The California Honeydrops

The California Honeydrops

From the “it almost goes without saying” category: The best way to judge how good a band sounds live is to hear its live recordings. Those curious about the California Honeydrops, who play Rocky Mount’s Harvester Performance Center on Friday, can check out a very recent document for proof. “Honeydrops Live 2019” is out there, and it’s sounding soulful and groove-laden, with throwback vibes galore.

The six-song collection, available for streaming and purchase, celebrates the California Honeydrops’ 11th year together with recordings from shows at New York City; Portland, Oregon; Fall River, Massachusetts; and Berkeley, California, near its Bay Area home base.

The band formed and developed its act busking around San Francisco and Oakland, working practically every American roots music style into its mix. Frontman Lech Wierzynski is the star, with blue-eyed soul vocals, bluesy guitar playing and trumpet-blasting ability. But it’s a band effort that features Ben Malament’s drumming and washboard; locked-in bass work from Beau Bradbury; and plenty of melodic accompaniment from tenor sax/clarinet man Johnny Bones and keyboardist Lorenzo Loera.

The live recording followed the previous year’s “Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2.” That double-disc’s title track features guest vocals from Bonnie Raitt, for whom the band has opened in recent years.

Go to this story at to read The Roanoke Times October 2017 review of the Honeydrops’ Jefferson Center concert.

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