Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Interview by The Dedicated Rocker Society

Stone River has been called “The New Southern Rock of the North” by the late mastering engineer George Marino (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith). A band with passion, love and decibels to spare, Stone River crafts their own brand of southern-style rock 'n roll with all the trimmings. 

Formed in 2006, the Toronto-based quintet has played hundreds of shows across Ontario and has gained thousands of fans across Canada, playing in direct support of major acts like The Black Crowes, Tom Wilson, Parlor Mob and Jeff Martin. No strangers to large festivals, Stone River has played Sarnia Bayfest in front of 20,000 people as well as the Barrie New Music Fest, Toronto's Festival of Beer, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, Burlington's Sound of Music Festival, Canada's largest ribfest, Friendship Festival and Queen West Music Fest to name a few. The band is comprised of Jeff Desilets and Darren Flower on guitar, Renan Yildizdogan on lead vocals, Jay Macedo on bass and Sasha Siegel on drums

Their debut LP The Valley of the Butterflies sold over 2000 copies in Germany and the single “Southern Feeling” peaked at #24 on German Rock Radio charts and #17 on Belgium's Radio QUARTZ, charting in the top 20 with acts like Muse, Pearl Jam and John Fogerty. The album received excellent reviews in major publications such as Aardschok, Melodie & Rhythmus, Rocks and Metal Hammer. 

Stone River continues to build their European fan base and enjoyed a packed industry showcase at the prestigious MIDEM Festival in Cannes, January 2012. They also showcased for the top European booking agents and promoters at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany this past September. With Bonham-sized drum sounds, dual guitar leads, three-part harmonies and a talented lead vocalist who really belts it out, Stone River's dynamic live performances pack some serious punch. 

Stone River has just finished recording their second LP entitled Euphoria & Lovesick Blues with Los Angeles based producer and multi-platinum recording artist Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon, Awolnation, Live) and legendary engineer Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, The Tea Party, Alexisonfire) at Jukasa Studios for a winter 2014 release. They opted for an old-school approach, going live off the floor to tape to best capture the fun boogies, acoustic ballads, and foot-stomping hard rock songs that most bands these days could only dream of writing. Get ready for the best rock 'n roll record to come out of Canada in a long time.

The Rocker and I had the chance to ask the guys in Stone River about their new release, 'Euphoria & Lovesick Blues'. The band were kind enough to give us the lowdown about the new album among other things. Read what they shared with us...

Q: What was your approach, as far as musical direction, to the new album, 'Euphoria & Lovesick Blues' compared to what you did on your debut?
"We wanted to make a record that was melodic, dynamic, and felt great from beginning to end, as opposed to our first record which was straight up rock n roll. As a result of that we ended up with a more mellow record that has more of an emphasis on song-writing. It is how we felt at the time and it reflects itself in the lyrics and the dynamics of the songs. Our debut record was recorded in several studios over several months and it was very distracting. We did not want to do that again so we blocked out the studios for 35 days. We did some of the writing, the pre production and the mixing in one shot which allowed us to stay focused. We recorded live off the floor to tape and overdubbed when necessary and tried to keep it as raw as possible."

Q: How long did it take to record? How many songs did you actually write for the new album?
"It took us around 26 or 27 days to record the album and another week or so to mix. We had around 15-16 songs or so that got broken down to 9 at the end."

Q: Are you satisfied with the response you've been getting on the new album so far? 
"The feedback has been great so far. People seem to really enjoy the new album! It’s been a week since the release and many people have not received a copy yet but the early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive."

Q: How would describe your sound? ( We ask this because of the variety of influences We hear like, The Allman Bros., Gov't Mule and even classic Eagles) Who are your musical influences? 
"This is a big question and the list would go on and on! We have always been heavily influenced by the double guitar work of The Allman Bros, Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers and all other great bands of the era but we all love a great song or a great melody at the end of the day! The song has always been the biggest priority. Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, they have all influenced us in some way or another."

Q: Are you getting media support in Canada? As far as radio play, shows and television appearances?
"We have some stations showing us love, but we are only a few weeks in from the release! At the moment, we are trying to focus on our live show and leave public relations and media to our label and our manager. We recently licensed one of our songs to the NHL (National Hockey League) which was great exposure. We are getting some requests for live performances but as you can appreciate, Canada is a big country and for us to fly to Vancouver or Calgary for an interview, it would be a 4-5 hour flight so unfortunately, we have to turn down some stuff as well."

Q: For someone reading about Stone River for the first time, what you say to them to have them check you out? 
"We have always felt that our Music is a celebration and want everybody to join in and celebrate with us, we have an extremely charismatic and passionate group of individuals steering the band which makes for an energetic and timeless live show. We love to play loud, hard and merciless. Come out and we won't disappoint you".
Q: Do you consider yourselves a studio band or a LIVE band? 

"We enjoy both. But we love playing live as it is where things come to life. Having said that we believe it to be paramount that whatever we create in the studio environment must be played,performed and delivered on stage with the same level of passion, skill and confidence. We strive to perform our live shows better than on the record. In the studio we can re track a song if it isn't sounding quite right or re-do a vocal if we want another option but live it's saddle up and you have one shot to deliver the goods. We love the's what we feed off of."

Q: What plans do you have as far as touring goes in 2014? Any chance of doing any shows in America? (Particularly L.A.) 

"We love the States. So much great music. We always wanted to play the Red Rocks festival and Austin City Limits for sure. We are slated thou to start a European tour January 2015. The last record received a huge warm welcome over there and the dates are being confirmed as we speak. There has been some talk about LA for sure in connection to Chris Thorn who produced our record. We would be thrilled to do some opening shows for Blind Melon. In reality the record and word has gotta spread first before we can commit to a major US stint. So we have been working around the clock to make things happen."

Q: In one word, how would you describe your new album, ' Euphoria & Lovesick Blues'? 


Q: Any comments or messages you like to pass along to your fans? 

"To hear the River is to live the River. Live each day as it was your last. Live for truth and beauty. Make your path and journey an extraordinary one. Choose life and love and never stop doing what it is you truly love doing in this life . We can't thank you all enough for the support and love you've shown us."

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