​Band Bio

Well, that's our story...for now. Thanks for visiting!

Zac Lijewski - Viola/Banjo/Vocals


The final addition to the Honey Smugglers,  was fiddle and banjo man Zac Lijewski. Unlike traditional bluegrass fiddlers who play violin, Zac bows a viola (when he isn't picking the banjo) for a deeper tone and unique instrumentation. Much like the way Stephen's vocal harmonies fit on top of Brian's voice, Zac's viola blends with Joe's guitar in a way that was meant to be.  Zac also completed the band's now five part vocal harmony structure by adding the deep baritone part that was previously missing. 

Chuck Fries - Percussion/Vocals


Chuck's unique "conga-kit" was already set up for his set with another group, at the festival where he met the Honey Smugglers, so the guys asked him to sit-in for a tune...and he has been "sitting-in" ever since, adding a contagious dance-ablilty to the group's sound. As the musical veteran of the band, Chuck's many years playing in jazz, salsa, funk, rock and reggae groups has helped the band mix these influences into the Honey Smugglers signature sound. As luck would have it, Chuck had been jamming with a banjo and fiddle player just before meeting the Honey Smugglers, so after learning the bands songs himself, he introduced the guys to...

Stephen Burke - Bass/Vocals


Originally brought on to play banjo, multi-instrumentalist, Stephen Burke, soon became the dedicated upright bass player for the group. His bluegrass bass lines gave the songs more of a full-band sound that the boys were looking for. As sessions at the "honey hole" continued, it was discovered that Stephen's harmony vocals paired beautifully with Brian's lead vocals and Stephen began also adding his own original compositions to the repertoire. With a solid set of music and some online buzz, the trio was invited to play a festival in the Fall of 2014, which is where they met...

Joe Dellaria - Guitar/Vocals


Joe instantly found a connection with Brian's songs and The Honey Smugglers Duet began recording a slew of YouTube videos while frequenting area open mics to hone their sound. Joe, an accomplished electric guitarist in the Rochester music scene, turned Brain's stories into musical journeys, with catchy acoustic guitar licks and solos that captured the emotion that Honey Smugglers songs would soon be known for.  After establishing a solid framework of songs, the duet called upon their childhood friend...

Brian MacDonald - Vocals/Mandolin


The Honey Smugglers origins started when lifelong saxophonist, Brian MacDonald, traded his sax for a mandolin. The transition from woodwind to strings allowed Brian to discover his most powerful instrument, his voice. Now able to sing while playing an instrument, Brian began writing the songs that became the original Honey Smugglers material.  These compositions flowed from Brian, as if they were waiting for years to pour out. Eager to share these songs of love, good times and heartache, Brian recruited long time friend...  

​​                          ​The Honey Smugglers are...

     The Honey Smugglers, from Rochester, NY, describe their music as "folkrock, jamgrass and acoustic Americana...melted in a pot of honey." The five members played their first show as a full band in late 2014 and quickly generated a buzz around the Western NY music scene with their energetic live performances. Their fast pickin', stompin' rhythms and wild improvisations are sure to get a crowd moving it's feet, but its the unique instrumentation and catchy lyrics delivered through powerful harmonies, that makes their shows memorable.   Look for The Honey Smugglers at clubs and festivals around the Northeast in 2016 as they tour in support of their second, full-length studio album, "When the Fun Begun".