Founded over a decade ago, this Oakland, California ensemble; The California Honeydrops defines themselves as a blend of street corner soul, roots, delta blues, Bay Area R&B and New Orleans style. But overarching, their musical blend allows for their ability to get fans to have fun, and dance to catchy, melodic, and original compositions.
Led by the energetic frontman, trumpeter, guitarist and lead vocalist Lech Wierzynski, this five-member ensemble of Ben Malament: drums, washboard, percussion, Johnny Bones: tenor saxophone, clarinet, Lorenzo Loera: keys, melodica, and Beau Bradbury: bass, percussion are a uniquely tight musical unit. Supplementing their live sound, this show had two additional touring members: Andrae Murchison: trombone and Leon Cotter on tenor saxophone.
At times Wierzyhski's vocals have a haunting reminiscent of Van Morrison while maintains is own individuality. Working the crowd, he would cross over the stage on the floor monitors, and reach out to the audience with his arm stretched out, mic in hand, sharing vocals with the front row of fans.
Their instrumental flexibility had keyboardist Lorenzo Loera singing lead and playing bass, as well as a few numbers scaled down to washboard and guitar akin to a 50s style skiffle breakdown set.
To Wierzyhski credit he politely, yet directly addressed the people in front who was a distraction by talking away, to either go to the back of the room or leave. If only we could see this refreshing candor more often when dealing with rude people in the audience.
Whether you can catch them live or not, sure to check out their new release "Call it Home" Volumes 1 & 2 recently released this spring.