The California Honeydrops’ are heading to Atomic Cowboy on May 10th in support of their seventh album (and first double album), Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2, is out now via Tubtone Records.
Recorded over the past year and a half, the new album takes its inspiration from the many facets and ever-changing nature of the idea of home—a subject frontman and co-founder Lech Wierzynski thinks a lot about. “Home’s been on my mind since I was a kid,” he says. “I was born in Warsaw, Poland. My parents brought me here as a kid and we moved around a lot. They were always talking about missing where they were from and I was always wondering who I was in that way, whether I was Polish or Amercan or both. I didn’t set out to make an album about that, but these songs just started coming out that way…” Drummer and co-founder Ben Malament mentions that it also grapples with the many changes their longtime home of Oakland, California has undergone in the past decade. “We’ve always been a Bay Area band and the Bay Area has been such a hotbed of change the last 10 years. It’s been interesting for us to see and live in, and it’s affected the way the band works.”
With a “tub full of songs” written by Wierzynski, the band—made up of Wierzynski (lead vocal, trumpet, guitar), Malament (drums, washboard, percussion), Johnny Bones (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Lorenzo Loera(keys, melodica) and Beau Bradbury(bass, percussion)—took to the studio on breaks from touring, collaborating on a multitude of tracks blending a diverse array of styles, in true Honeydrops fashion. On the decision to compile and release them all as a double album, Wierzynski says, “This was a breakthrough year for the band. I wanted something that captured the totality, instead of doing something small. That’s why you’ve got the whole cosmos on the album cover. This is my life. This band has never been for sale. This band has been everything for us. It’s something that we do for the love. I’m proud of that.”
The California Honeydrops got their start busking on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area, where they quickly developed a passionate local following that has continued to grow over the course of nonstop American, European and Australian touring. In addition to Raitt’s Dig In Deep tour, the band has also supported such icons as B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy and Dr. John. They have sold out headline shows at venues across the country and performed at major festivals including Outside Lands, Bluesfest Byron Bay, Monterey Jazz, High Sierra and many more. Their previous record, A River’s Invitation, was released in 2015 with KQED hailing it as “a winning new album,” and The Bluegrass Situation furthering, “The groove is Muscle Shoals deep, singer Lech Wierzynski’s voice is Sam Cooke wide, and saxophonist Johnny Bones bangs heavy on the door of Ben Webster.”