Album Reviews

The California Honeydrops

A River's Invitation

Artist:     The California Honeydrops

Album:     A River's Invitation

Label:     Tubtone

Release Date:     09/01/2015

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Starting out busking on Bay Area streets, this quintet (trumpet, guitar, keyboards, trombone, bass, percussion and vocals among them) delivers catchy, jazzy feel-good music normally associated with New Orleans and funk. The guys have thrown in good doses of R&B and blues, but this is music to dance and move to.

Although most of the songs were penned by lead vocalist Lech Wierzynski, the album title comes from the lead track, a Percy Mayfield song. The boys added a little San Francisco psychedelia to the mix with a dreamy sax-and-percussion intro, but get down to a soulful vibe almost immediately. Wierzynski arrived in the US from Poland early in life, but he sounds like Mayfield’s long-lost, upper-register brother—maybe a little more jazz, a little less blues. “Jolie” marries a New Orleans instrumental background with dreamy ‘60s-era vocals, while the next track, “On a Rainy Day,” has the funky vibe that makes you close your eyes and rock to the rhythm.

The band, which has played both the Blues Cruise and the Jam Cruise, honed their stage act on the streets where people hardly noticed them passing by, but now the California Honeydrops are a destination band.

—Suzanne Cadgène

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