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Blues Matters

Blues Matters Review by Rhys Williams (The Point, Cardiff)
The first, surprising, highlight of the evening was support act Stone Soul River. Melodic blues rock with echoes of Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, this powerhouse trio delivered a blinding set of original numbers from their new album, ‘Terra Mama’ along with a searing cover of The James Gang’s ‘Walkaway’. They are a tight unit, with a great sound, good stage presence, and much promise for the future.
Blues Matters, Issue 34: Oct/Nov ’06

Blues Matters

Blues Matters Review by Rhys Williams (Terra Mama)
This debut long player release from Manchester based blues rock troubadours, Stone Soul River, is ‘Terra Mama’ an eclectic psychedelic offering with overtones of Black Crowes, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Opener ‘The Rising’ is an atmospheric wall of slide and sirens that sets the tone for the rest of the album. This moody intro leads into ‘Heavy Stone’, an early highlight, with Black Crowes-esque riff and grungy vocals, both provided by frontman Michael Parker.
The album moves from strength to strength with the blues drenched ‘House Burning Down’ and ‘Tapestries’ allowing the trio to show off their impressive musicianship.
However, it’s not all overdriven guitars turned up to 11, and the more tender moments of the album, notably ‘Ghostwalk’ and ‘Comanche Blues’ showcase the band’s song writing skills and highlight their folksier roots, aka CSNY and The Band.
Tracks also worthy of note are the ambient, ‘Tannhauser Gate’, and the trance-like ‘Dragonfly’ immediately conjuring images of Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced’.
The album closes with the funky duo of ‘Fractured Light’ and ‘The Shape I’m In’. Again, the band really shines through on these heavier bluesy numbers, with a thick and rich sound created behind Parker’s vocals and guitar by solid drummer Carl Meehan and the superb melodic phrasing of bassist Lee Buckle.
This varied collection of original songs should appeal to both blues rock purists and those looking for something new and distinctive. Stone Soul River are a band that know their roots but aren’t afraid to plant something new and watch it grow.
Blues Matters, Issue 34: Oct/Nov ’06

Ronnie Kerrigan

Ronnie Kerrigan Review
Allegedly, the boys from Manchester have been known to cover the odd Trowertastic tune in their set lists. We are credited for being the only audience in living memory the band have played to who actually know what the song is....
Full Rescue Rooms Review »

Chris Cullen, Ramsbottom R&B Partnership

Chris Cullen, Ramsbottom R&B Partnership Review
Recorded at The Shed Studios, Romiley and largely produced by the band, this latest offering from Stone Sole River is a heady mix of scorching guitar, powerful bass and intricate drum fills to create a collection of self penned songs which on initial hearing deceive the listener. On first play you could be forgiven for thinking that this was some unearthed forgotten gem from Wishbone Ash… but wait! Soon the penny drops that whilst there is a strong influence from the hey days of the 70’s super bands, Messrs Parker, Meehan and Walsh have in fact come up with eleven songs which have taken this era as a canvas, but most definitely painted a new and very fresh picture.
Highlights of the album for me are the anthemic Tannhauser Gate ( which, at over 10 minutes long , held me waiting for the next twist and turn, much the same as my first listening of Trespass by Genesis did almost thirty five years ago!) and the excellent Dragonfly. It is probably unfair to single these two tracks out as all the tracks showcase the undoubted talent that is Michael Parker, but without the wonderfully tight rhythm section of Carl Meehan and Jon Walsh, Michael’s silky skills would be diluted. Together they have produced an album of songs which knit together seamlessly ,but each stand up unaided.
Throughout the album there is contrast, feel and shade. None more so than when the wonderful harmonies of Michelle Caddick are employed to once again take you in another direction. You will have gathered by now that I like this album very much and I strongly recommend that you seek it out and play it, very loudly, then log onto the band website and drag your bones along to a gig. Stone Sole River are the real deal!

Toxic Pete

Toxic Pete Review
The older or more mature listener may believe they've been here many years ago - the younger, open minded ears will hear tons of interesting styles and sounds that'll sound brand new. And, that's where the beauty of Stone Sole River lies; in their bold approach to revisiting classic rock sounds and then venturing into hitherto uncharted territory. The overall effect is one of clever juxtaposition and futuristic vision of musical possibility...
Full Terra Mama Review »

Pete Whalley

Review by Pete Whalley
There's a new programme on BBC1 - Life On Mars. No, not an astronomy programme, or a Bowie documentary. It's about a present day cop gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. And that's what listening to Stone Sole River is like.
The album opens with brief psychedelic noodlings a la Floyd before a ponderous three-piece heavy riff number (aptly titled Heavy Stone) kicks in. It's a definite throwback with an almost 21st Century Boy riff. The sound is early seventies when a three piece sounded just that - guitar, bass and drums - each instrument clearly identifiable in the mix.
It's a powerful sound - think Sabbath, Budgie and that generation of heavy rockers. And Stone Sole River have performed with many bands of that era - Blue Oyster Cult, Mountain and Wishbone Ash to name but a few.
Elsewhere, Fallen and Fractured Light add melody of the Greg Lake, Asia genre and Michelle Caddick adds effective backing vocals. Ghostwalk and Dragonfly have a lovely acoustic delivery and Tapestries is a stonking blues rock number. But for the most part it's three-piece rifferama heaven. Tannhauser Gate is the 10 minute centrepiece opus that throws just about every classic rock style into the mix.
Terra Mama is Stone Sole River's debut and covers hard rock, progressive blues, psychedelic folk and everything in between. It's hardly original, but what is anymore? It's the quality that counts. If your preference is living in the past, look no further!

Joe Patrol

Review by Heathen Angel
'Terra Mama' is an album which looks unashamedly back 30 years for its influence and direction. Swathed in blues rock heavy riffing, flashes of prog-rock voyages and frequent forays in to psychedelia, Stone Sole River seem oblivious to the fact that it is the 21st Century but that is not entirely a bad thing. Pick any prominent early to mid-70's rock band and you'll hear them in here somewhere but it is the likes of Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, Rush and Bad Company which are most obvious.
Despite this backwards looking attitude, Stone Sole River are not short of ideas as songs frequently spin off at tangents along a new road as they go along and the band employ some clever variations in tempo and dynamics. With so much to cram in, the majority of the songs on the album clock in at over 5 minutes long with two carrying on to around the 10 minute mark. I suspect only hardened rockers with an appreciation of the excesses and epic nature of 70's prog rock will fully enjoy this album. Granted, there is a surprising amount of melody within many of the arrangements, however this is not background music for housework or a lazy Sunday afternoon.
So for the casual music fan, this album might be a bit of turn off but as I mentioned early, hardened rock fans can probably find plenty to enjoy. 'Tapestries' and 'Heavy Stone' are chest beating midtempo rockers with thick layers of riffing and a suitably growling vocal from singer/guitarist Michael Parker. At the other end of the scale, 'Dragonfly' and 'Fallen' blend together some of led Zeppelin's more mythical compositions with Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland' psychedelia to produce some slow, ethereal wafting tunes. 'Comanche Rules' is pure country rock complete with slide guitar and some honeyed female backing vocals.
'Terre Mama' is by no means a bad album, in fact, it is very good for the most part. For a self-released album the recording and production values are very high and professional and the musicianship can't really be faulted. In summary then; a good rock album but an acquired taste.

Joe Patrol

Review by Joe Patrol
Sounding like U.F.O or Black Sabbath smeared with the blood of a thousand bearded folkies, cardigans flapping in the wind like white flags, this band has made waves right across the stone soul river. From examining the front cover of the CD, you would expect this to be a bunch of wimpy hippies singing about hugging trees, but once you've pressed play it pumps out of your stereo as loud and as fierce as a punked up gopher. And it won't let go! 10/10
Joe Patrol »

Mike Bond

Review by Mike Bond
Listening to TERRA MAMA, the debut album from Stone Sole River, it's safe to say that we're dealing band with a band who have more than a slight leaning towards seventies rock. A good hours worth of wailing guitar solos, howling blues rock vocals, dense riffs and pounding drum beats - Stone Sole River making a sound that lets you smell the incense and see the dry ice on a record that veers between intricate wah wah drenched psychedelia to tightly wound blues rock fury.
Sounding at times like a band blissfully unaware that the last three decades have happened, this is a group who appear to have just woken from a thirty year coma fresh from supporting Led Zeppelin at Knebworth in '74 to blinking at the bright lights of crunk, grime and two step in 2006. It's not to say that Stone Sole River aren't doing things with a certain flair though, after all hold them up against Oasis these days and they look positively cutting edge.
The succinctly titled HEAVY STONE, leaves little to the imagination - a bruising combination of Sabbath-esque guitar riffing and pounding drum beats, surprisingly melodic choruses injecting the real hooks. With lyrics that at times veer into the realms of prog rock ridiculousness, singer Michael Parker growling a line like "how long 'till you've had enough?/vapoured in the cosmic stew", a bizarre mixture or Robert Plant, Ronnie James Dio and Freddy Mercury.
HOUSE BURNING DOWN attempts to cross breed Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and one of Pink Floyd's more languid and psychedelic moments, while FALLEN recalls one of Pearl Jam's gentler acoustic jams. Keeping with the gentle atmospherics, GHOSTWALK trips along with pastoral acoustic fingerpicking and wobbly guitar effects - Michael Parker and Michelle Caddick dueting on a song of casually affecting psychedelic folk. The prog rock direction of TANNHAUSER GATE, finds Stone Sole River throwing around complex shifting time signatures and enough song ideas to fill an entire album, those Rush influences rising to the surface no doubt.
TERRA MAMA is an album it's easy to be impressed musically by, an album that will have you hypnotised by complex guitar passages and intricate psychedelic soundscapes!

Sam Shepherd

Review by Sam Shepherd
Stone Sole River, like all good stoners, draw heavily on the rock sounds of the '70s. So it goes without saying that there are huge riffs aplenty, and that psychedelia spins in and out of songs like a giant tie-dyed Iron Butterfly. There are also solos that would have the average teenager with a mullet and a Maiden t-shirt cutting shapes with a tennis racquet within seconds. This record sounds like you should be hearing it in a squat in sun drenched L.A., in 1974, tripping your head off, and wishing you'd stayed off the brown acid.
This is a very sincere sounding record and there is little doubt that the musicianship is fantastic (the sprawling 10 minute Tannhauser Gate is enough to prove that alone). If you're thinking to yourself, "I'm 13, I've got a mullet, a Maiden T-shirt and a tennis racquet" then get this record - and stay off the brown acid.


Review by Matthew Hirtes
If Queens of the Stone Age pen, as their last album title would suggest, lullabies to paralyze, Bury three-piece Stone Sole River craft soothing songs which would incite slumber in even the most perenially awake of insomniacs. Lead singer and guitarist Michael Parker and drummer Carl Meehan have spent the last couple of years (bassist Jon Walsh is a more recent recruit) supporting the likes of The Blue Oyster Cult, Mountain, and Wishbone Ash. And it shows on this, their debut album with prog rock, psychedelic folk and blues influences to the fore.
It was noted producer Phil Spector who pioneered the wall-of-sound approach to recording. Stone Sole River replicate this technique, but such are the various textures and layers, Parker admits to experimenting with "cymbal harmonics" and even using a set of sound engineer John Slater's keys "as a percussion instrument" in the studio, that it's more of a great Wall of China of sound. No wonder the band recommend listening to the album through headphones.
Michelle Caddick offers excellent backing vocals throughout, although she's virtually dueting with Parker on the epic 'Fallen'. She only adds to the Stone Sole River sonic experience. A case of turn on, tune in and drop out. By the time you make it through to rifftastic closer 'The Shape I'm In', as good an impression of rock majesties TSOOL as you're ever likely to hear, you will be as frazzled and woozy as if you've just necked a mountain of mind-altering drugs. This is music to trip out too. Just don't be having nightmares afterwards.
Gig Wise »

Cheese Press

The Cheesepress Review
Stone Sole River have an excellent live reputation and their debut album 'Terra Mama' should further add to this. SSR's music is a mix of riff heavy rock, prog, psychedelia, acid fried sixties folk and west coast country. In order to pull off this kind of complex and exacting music, SSR need to be quality players and these three most definitely are. Carl's drumming is tight and bloody loud; echoes of John Bonham. Bass player Jon Walsh slots in perfectly with his inventive almost jazz style of playing...
Full Gig Review »
Full CD Review »


Voltcase Review
The strongest part of both recordings are the riffs - non-indulgent widdling, and bordering on sounding like a Celtic Black Sabbath (on one CD, anyway). But then at other times its pure 60's folk, changing style from song to song and CD to CD.
Full Review »

Gigs Unlimited

Gigs Unlimited Review
Stone Sole River is an amazing trio that offers some very refreshing music, chock full of ambiance, evoking the retro yet surprisingly new. Man, this one made me want to break out the florescent posters, the backlight and the bong (not that I would ever do such a thing).

I can't believe that I am reviewing yet another outstanding unsigned band. There is no justice.
Full Review »