What: The California Honeydrops

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: The Belfry, 302 E. Main Ave., Sisters

Cost: $25 plus fees

Contact: belfryevents.com

To mangle an old saying, you can’t take the buskers out of The California Honeydrops.

The soul and R&B band’s history is steeped in street performance, ever since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynski, the son of Polish political refugees, and drummer Ben Malament “started busking in an Oakland subway station” about a decade ago, per the band’s website. Even as the now five-piece began playing more traditional venues, it never lost the street-level feel of its early days (as the band’s Facebook bio proudly proclaims, “The California Honeydrops don’t just play music — they throw parties”).

“It taught us how to play for people,” Malament said from Boulder, Colorado, in between gigs on the band’s current tour. The group returns to The Belfry on Tuesday. “You’re right down there with the people, so everyone’s just doing it together. There isn’t a big wall or stage or barrier of separation, and that’s something — we try to bring that even if we’re playing for thousands of people.”

And sometimes, the busking experience pays off in more practical ways.

“We played a show in New York, and the power went out during the first set,” Malament said. “We had horns and a couple (of) drums, marching drums, and our voices and clapping. We just went to the front of the stage and played for the crowd until the power went back on. That’s like a direct result (of busking), so that’s fun. And when we can do that, we’re like yeah, hell yeah. That feels good.”

The band’s energetic performances — not to mention an old-school sound that draws equally from rock, Motown, funk, New Orleans jazz and more — have earned it opening slots for artists such as Allen Toussaint, B.B. King, Dr. John and Buddy Guy. Most recently, the group toured with Bonnie Raitt in 2016 and 2017, which led to her guest appearance on the double album “Call it Home: Vol. 1 & 2,” released this year.

An animated video for the single “Only Home I’ve Ever Known,” directed by Josh Clark, dropped last month. The clip features a character strolling in front of star-filled skies, idyllic nature scenes and a street party.

“The imagery in the song called for something like that rather than another video that shows the band playing and our party vibe,” Malament said. “We had more of an idea that kind of goes with the theme of the album cover (where) you can see the stars and the trees. And it kind of goes with the theme of ‘Call it Home,’ and where is home? This is a big planet, and the universe is — it’s everyone’s home, too. It’s just easier to animate those kind of ideas I think, especially on our budget. We can’t CGI a galaxy or us going around the world or something.”

The song is one of many on the album that showcases a strong New Orleans second-line sound.

“Part of our goal was to make an album that had a lot of different feels and styles of where The Honeydrops come from,” Malament said. “There’s that New Orleans stuff and there’s pretty roots stuff, recording with the washboard and the tub bass on the one mic. There’s a couple (of) R&B tunes that have strings and orchestra. There’s all sorts of stuff on there, so we just wanted to put out an album that had a variety of where we’re coming from.”

That can be hard for even the band’s members to pin down. When Malament met Wierzynski at Oberlin College in Ohio, Wierzynski led a jug band called Jug Free America, Malament said. This sensibility carried over when the duo relocated to Oakland and started The California Honeydrops (the name was inspired by the old-time string band The Tennessee Chocolate Drops).

“When we got to know each other better, we started some groups together. We had a reggae party band; we had a second-line party band; we had this group called The Melodic Prophets that was more jazz and world,” Malament said. “… (Wierzynski) moved to Oakland two years before I did, and then when I got there he was really ready to play, so that’s just how it started. We were both ready. I was gonna be a teacher, but he was like, ‘You should just play music.’ I was like, whatever, that’s never gonna happen.”

Over the next decade, The California Honeydrops graduated from street performance to the festival and touring circuit. As Malament and Wierzynski focused more on the group, they integrated the genres they explored in their other projects.

“It’s just become more synthesized with all the different members,” Malament said.

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