In their fourteenth year together, bay-area soul/R&B favorites The California Honeydrops hit the post-lockdown ground running. Tour dates and festivals returned, including the Honeydrops’ first headlining show at Red Rocks, and, much to the delight of the band and fans alike, the group returned to the recording studio to lay down a new full-length album. Today, the Honeydrops are sharing the very first taste of their upcoming release Soft Spot—out October 7th.
“Takin’ My Time” kicks off with a slinky groove that the Honeydrops are known for, having made a career out of their signature blend of Bay Area R&B, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second line. With tasty horn-section interjections dancing around well-timed background vocals, “Takin’ My Time” embodies exactly what guitarist, trumpeter, and lead singer Lech Wierzynkski wanted to channel with the song’s lyrical content—as he describes, “Slow down, erase your social media, smoke some weed, watch the sunset, get out of the rat race.”
The Honeydrops have come a long way since Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Beaullieu 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.
Fans can listen to “Takin’ My Time” now at this link and pre-order or pre-save Soft Spot ahead of its October 7th release right here. This year has also brought the Honeydrops’ return to live music with their first headlining date at Red Rocks as well as performances at festivals across the country including FloydFest, High Sierra, and Burning Man, and now, The California Honeydrops will kick off their nationwide Lil Bit Of Lovin’ Tour in Napa on September 9th. A full list of tour dates can be found below or at cahoneydrops.com.
Soft Spot Tracklist:
Honey and Butter
Gonna Be Alright
Nothing at All
I Miss You Baby, Pt. 1
Takin’ My Time
In Your Arms
Lil Bit of Love
Sneakin’ into Heaven
I Miss You Baby, Pt. 2
More About Soft Spot from Honeydrops drummer Ben Malament: “The first thing many people say to us after watching the band perform on stage is “Man, you all LOVE to play together!” That’s why Soft Spot is such an important album, because we didn’t get to play and hunker down as a full band like this for almost two years! After a few of us recorded the Covers from the Cave album, strictly from home for our quarantined fans, it was a pleasure and privilege to let loose all together in the beautiful Oakland studio, bouncing off each other with creativity, jokes, and sweat, with Thai food and donuts, day after day, night after night. The music on Soft Spot speaks that joy and diligence. Sometimes we recorded when we were hella sick or had pulled back muscles—getting older is tough! Sometimes we recorded on our birthdays and had cake next to the mics. When you get good sounds, you can’t stop! And all the sounds we were getting were good. Really good. And that’s when the recording is easy.
“We continued the Honeydrops album tradition of bringing many special musical guests to bless the studio with their magic. Sousaphones, strings, space echoes, it’s all here. Our engineer, Jacob LaCally’s, aka ‘Cubby's,’ fine ears and maybe finer patience kept the session rolling through the hours. Leon Cotter and Scott Messersmith have become staples of the Honeydrop sound, filling the room with the full band sensation we could lean back on.
We enlisted the Kid Wonder and Oakland native, Oliver Tuttle, with his beautiful energy and ideas and the ‘Ponchatoula Powerhouse,’ Miles Lyons, dropped in from Louisiana to add a whole new low end to our music!
“This album has our unique Honeydrop take on many styles of music, all under a cohesive production style so there’s no confusion. There’s no provin’. Only groovin’. ’Soft Spot’ is a special one. We can’t tell you how happy we are to have made it and to give you these new songs.”
Catch The California Honeydrops On Tour:
Sept. 9 - St. Helena, CA - Charles Krug Winery
Sept. 10 - San Luis Obispo, CA - SLO Gathering
Sept. 11 - Perris, CA - Same Same But Different Festival 2022
Sept. 19 - Buena Vista, CO - Ivy Ballroom at Surf Hotel
Sept. 20 - Crested Butte, CO - Center for the Arts
Sept. 22 - Telluride, CO - Sheridan Opera House
Sept. 24 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up
Oct. 14 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
Oct. 16 - Flagstaff, AZ - Yucca North
Oct. 18 - Durango, CO - Animas City Theatre
Oct. 19 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf
Oct. 21 - Denver, CO - Mission Ballroom
Oct. 22 - Kansas City, MO - Knuckleheads
Oct. 23 - St. Louis, MO - The Big Top
Oct. 25 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club
Oct. 26 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club
Oct. 27 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
Oct. 29 - Indianapolis, IN - HI-FI Annex
Oct. 30 - Ferndale, MI - Magic Bag
Oct. 31 - Kalamazoo, MI - Bell’s Brewery
Nov. 2 - South Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Nov. 3 - Portland, ME - Aura
Nov. 5 - New York, NY - Sony Hall
Nov. 6 - Boston, MA - Royale Boston
Nov. 8 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
Nov. 9 - Washington, DC - Lincoln Theatre
Nov. 11 - Charlottesville, VA - The Jefferson Theater
Nov. 12 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
Nov. 13 - Highlands, NC - Highlands Food and Wine Festival 2022
Jan. 15-22, 2023 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Sandy Beaches Cruise 2023