*It’s no secret the state of Ohio has deep roots in Black music. Icons such as the Ohio Players, Roger Troutman & Zapp, Tracy Chapman, Babyface, The O’Jays, Macy Gray, Lakeside, and The Deele have all made their indelible mark on the genres of funk, R&B and soul.
The city of Akron itself has contributed both the incomparable Howard Hewitt and James Ingram to the canon of R&B legends. But five distinguished gentlemen from the city are determined to cement Akron as the epicenter of a gospel explosion with their effervescent new sound.
Deaken, Lil’ Bull a.k.a. Buttons, Q, Ty Traxx, and Weezie are Half Mile Home. Their individual and collective journeys down the tempestuous highways of the music industry have led them to a predestined intersection of truth, strength, and unshakeable faith.
The nascent incarnation of Half Mile Home began in the church.
“All of us are pastor’s kids,” says producer and keyboardist Ty Traxx and while the Church and Hip-Hop have had a contentious relationship Q is confident that can change, “I know that the audience for it may not be as large. But I know that there is an ear out there for it.”
Interestingly enough, Half Mile Home wasn’t always a Gospel recording group, in fact they initially had a predilection for secular music. After working with Jodeci svengali Devanté Swing in the late 90’s through Solar Records and a stint with Columbia Records in 2000 the guys transitioned from an R&B group to Gospel, with an album entitled The Movement on esteemed Southern stalwart Malaco Records which marked the first step in the direction of their transition. “I would just say it’s God music. Instead of Rhythm & Blues, it’s Rhythm & Light,” says the group’s songwriter Buttons who previously was signed to Raphael Saadiq’s label Pookie Records and a former staff songwriter for Ohio luminary Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
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