unveil “Shine Together,” the debut single from their upcoming album. Written and demoed in a single day at the start of the pandemic in 2020, “Shine Together” is crisp, old school soul that aims for nothing short of uplifting your spirits, no matter how low things seem. “This song was a reminder to myself in the midst of that feeling of not knowing what lies ahead, what really matters most is the time spent with loved ones,” bandleader Micah Motenko says, “and the importance of letting go of the vast array of forces beyond my control.” Produced by Micah himself, with co-production from guitarist Cat Clemons III and engineering and mixing from founding T-Bird and the Breaks member Sam Patlove, “Shine Together” is a gorgeous showcase of Motenko’s chops as a band, from the deep in the pocket drumming of James Gwyn and Sam Pankey’s smooth and subtle bass to the interplay of Micah’s keys and Clemons’s guitar.
Motenko was inspired by the glory days of soul groups in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, combining the gritty instrumentation of the Stax sound with the lush horns and backing vocals of Motown. For the latter components, Motenko enlisted the help of Austin Music Award winners for Best Horn Player Elias Haslanger and Andre Hayward, as well as Calexico’s Mike Sailors, while Spice and Uncle Roy of Sir Woman joined for vocal harmonies.
The end result is irresistible neo-soul that recalls the likes of Jamie Lidell with its blend of uplifting melodies and soulful yet modern playing. “I hope it brings the listener some hope,” Motenko says, “and serves as a reminder not to forget the things that truly nourish the soul.”
"Motenko dished funked-up soul, the quartet’s frontman Micah Motenko channeling something of Professor Longhair and Leon Russell with “On Your Level” from last year’s eponymous debut EP." -Austin Chronicle
"Carefully-constructed compositions, head-bobbing grooves, and of course, Micah’s knack for knocking it out of the park with his crystalline vocals" -KUTX
"Motenko excels at a vein of Americana music that combines elements of jazz, pop and soul." -Austin American-Statesman
"He’s slipped into the erotic power of life for yourself, on your own terms, seduced by the here and now. It’s an open invitation to join for anyone else who needs to experience that fiery spark of life again." -Going Left