California Honeydrops to play CVIC Hall in Minden Oct. 24

Posted By on October 15, 2014

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Courtesy of the Carson Valley Arts Council

The California Honeydrops don’t just play music — this band throws parties. 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 live shows. They’ve taken the party all over the world: on their nine European tours, to featured slots at such premiere festivals as Monterey Jazz, High Sierra, and Outside Lands, and performances in 2013 supporting B.B. King, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and Allen Toussaint. 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 BART station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. 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.

“When my dad was growing up in communist Poland in the ’40s and ’50s, American music was illegal and, therefore, very cool,” Wierzynkski says in a press release. “He passed the love of that old stuff on to me … everything from Louis Armstrong to Sam Cooke.”

 

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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. Bringing all those influences together with the rest of the band’s diverse experiences into a unified musical vision, the California Honeydrops expect to play parties for a long time.

After studying ethno-musicology at Oberlin College in Ohio, Wierzynski arrived in Oakland in 2004. There, he couldn’t help but expand his musical horizons.

“I started playing a lot of blues and soul music in clubs and touring,” he says. “There is a rich heritage of that music here in the Bay Area, and I was lucky enough to play with a lot of older musicians who taught me what it was all about.”

The Carson Valley Arts Council (CVAC) will feature The California Honeydrops in concert on Friday, October 24, at the CVIC Hall, 1602 Esmeralda, Minden. Doors open at 6pm with the concert starting at 7pm. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door. Students with ID and children are $5. Call 775-782-8207 for information. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cvartscouncil.com. This is the second concert in CVAC’s 2014- 2015 Concert Series.

 

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