Photo © Kevin Berne
Digging deep into the roots of American music, The California Honeydrops embrace the traditions of blues, gospel, Second line New Orleans jazz, and early R&B. With stellar performances of traditional material as well as their own innovative music, The California Honeydrops get people out of their seats and onto the floor, dancing, sweating, and singing along.
Since their formation 4 years ago in the subway stations of Oakland, CA, The California Honeydrops have completed 6 European tours, spread honey on crowds throughout the US, and recorded 2 full length albums of original music, all without the help of a record label or major booking agency. Their secret? An irresistible sound that blends the energy and intimacy of a street performance, undeniable talent and musicianship, and the soul and fervor of a spiritual street parade.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, band leader and front man Lech Wierzynski began playing blues and jazz as a teenager at after-hours jam sessions in Washington D.C. After studying trumpet with Marcus Belgrave (Ray Charles), Lech continued his career after moving to Oakland, honing his craft with some of the biggest names in American music, such as Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, and Jackie Payne, allowing Lech to grow equally as a trumpeter, singer, and guitarist.
The vibrant rhythm section of The California Honeydrops is fueled by the unprecedented energy of saxophonist Johnny Bones (Eddie Palmieri, Nell Carter, Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums), and drummer Ben Malament (Terry Reid, The Marvelettes, The Jelly Roll Souls). Currently touring with The California Honeydrops is Doug Stuart on bass, and Charles Hickox on keys.
See them perform once, and you won’t be surprised why they were voted the SF Bay Area’s “Best Soul/R&B Band”. Nominated for “Best New Artist” by the National Blues Foundation (2009), and recently receiving five East Bay Express Reader’s Poll awards (2011) including “Best Band,” “Best Album,” and “Best Musician.”