California Honeydrops: 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 Palmiere, Nell Carter, Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums), and drummer Ben Malament (Terry Reid, The Marvelettes, The Jelly Roll Souls). Currently touring with The CA 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 5 East Bay Express Reader’s Poll awards (2011) including “Best Band”, “Best Album”, and “Best Musician”, with a highly anticipated live album due to release in late 2011 and an upcoming East Coast tour, consider The California Honeydrops to be unstoppable!
The Expanders: The Expanders began playing reggae music together in the summer of 2003, and today are one of the most respected and hardest working reggae bands in Southern California. They have come to be known for their vintage “rockers” style of reggae, played in the tradition of classic 1970s Jamaican groups like The Ethiopians, Culture, The Mighty Diamonds, etc. Their music emphasizes three-part vocal harmonies and strong song writing. In addition to performing their own original material and rare Jamaican scorchers, since 2006 The Expanders have been the backing band of choice for legendary Jamaican singers when they come to California to perform, having backed such classic artists as Alton Ellis, The Maytones, The Ethiopians, The Wailing Souls, and many more.