The California Honeydrops
With special guest Shaun Kirk supporting in Melbourne.
Bluesfest Touring is proud to present The California Honeydrops who after playing several stomping Bluesfest sets over the past number of years, are taking to the road to entertain fans across Australia. The Bay Area ensemble has a unique brand of Bluesy, Brass-y, New Orleans Jazz which employs a huge range of instrumentation and layering, sure to set stages and audiences alight in Melbourne next April.
This year, The California Honeydrops are celebrating their 10th year together with the release of their seventh studio album and first ever double album, ‘Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2’. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, Funk, Southern Soul, Delta Blues, and New Orleans second-line; the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows. In 2017 the Honeydrops were honoured to support Bonnie Raitt on her Brisbane show—and in the past have been privileged to support the likes of B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy, and Dr John. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.
The Honeydrops have come a long way since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in an Oakland subway station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California. With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards, and Beau Bradbury on bass, they’ve built a powerful full-band sound to support Wierzynski’s vocals. More like parties than traditional concerts, their shows feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don’t make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”
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