Embracing Spirit of a Full Album

- Vanessa Franko Press Enterprise Friday October 14, 2011

The opening of the liner notes inside of Soul of the River's debut album says it all — "For pure eargasmic joy and optimum groove, this record is best enjoyed at HIGH VOLUMES."
The self-titled release from the Riverside outfit is a true album, not just a bunch of songs from the jam band, but a coherent collection that takes the listener on the journey of the band since it started, complete with psychedelic album art and demarcations of sides A and B.
"I like the whole album concept and the idea of listening," singer and guitarist Brett Dawson said.
The album will be officially released on Tuesday, the latest step for Dawson, bassist Steve Hansen and drummer Rene Felix, who started playing together in 2002 thanks to jam sessions at friends' parties.
The band's sound mixes jam, funk, folk and power pop, but don't expect 20-minute breakdowns.
"It's a jam band album and there's not a single solo or guitar solo of any kind," Dawson said.
The band started working on the record five years ago, recording song by song with Phil O'Keefe at Sound Sanctuary Studios in Riverside, but often released tracks to fans along the way.
"We needed to have something out there," Dawson said.
One of the songs included in the 15-track set is "B-Side of Honky Tonk Woman," the first demo the band ever recorded, Dawson said.
"Yogurt Live Cultures" is one of those funky jams that the band does so well, with a name inspired by Hansen yelling "Yogurt" at practices.
"We always make up a billion of those funky grooves," Dawson said.
"Catch a Day" was written by Dawson at the beginning of the recording process, when they just needed songs. It turned into a favorite of Hansen and Felix and has stuck around. "Right Right" is a social commentary on the economy inspired by chain stores taking over everything, especially mom and pop coffee shops, the last bastion of independence. The band has already completed a video for the song.
The result is an album that follows the journey of Soul of the River throughout the last five years. And there's more ahead.
"Right when we got done mastering it I wrote the best song I've ever written," Dawson said.
That means there's more music down the pike for Soul of the River fans. The band is hoping to start self-recording its follow-up soon.
"We want to record every song we have," Dawson said. "I think our songs and our recordings are our best foot forward."
Visit www.souloftheriver.com for more information on the band and to hear the music.


Soul Survivors

Rock band takes long road en route to first CD

By George A Paul, Riverside Magazine

Preserverance pays off, and Soul of the River is a prime example. The local rock band took five years to record its impressive full-length debut. But the prolonged delay had more to do with it's members overcoming personal obstacles (legal, financial and residence issues) than a lack of motivation. "It seemed like everything ws against us; it was an uphill battle the whole time" said singer/guitarist Brett Dawson. "If I had any udea how long and tough it would be to put out an album yourself, I probably would've just dona a four song-EP". Yet the results were definetly worth the wait. Among last year's strongest local efforts, the music displays influences from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and Jack Johnson. Breezy Tunes "Sweet as the Sky" and "Rider", an upbeat "Catch a Day" and the topical "Right Right" are standouts.

"Chain stores took over in the '90s, the last bastions of independence were the (locally owned) coffee shops," Dawson said. "Then all these Starbucks came in, and you'd see lines out the doors. It was frustrating because coffee shops were the last ones promoting the local arts."

Originally the group - a regular presence on IE Music venues - had a conga player. "We jammed together at parties," Dawson recalled, "I would play funky guitar and aspiring rappers would get onstage with us; it was a freestyle thing,"

The current line up coalesced in 2006.

Song titles are divided into "A" and "B" sides because Dawson wanted the music to be heard as a whole, like my favorite albums of the late '60s and early '70's."

Another unique element of the CD is it's eye catching artwork, which the front man/freelance graphic designer said was inspired by "(early) psychadelic posters and album covers, particularily by surf artist Bill Ogden".

A distinct jam band vibe envelopes some of their tunes - minus the genre's usual requisite solos.

Dawson, a self professed Deadhead/Phish fan, used to listen to young jam rock acts while attending college in the '90s, but found they couldn't compare to classic artists like Crosby Stills and Nash or Jimi Hendrix. Today, he's discovered more noteworthy practitioners and singles out fellow IE band Groove Session.

Lately Europeans have taken notice of SOTR, which counts a Danish TV program and a German Magazine on it's media exposure list. Soul of the River performs regularly ar Relay for Life events throughout Southern California in conjunction ith the American Cancer Society - an orginization with special meaning for drummer Rene Felix, whose mother died of cancer. "We try and play as many as possible" he said.


Soul of the River

Formed: 2002

Members: Brett Dawson, lead vocals/guitar; Steve Hansen, bass/vocals; Rene Felix, drums/vocals

Hometown: Riverside CA

Discography: "Soul of the River" 2011

honors: Inland Empire Music Awards -Best Roots 2010; Best Classic Rock 2009

favorite places to perform: Lake Alice Trading Co. Back to the Grind

Biggest Opening Gig: Oscar Winner Ryan Bingham, "Crazy Heart"

Website: www.souloftheriver.com


Riverside Magazine April/May 2012



Soul Of The River – SOUL OF THE RIVER:

I first hooked up with this high-energy rockin' band via a song called "Sex In The Morning" they had on their REVERBNATION pages. When I contacted them, they said they weren't quite ready with the final CD, but it's here now, & quite enjoyable. If you're a hardcore jazzer, you'll go elsewhere, but if you need a bit of variety in your musical day, this is a perfect place for a change… I especially enjoyed tracks like "Daylight Honey", which (in part, anyway) reminds me of the songcraft of another of my favorite rockers, Dan Susnara. You get 15 guitar-based rockers that are lots of fun to listen to (over & over again). My personal favorite, actually, turned out to be the 3:51 "As I Sing Here"… great guitar work & th' key ingredient is well-expressed through th' vocals – FUN! I give them a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) rating of 4.96. You can get more information about them on their FB page! Rotcod Zzaj

Improvization Nation Magazine http://rotcodzzaj.com/wordpress/?page_id=3421

Franko's Faves: Soul of the River Releases Debut

This is one of 20 releases that Audio File columnist and local music guru Vanessa Franko has highlighted as the top of the Inland Empire music scene for 2011.
"Soul of the River"
The Riverside jam band released its debut full-length this fall but you won't hear wild 20-minute solos. There's more funk and rock to this worthy outing by the band.


Wasser Prawda Magazine Review of Soul of the River by Soul of the River

Veröffentlicht am Montag, 09. Juli 2012 11:43
Geschrieben von Bluespfaffe
Zugriffe: 162

Als wir hier bei der Wasser-Prawda erstmals über die kalifornische Band Soul of the River berichteten, war das Trio gerade pleite. Jetzt haben sie aber doch endlich ihr Debütalbum veröffentlicht. Und wer entspannten Funkrock mag, sollte den Herren nicht nur ein Ohr leihen.

Wie lange kann man an einem Album arbeiten, ohne dass es schon beim Erscheinen veraltet oder überholt ist? Guns 'n' Roses haben hier mit "Chinese Democracy" wohl den noch lange gültigen Rekord aufgestellt. Aber auch Soul of the River haben mehr als fünf Jahre gebraucht, ehe ihr Debüt fertig wurde. Wenn man die Zeit seit der Bandgründung nimmt, dann hat es bis zum ersten regulären Album sogar zehn Jahre gedauert. Denn schon 2002 bildete sich im kalifornischen Riverside die Band, deren Klang einige mit einem zum Surfer mutierten Eddie Vedder bei einer Strandparty verglichen haben. Weniger irreführend sind Label wie Funkrock oder auch Jamrock für das klassische Trio.

Es sind Lieder wie "Sex in the Morning", die mich schon vor mehr als zwei Jahren packten und die noch heute das Besondere ausmachen: Soul of the River sind eben keine normale Rockband sondern sind ein Trio von Musikern, die sich bei Songwriter-Sessions am Strand gefunden haben und daraus ihre Ideen ziehen. Da wechseln sich punkige Reggaeklänge mit funkigen Bluesrock-Ausflügen und akustischen Balladen irgendwo zwischen Jack Johnson und G Love ab.

Doch wo Johnson für mich immer klingt, als sei er kurz davor nach zuviel Hasch ins Koma zu fallen und seine Songs manchmal so einschläfernd sind wie die Kompositionen von Enya, da ist hier immer noch die Energie von jungen Rockern zu spüren, die sich nicht mit den Schwierigkeiteen des Daseins abfinden wollen.

Persönliche Höhepunkte neben "Sex In The Morning" und dem Opener "Right Right" sind für mich daher auch das treibende "Rider" und das mit seinem peitschenden Drumgroove dahinjagende "The Well". Wer hier statt Jack Johnson eher an The Clash oder meinethalben auch an The Police denkt, hat eher kapiert, warum Soul of the River eine bemerkenswerte Rockband sind.

PS.: Dass das Debüt so lange hat auf sich warten lassen, liegt nicht nur daran, dass die Musiker zwischenzeitlich komplett pleite (und einer von ihnen daher auch obdachlos) war. Bassist Steve Hanson hatte zwischenzeitlich auch wegen Fahrens unter Drogen oder Alkohol eine mehrmonatige Haftstrafe abzusitzen. Gut, dass man jetzt hoffentlich über solchen Blödsinn hinaus ist und statt dessen sich wieder mehr um die Musik kümmert.


Google Translate Translation:

When we here the first time in the water-Pravda reported on the California band Soul of the River, the trio had just broke. But now they have finally released their debut album. And anyone who likes rock radio was relaxed, the men do not lend an ear only.

How long can you work on an album, without it being already outdated at the show or out of date? Guns 'n' Roses have here with "Chinese Democracy" erected the most current record for a long time. But Soul of the River more than five years have used before their debut was ready. If one takes the time since the band's founding, it has until the first regular album as much as ten years in the making. Because back in 2002 was formed in Riverside, California, the band whose sound have some comparison with the mutant surfer Eddie Vedder at a beach party. Less misleading labels such as rock radio or Jamrock for the classic trio.

There are songs like "Sex in the Morning" that grabbed me already more than two years and make this day so special: Soul of the River are just not a normal rock band but are a trio of musicians who in songwriting sessions found at the beach and draw their ideas. Since punk reggae sounds alternate with funky blues-rock and acoustic ballads trips from somewhere between Jack Johnson and G Love.

But where Johnson for me always sounds as if he were about to fall into a coma after too much hash and his songs are soporific at times like the compositions of Enya, there is still no trace of the energy of young rockers who are not want to accept the existence of Schwierigkeiteen.

Personal highlights next to "Sex In The Morning" and the opener "Right Right" For me, therefore, the driving "Rider" and the dahinjagende with his whipping drum groove "The Well". Who here instead of Jack Johnson to The Clash or rather for my sake also thinks The Police, has more savvy, why Soul of the River is a remarkable rock band.

PS:. That has made the debut so long in coming, is not only because the musicians in the meantime completely bankrupt (and hence one of them homeless) was. Bassist Steve Hanson had meanwhile also serve out for driving under the drug or alcohol is a three month jail sentence. Well, hopefully now that you are above such nonsense out again and instead cares more about the music.


Soul of the River IE WEEKLY May 22, 2008 BAND OF THE WEEK

By: Jessica Bell , Kady Bell


MEMBERS: Brett Dawson (vocals/guitar); Steve Hansen (vocals/bass); Rene Felix (vocals/drums).

RECENT RELEASE: Soul of the River Free EP (2006)/Soul of the River (not yet released).

KINDRED SPIRITS: Minutemen, Jack Johnson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones, Sublime, Dispatch, Firehose, Pearl Jam, jamming, real Riverside people making real Riverside music, the Santa Ana River.

WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/souloftheriver

If only session time at Riverside's Sound Sanctuary was lay-away-able, Soul of the River might have already mastered its 16-song self-titled debut, might've already been sharing "pure eargasmic joy" with us 909ers from the depths of the good ol' Santa Ana. It's a magic river, Mama, or at least we gather there' s something in that waterway nourishing the Inland Empire (hence the band's name). Either way, music is a labor of love for this trio and work a labor of affording all the music-making, even if it means driving a jalopy (Hyundai) until all debts are paid and the album's finally made. The business of recording's seriously paycheck expending, so it's a good thing SOTR's not in it for the bread—the whole band just likes to jam.

"We would sit around at parties and the guys would break out guitars, and rap . . . it was improvisational rap, or free styling," singer Brett Dawson says. "Once people got enough alcohol in their systems, they'd start singing, and we'd make up songs on the spot. One of our friends talked us into rehearsing regularly—a new concept to us—and it kind of took off from that."

So SOTR's been called "funky rock" or "just a jam band" since forming in 2002, but, really, they're all about soul—and a little improvisation, termed "musical ESP." It's as "if Jack Johnson wrote songs and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played them, with Eddie Vedder singing, except I'm not that good," Dawson says. True, songs like "Sweet as the Sky" and "We've Gone Crazy" remind us of a Pearl Jam beach party, if Vedder turned surfer-bro (brohan?), that is, but we'd nip the Curious George affiliation in the bubbly-toe.

Nearly a year's passed during SOTR's endless save/record/save process, garnering sufficient material (including jams about real Riverside people) for a double-disc—but one's proved trouble enough. At this point only money-will-tell when the unusually long debut will, well, debut. Luckily, for those 909ers who need the "eargasmic joy" now, freebie samplers (a five-song-EP released in 2006) can be easily collected by show or mail and downloaded on just about every music networking-site (ILike, Soundclick, Facebook, you name it).

Meanwhile we await the newest results of the Wash (doesn't anyone call the Santa Ana that, anymore?) and hope bread floats to the soul of Riverside—you know, to feed the jam.

–Jessica and Kady Bell

Soul of the River will be performing at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life show at La Sierra High School, Riverside, May 31. Donation fee $10

Group Traces its Roots to Party Jams

BAND PROFILE: Soul of the River

By VANESSA FRANKO The Press-Enterprise

Who: Brett Dawson, vocals and guitar; Steve Hansen, bass; and Rene Felix, drums.

From: Riverside

Formed: 2002

Sounds like: Fans of bands including Jimmie's Chicken Shack, the Black Keys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers can dig these guys. Throw in a touch of jam band-ness (in a Jack Johnson way, not in a bad way), and there you have it. Listen to "BSide to Honky Tonk Woman," and be sure to check out "We've Gone Crazy" -- it includes a lyric about Wheat Thins.

Soul of the River is made up of, from left, Steve Hansen, bass; Brett Dawson, guitar and vocals; and Rene Felix, drums. (Special to The Press-Enterprise)

Releases: A full-length album is coming in 2008.

Sample the music: www.myspace.com/souloftheriver

Web site: www.souloftheriver.com

Riverside's Soul of the River has its roots in parties, which makes sense when you hear the groove-laden rock sound of the band.

"We would always jam -- just goof around at parties and stuff," said singer-guitarist Brett Dawson.

Sitting around the fire, the friends would just play songs and try to get everybody to join in. Those impromptu jams turned into Soul of the River.

The band has been working on its full-length album at Sound Sanctuary Recording Studio in Riverside.

Dawson said the plan is to have 16 tracks when it's finished. The band has been saving up money and recording a couple of songs at a time.

Whenever the band finishes some songs, it will put together a CD to hand out for free at shows and pretty much wherever it goes.

"Most of the songs I think I just write on my own -- a bare-bones sort of thing," Dawson said.

The band then works it out in practice.

"We're really, really good at jamming," he said, quickly adding that Soul of the River is not the typical jam band.

"It's more like if a Beastie Boys DJ were to play a set and go from song to song," he said. "There aren't 15-minute guitar solos."

Reach Vanessa Franko at 951-368-9575, at vfranko@PE.com or www.myspace.com/Audio_File

Posted by Vanessa Franko at 9:28 AM, November 21

August 8, 2006 Louisville Music News

Soulful. And Funky. And Rockin'.

Soul Of The River (Independent)

Soul Of The River

By Leslie Ritchie

"Oh to think Mr. McDoodle / What will happen if there's no music for your noodle? / Don't you fret, the funky rock grooves I will deliver / I will bring forth, The Soul Of the River."

Formed in 2002 in Southern California, these funk rockers create one unusual sound that will grab your attention in a second. The band consists of three effective guys: Brett Dawson, the man who brings the melodic vocals and guitar playing to this single. Rene Felix is the drummer, while Steve Hansen rocks out on bass.

This self-titled release has three very upbeat, blood-pumping tunes, so the music scene can get prepared for their upcoming album. The first song, "B-side to the Honky Tonk Woman," put a smile on my face. It's a different sound that cannot be explained. The sound is one of a kind, that could make everyone from hard rockers to country fans rock out and get down. "Daylight Honey" would have to be the most outstanding song listened to. It's not your everyday love song, with the tune's higher beat and the more passionate lyrics. "They Just Don't Get It," the last track on the CD, is a little different then the others, reminding me of an upbeat remix of a television theme song. Soul of the River has created an unusual blend of songs that will immediately grab the attention of all listeners. The music on this CD is highly addicting and recommended, because of the different sound and passion throughout the CD. You can listen to the funky grooves of Soul Of the River online at http://www.myspace.com/souloftheriver. http://www.louisvillemusicnews.net/webmanager/index.php?WEB_CAT_ID=49&storyid=3929

Juniors Cave Magazine

Interview with Brett Dawson of Soul of the River

By: Isaac J. Davis Jr., BGS, MBA 9/18/2009

Get ready to be blown away by a Jam band that can bring the funk. Soul of The River is making a big splash on the music scene with their unique sound that fans are taking notice of these days. For those fans who want to dive into something new and refreshing, then the music of Soul of The River is the perfect place to start. Brett Dawson of Soul of The River recently spoke to our Webzine about the band's music and how the sound he always wanted for the band was finally created with addition of a new member. Check it out!

Isaac: What's the name of your band? What's the origin of that name? Have you changed the band's name before?

Brett: We're from Riverside CA, so we chose the name to mean we sing the songs from the Soul of Riverside.

Isaac: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

Brett: Funky Rock Grooves. Sort of like if Jack Johnson wrote songs for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Eddie Vedder as the singer. We also fall under the Jam Band, groove rock or surf music categories. We're proud that we have a sound all our own.

Isaac: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

Brett: Steve and I have known each other since high school. He used to play drums and we would jam out on funk grooves at parties, but we never got anything seriously going until this band; we were too flaky. We met Rene through just hanging out, and when Jeff quit the band we had a couple of other drummers. It took us a while to convince Rene that he needed to be our drummer. Once we got him, he gave us our definite original sound. We've been this lineup since 2006.

Isaac: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

Brett: Steve and I used to jam funk grooves at parties, or we would break out guitars when hanging out with friends around a fire pit and I would play funk grooves while the rest of the guys would freestyle rap, or freestyle sing. We weren't structured enough to regularly meet to start a band. I had been writing songs, and Jeff our original drummer hung out during one of these firepit sessions and heard us, and was like "WE HAVE to start a band!" He was the responsible guy that made us show up two or three times a week for regular rehearsals. Jeff gave us the structure or direction we needed to become a band.

Isaac: Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?

Brett: No we finally are releasing our first full length album, which has been three years in the making hopefully in a month or so. We are talking to a couple of labels, but who knows.

Isaac: What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever's available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/color preference?

Brett: Until recently all of our equipment was bottom line, broken beat the hell up, barely staying together. Rene would have metal brackets, screws, tin foil, just holding his drums together. Our equipment looked ridiculous. Recently, we've gotten better equipment, so instead of having totally ghetto equipment, now it's just low income ghetto equipment. Nothing we have is nice or expensive, so we're not picky about brand names. We'll take what we can get.

Isaac: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

Brett: All over Southern California. You name it. My favorites are wherever the people are cool, and the sound system is good. I like the Ocean Beach area in San Diego a lot, maybe Dreamstreet. One of our first shows we played a scary dive in San Bernardino, and in the middle of our set some skinheads came in all bloody with tire irons looking for a fight. That was probably the worst place we've played.

Isaac: Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?

Brett: We play mostly originals, our set changes constantly. We make set lists but rarely stick to them, we just yell out what we want to play or adjust to the vibe of the crowd. Some covers we do are "Express Yourself" by Charles Wright, "Welcome Back" by John Sebastian, "Use Me" by Bill Withers, "Me and My Uncle" by the Grateful Dead, some Jack Johnson and Bob Marley. The covers we really want to play are always some unknown great song, so it would be pointless because people would think it's an original.

Isaac: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

Brett: I write most of the songs and bring it to the band and it develops from there into its own thing. Some songs or sections come out of jams with Rene or both of them. "Sex in the Morning" was that way.

Isaac: Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

Brett: I like to kind of freestyle with a guitar and kind of jam out on my own and eventually you come upon something good. Record that Idea and try to make something out of it. We do that with the band also, jam on a groove and we'll all chime in singing musical ideas while jamming and if it's good, grab the tape recorder. When I get a really good idea, I'll pine away working on it for a few weeks until it's done, then bring it to the band with just nonsensical lyrics. Then we'll get it down, start performing it, and a year later right before we go to the studio to record it, I'll finally stop procrastinating, and write real lyrics to it.

Isaac: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?

Brett: We used to rehearse on regular days, but Steve's schedule has become kind of jacked, so now we try to find a time we can all meet around it. It's pretty chill; we jam a lot, work on new stuff, and hang out. We only get real serious when we have a big show coming up. We rehearse in an indoor mini storage now, so that's really surreal.

Isaac: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

Brett: I knew originally how I wanted the band to sound, and we never really got that sound until Rene joined. Our sound has stayed generally the same since we started; we've gotten a lot better.

Isaac: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

Brett: Getting people to shows. Sometimes we bring a ton of people sometimes we play to an empty room. You never know. Trying to get the money together for this album has been a monumental project; it's unbelievable that we're almost done.

Isaac: What's your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?

Brett: Making a living at it would be cool. Even if we're just getting by. Fortune would always be nice; we could care less about fame. Considering we have given away thousands of CDs and all of our downloads are free, plus we surprise the people on our mailing list with free DVDs, live CDs whatever, we're not exactly following what you'd call a great business plan.

Isaac: What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

Brett: Finding people you like to be around is more important that having a virtuoso in the band that's a jackass. Go to open mikes and you'll meet a lot of musicians looking for bands, and you can hear their style before you have to audition them. Do it for the love of music or don't do it at all.

Isaac: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?

Brett: We have all free downloads at www.souloftheriver.com and if you sign the mailing list we'll mail you a free sampler CD. We're also on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter you name it, we're there.

Isaac: Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?

Brett: Yeah we're not going to put any "Thank You's" on the album, because we'll definitely forget someone. Alisa, Mike, Beverly, Nate, Sarah, Dane and Dave and Dave Hansen, Mona, Jeff Moody, Dennis, Corrinne, Randy, Skip, Kevin, Rube, Jason, Joseph, Jake, dude this list could go on forever.

Isaac: Any last words?

Brett: Making listeners slap themselves black and blue out of pure eargasmic joy since your momma was born. Soul of the River.

Inland Empire Weekly 1/4/07

Empire Music

Up to 11

Buy 'em by the sack: hot tasty nuggets of sonic goodness you need to crank up/link to/check out/gawk at, in the IE and beyond….


See what happens when you advertise in the Weekly? The editor finds out about you, clicks up your myspace, and kinda likes you and your funky backbeats, spry guitars and spiritual, er, spiritualness. Any band into Zeppelin and the Minutemen are fine by us (not sure about that Dave Matthews Band name drop on the resume' though). Huge in Louisville! (Louisville?) But why the godawful time slot? Turns out it's the finals for the Best Live Band category at this year's Inland Empire Music Awards, slated for January 26 at the casino Morongo Key Club (look for a big article in a few weeks). Is drinking even allowed at 3 p.m.? www. myspace.com/souloftheriver

Skinnie Magazine 3/07 "You Heard"

Soul of the River: Brett Dawson (vocals/guitar) Steve Hansen (bass/vocals) Rene Felix (drums/ vocals) from Riverside are a honky-tonk Red Hot Chili Peppers (yes that's a good thing). It's music for "Country, Hip Hop (and) Rock listeners alike." They really are what Louisville Music News Review calls "Funk Rockers". They've released one CD. Soul of the River (2006).

Shades of Grey Blog May 20, 2009


Welcome to the music column!

Here, I will be ranting about anything music related… new albums, new bands, concerts, older obscure bands that shouldn't be obscure, and, although I usually don't "do" celebrity gossip, music related rumors and news. Just to give you an idea of what to expect: I like music theory. I like jazz, classic rock, modern rock, jam bands, a bit of country, power pop, alternative rock, and all the fusion spin-off genres (although I try not to lock myself in any sort of boundary, in line with the Pandora philosophy). I really like a clear multicultural influence. I can't stand the High School Musicals or most mainstream rap/hip-hop, except the latter for parties and shindigs and whatnot. Oh, and I don't care for lyrics.

My original plan was to review something not incredibly obscure, but the truth is, with every CD store around closing I have been unable to procure anything of the sort. However, the Internet is filled with people that give their music away for free to gain a fan base. Therefore, most of the stuff today will be things you have never heard of before.

Soul of the River caught my attention by accident. Before the summer last year I followed a series of links and found their Myspace Music page. I listened to one of their more popular songs and immediately fell in love with their sound. I went to their band site to see if I could maybe catch a local show and notice they have a promo - sending out their CDs for free if you join their mailing list. I signed up, left for Israel a few weeks later, and forgot about them. Then, as I was cleaning my room for Pesach, I found an unopened package from them. It takes me a few moments to realize who they are, but I open it up. Five Memorex CD-Rs in disc envelopes with their name scribbled on top, with a note saying, "The inflated Major record label we work for decided to give it the DIY image… It really cost us millions of dollars."

I must say, for a band that hasn't even begun to make it, they have a solid sound, and the multiple CDs let me leave one everywhere, including the car (great driving music). They are clearly heavily influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with songs that surpass some of RHCP's "Stadium Arcadium." While "B-Side to Honky Tonk Woman" and, albeit less so, "As I Sing Here" have the same drive that made RHCP famous, they express that same fooling-around-with-funk sentiment of the Chili Pepper's slower songs in "Sweet as the Sky". Although the talent is there, the band clearly had a limitation on good recording equipment, (which will be a turn-off at first for many) but if you stick through it, it is worth it. And best of all, all of their newest tracks are available for free on souloftheriver.com.

The first track off their album:

"Sweet as the Sky" by Soul of the River

Two other things that have caught my attention recently:

This past week I stumbled on possibly the most peculiar band… ever. MOVITS! is a Swedish Jazz and Hip-hop fusion band. When I first heard them I thought it was one of the most ridiculous things I had ever heard (and still do), but it is so darn catchy that I found myself trying to sing the Swedish lyrics to "Äppelknyckarjazz" in the halls. When I first listened I had almost no idea what was going on and was tempted to chuckle, but you'll see, the music sticks with you. They describe themselves as "Django guitar, windy street swing; music for both art directors and for your mother. Somehow they are able to seamlessly blend the Jazz and big Swing band influences with their (arguably) Hip-hop styled vocals. Even if it's not your style - and I think there are very few that could say it is - in the very least it is an interesting listen.

"Fel Del Av Gården" by MOVITS! (YouTube)

"Äppelknyckarjazz" by MOVITS! (YouTube)

Lastly, Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schrute, beet farmer extraordinaire) collaborated with Rivers Cuomo (frontman of Weezer) on something. For those of you who watch "The Office," Wilson already began to show his musical talents in his rendition of "Take Me Home" (John Denver) with Andy. I am completely unsure of the details and have been trying to locate a recording, so if you have one let me know.

Hopefully I will be churning articles out more often now that junior year is almost over, so stay tuned. Suggestions for reviews and other comments are always appreciated. Enjoy.

- Byron Weiss

IE Weekly

Soul of the River By: Alex Distefano

ZIPCODE: Riverside.

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: The band's original incarnation took shape in 2004. Its current lineup of Rene Felix, Steve Hansen and Brett Dawson has been in effect since '06.

FOR FANS OF: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, Sublime, Lenny Kravitz or Ben Harper.

LATEST SPINS: A full-length album—three years in the making, so you know it's gonna be good—is set to street in either October or November.

ON THE STAGE: The band has played all over, from Back to the Grind and Lake Alice in downtown Riverside, to Shamrocks in Chino Hills.

YOUR TWO CENTS: "We have a funky rock groove sound that is all our own. There are no guitar solos, or solos of any kind, on any of our songs. We have a great vibe and put on a great live show. We're your new favorite band as soon as you give us a listen."

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: These guys don't do it for fame and fortune—the band's love of the music runs neck-and-neck with giving to a darn good cause. Soul of the River participates in the annual "IE Rock for the Cure," a benefit for the American Cancer Society. Plus, consider yourselves unworthy as this outfit was recently feted as the "Best Classic Rock" band during this year's Inland Empire Music Awards.

ON THE WEB: www.souloftheriver.com, www.myspace.com/souloftheriver.

THE IE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE ROCKS BECAUSE: "Everyone involved, the people and the bands are all doing it purely for the love of music. Riverside's not gonna make you famous. There's a strong camaraderie between the bands and the people involved in the scene out here. It's amazing how good the bands are, half of my all-time favorite bands are from here; so many of them have great albums it's crazy. The problem is the average Joe doesn't realize that he/she can see their favorite band they haven't discovered yet for $5 down the street instead of paying $60 and driving into L.A. to see the Foo Fighters. I'm not talking about just us, I mean no matter what kind of music you listen to, there is a band in the IE playing locally that is freakin' awesome and will blow your mind. You just have to find it."


pJun 23, 2010 Wasser-Prawda Magazine Nathan Norgel

Soul of the River - Eddie Vedder bei der Strandparty?

Wir nehmen Hilfe in jeder Form entgegen, schreiben Soul of the River auf ihrer Homepage. Die Band aus dem kalifornischen Riverside meint, sie wären komplett pleite. Ich weiß noch nicht, wie ernst sie das meinen. Denn an ihrer Musik kann es nicht liegen. Die dürfte nicht nur kalifornischen Surfern gefallen. Das Trio, das irgendwann im Juni 2004 aus einer wilden songwriting-session entstand, kann man grob gesagt in die Funkrock/Jam-Band-Schublade einsortieren. Du weißt schon: treibende Basslinien, ein Schlagzeug, dass zwar deutlich vom Rock herkommt, aber gleichzeitig auch treibend einen Schuffle hinlegen kann. Und dazu ein Gitarrist und Sänger, der dem ganzen die emotionale Krone aufsetzt. Live muss diese Band der absolute Hammer sein, wenn man von ihren Studioproduktionen darauf schließen kann.

Wenn ich auch nicht verstehen kann, wieso manche schreibenden Kollegen auf die Idee kommen, sie würden klingen wie Pearl Jam bei einer Strandparty nachdem Eddie Vedder zum Surfer geworden ist. Da fehlt mir ein wenig das Verständnis für die ganze gegenwärtige Surferszene. Anklänge an Jack Johnson kann man in diversen Reggea-Anklängen wohl vernehmen. Doch man könnte sie genauso gut auf den Einfluss von The Police oder auch von The Clash zurückführen. Denn hier ist keine Hippieseligkeit zu spüren in Liedern wie Sweet as the Sky oder Sex In The Morning. Das ist treibende groovende Funkrockmucke vom Feinsten.

Wer Soul of the River helfen will, dem bietet die Band eine ganze Reihe von Hilfsmöglichkeiten an. Das geht vom kostenlosen Verteilen ihrer Songs an Freunde über das Drehen von Videos zu ihren Liedern bis hin zum Nerven von Journalisten und anderen Leuten, die die Gruppe bekannter machen könnten. Auf jeden Fall sollte man sich aber die Zeit nehmen, und sich die 19 Lieder anhören, die sie bislang im Netz stehen haben. Denn die sind es definitiv wert.

Above, Nathan Norgel of the German Wasser-Prawda Magazine wrote a great article about us. It is in German, so I used Google Translations to translate to english so the trasnlation didn't come out perfect, but you get the jist. Here's the link to the actual article in German.


Here... See More's the Google German-English translation:

We welcome assistance in any form, write Soul of the River on their homepage. The band from the Riverside, California says she would be completely broke. I do not know how seriously they mean. Because of their music can not lie there. The Californian will appeal not only surfers. The trio, sometime in June 2004 from a wild song-writing session was created, you can sort, roughly speaking in the radio rock / jam band-drawer. You know: the driving bass lines, drums that although much of rock comes from, but can also lie down for an impulsive Schuffle. And a guitarist and singer, which runs the whole emotional crown. Live this band must be absolutely outrageous when you can close out their studio productions.

If I can not understand why some writing colleagues come up with the idea, they would sound like Pearl Jam at a beach party after Eddie Vedder has become the surfer. Since I lack a little understanding for the whole contemporary surfer scene. Echoes of Jack Johnson is heard in various reggae-echoes well. But they might as well be attributed to the influence of The Police or The Clash. For here no hippie bliss is felt in songs such as Sweet as the Sky or Sex In The Morning. This is driving Mucke grooving funk rock at its finest.

Who wants to help Soul of the River, which the band offers a whole range of ancillary facilities. This is from the free distribution of their songs to friends via the turning of videos for her songs up to the nerves of journalists and other people who could make the group better known. In any case, but you should take the time and listen to the 19 songs they have been available on the web. Because it's definitely worth it.[less]