Canadian roots-reggae band Stone Iris to play Kensington Club
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
Kensington residents will be hosting a taste of reggae and American soul with a northern twist when Stone Iris, a four-member ensemble hailing from Edmonton, Canada, come through town.
Their music is a hybrid of rock, reggae and blues, and they play at the Kensington Club May 17 with Stage 11, Subsurfer and Freaky the Mighty.
Stone Iris is made up of El Niven on lead guitar and vocals, Jeff Burwash on drums, Garret Niven on guitar and vocals, Ryan Ast on bass, and Adam “Juice E.” Jensen on percussion.
The group is currently on a nation-wide tour to promote their newest album “Kicking The Can,” which was released March 26. The album combines a roots-reggae vibe with the traditional soulfulness of American southern rock.
“The tagline we’ve kind of been using for this particular album has been ‘Southern Rock from the True North, Reggae from a Cold Dark Place,’” Burwash said. “The album has a little bit of reggae, a little bit of soul and a little bit of folk. It’s pretty well-rounded in that sense, and we’re pretty excited to be out on the road touring and seeing how people react to it.”
“Kicking The Can” is the band’s eighth recording since first releasing their debut LP “Ezparanza” in 2008. Their EP “Illuminations” was nominated for Rock Recording of the Year at the 2012 Edmonton Music Awards and they’ve been focused on breaking into the United States market over the last two years.
“We first started playing in the States last year,” Burwash said. “We crossed from Vancouver into Washington where we played a few shows in Seattle in July of 2012, and last year we went down the West Coast and played in San Diego at the Griffin.”
While most bands wait until they get back from tour to focus on recording a new album, Stone Iris seems to find their creative inspiration while roughing it out on the road.
“We love touring first and foremost. That’s kind of what keeps us going,” Burwash said. “That’s also a big part of our songwriting creative process. When you’re out on the road, it’s very easy to be inspired by a new surrounding everyday and meeting lots of people.”
They recorded their second album in Louisville, Kentucky at the start of the current tour, and will be putting it out once they return to Canada over the summer.
“This is going to be our second full-length album released in the last six months. We’re doing two full-length releases and 24 new songs this year,” Burwash said. “When we come through the States, usually what we do is a big loop starting down the West Coast then east through the desert and hit up the Southern States. This time we did the opposite and went east and ended up in Louisville for two weeks to record our next album.”
With so many different styles melded together it comes as no surprise that each member of the group usually has some level of input into their music.
“The writing process for us has always been pretty collaborative,” Burwash said. “Usually one or two of the guys will have kind of a riff or an idea and they’ll bring it to the rest of us and we’ll kind of put our flavor on it. And by the end we’ve all had a little bit of input into the direction of the song.”
Kensington Club is located at 4079 Adams Ave. The 21-and-older show is $5, and the first band starts at 8 p.m. For more information call 619-284-2848.