Gainesville's 3rd Stone releases first album

Gainesville's 3rd Stone performs a CD-release show on Saturday at Common Grounds.

Special to the Sun
Published: Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.

It's been a long time coming for 3rd Stone's first full-length album, but on Saturday at Common Grounds they'll be releasing it to the public with a live show to back it up.

During the last few years, the band has been playing gigs at various venues and making their way into festivals like the Real Big Deal, Farm To Family and, most recently, The Bear Creek Music Festival at the Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak. Now that the album is out, they'll have more ammunition to fire at Gainesville's music community and a real product to help spread the word.

The self-titled album, which contains a nice, neat 10 songs, spans the typical range for the band, blues, soul, funk and reggae, with frequent mixes of any of those two genres. What really stands out from the opening track, "Give Me Hope," is the undeniable rhythmic prowess of the group. For a band featuring two fantastic guitar players in Wester Joseph and Anthony Kavouklis, all the musical focus is on the rhythm, which shows me they have a good sense that jams usually don't translate well to the recording studio. I was expecting a little more solo work, truthfully, to be bombarded with guitar solos and it didn't come to pass, which allowed me to dig in to the astounding bass and drum work.

With guitars present but not overpowering, the textured percussion really shines on the record, especially on tracks like "Guerra Guerra." Jose Rosado's hand percussion can sometimes get drowned out by all the electric instruments during live shows, but on the recordings you can hear him clearly and he really brings out all the subtleties of 3rd Stone's Caribbean influences.

Overall, I would like to see 3rd Stone break out of the reggae mold a little bit, mainly because I feel like they get trapped in generic territory. Their chops for the art form are superb, but to me the band has more originality when they're exploring more bluesy, funky personalities, exemplified by the track "Testify." Testify features an infectious, Steve Cropper-like guitar rhythm, vocals in choral gospel delivery and of course, driving percussion and bass. It's the best song on the record, both musically and lyrically.

If the band continues to try and innovate in areas outside of reggae they certainly have the musical talent to make a strong push forward. Reggae, like the blues, is a difficult art form to revolutionize or make original because of the ancestry of the music. After a while, even the most-successful blues guitar player is handicapped if he can't break from a basic shuffle, and even the most-talented reggae band is a slave to upstrokes and a one-drop. I know 3rd Stone won't become that band, because they are more forwarding thinking and innovative than that. And I know this band has a bright future ahead in this town. Doors open Saturday at 9 p.m.

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If you're interested in seeing a one man band, check out the Matt Kurtz One at the Atlantic on Saturday night with Jumpers (members of Grab--- Charlestons) and Matt Brink of the Gainesville shoegazer band Averkiou.

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Also, Michael Claytor and His Friends will be playing Common Grounds on Saturday with The Footlights and Wait Wait, which are back after a six month hiatus. Claytor and his band are famous for their Wednesday-night performances at Flaco's Bakery.

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Last but not least, check out a punk-rock show at 1982 Bar on Friday night with Anchor Arms, one of the leaders of the punk scene with Ornate Escape, Watson and Douglas Shields and the X-Factor. Lots of bands to check out in this show so get there early.

Contact Dante Lima at

Gainesville's 3rd Stone performs a CD-release show on Saturday at Common Grounds.

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