In the summer of 2012, Counter Culture added their own sweet Reggae magic to the "One Love, One Heart Reggae Festival" at the Rio Ramaza Marina. The group of talented, young men rounded out the Reggae flavor with their "Dubrock Reggae" and their sexy, casual charm. This year they return as IrieFuse which is actually an evolution cycling them back to their original handle before the band membership shifted to include Joe and Ryan. After their time together as Counter Culture, they discovered they felt more comfortable with the "Irie" state of happiness and joy that their music aims to bring to life.
IrieFuse is schedule to perform on Saturday, Aug. 31st at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the 2013 "One Love, One Heart" festival this year. Approximate should be taken literally due to the past year's variations in anticipated schedules. They will also play as backing band for Ras Indio on Sunday afternoon. IrieFuse comes out as a full band with Ryan Lee (vocals and keyboards), Joe Endoso (lead vocals and guitar) Patrick Dwyer (keyboards), Shawn Brown (new bassist), Scott Bohm (drums) and Taylor Stecker (new lead guitarist).
According to Ryan Lee, the group simply loves to "create music together" and "bring other people together to have a good time." IrieFuse refuses to focus on anything other than good vibes that make the world a better place through joy, harmony, and good music. "Music is one of the best ways to bring people together," Ryan says and they play Reggae because they all "love Reggae ... why else?"
As a band they have faced various minor issues among the group dynamics but they "forgive easily and get on with things." Their skill sets make them inspiring musicians but also interpersonal professionals who don't like to waste time getting hung up on the petty stuff. Joe is "surprisingly well versed in the Beatles, Led Zepplin and a ton of other classic rock." When not performing with IrieFuse he plays solo acoustic gigs and sings classic rock covers. Ryan, along with Shawn, plays in another local Reggae project called Ancient Mystic. Shawn also plays in several other projects, primarily Reggae but has been known to step into funk and rock.
Both Ryan and Pat were classically trained pianists but felt other callings at an early age. At the age of 15, Ryan started playing Metallica on piano and weaved his way into learning whatever drew him including a "gambit of musical styles playing everything from classic piano to contemporary Christian" and a little jazz on the guitar along with listening to and loving Country. Along with his busy music career he also currently leads worship once a week at a church service.
Scott, who grew up in San Rafael and later moved to Novato, began playing drums at the age of 20 and does some studio and for-hire drumming along with performing with IrieFuse. He is also currently studying audio recording and engineering. And Taylor, as one of the most recent additions to the group, "brings his outstanding skill and laid back vibe, shredding like no other." He is also a vet tech and saves animals all day so is loved by Reggae and animal fans all over.
As Reggae genre performers, Ryan feels "the guys respect the Rastafarian philosophy, but none of us are committed Rastafarians. We do, however believe in unity and One Love for all humans regardless of race, religion or identity and embrace, love and accept everyone." This is why their original songs typically focus on love, overcoming obstacles and other positive messages. Their full three hour sets usually include about 75% original numbers with perhaps 25% cover songs. A shorter performance might include only one cover song. The originals are created by the band members building a new song together in Irie collaboration with lyrics often written by Joe or Ryan. Musical arrangement and completion of the work is accomplished through the "Fuse" of "Irie" that each band member brings to the table.
"One Love, One Heart" festival attendees can count on the IrieFuse performance to balance out the Reggae presence with their urban slant on the traditional genre. Their "grooves are influenced by bands such as Sublime, Rebelution, Iration, Tribal Seeds, and of course, the reggae legends Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and more." IrieFuse members range in age (2013) from 22 to 39 years and maintain a fresh approach while respecting the history of Reggae as an art as well as a form of music that promotes unity and love for all peoples. Formed as a musically blessed group of long-time friends and "homegrown in the hills of Marin County, California," the group has "gained local recognition rapidly, packing the local bars and music venues repeatedly."
IrieFuse's debut EP, Sun is Rising, released July 26, 2013 and is now available here. The album includes "I on the Prize," "Sun is Rising," "Midnight," "Search" and "Revive." The vocals are simultaneously stimulating and soothing with instrumentals filled with spirit. Thumbs are being held up to the IrieFuse men as the new release starts out on its journey across the land, reaching Reggae lovers everywhere. Their music can be easily shared on facebook and other social media.
For more information about the "One Love, One Heart Reggae Festival" which takes place annually at the Rio Ramaza Marina, please see the official website here. Each year the festival brings in notable Reggae talents from around the world while also welcoming top California area bands, thereby bringing together an international celebration with a full circle of Reggae styles and performers. Festival music runs approximately Saturday 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. through 1:00-2:00 a.m. and Sunday through midnight. Tickets at the door are $40 day/$70 weekend pass.
The 2013 festival, running Aug. 31st through Sept. 1, boasts headliners such as Glen Washington and Prezident Brown as well as Alika, the amazing female vocalist from Argentina, Danny-I, Army, Junior Toots, Arkaingelle, Reggae Angels, K'Nova, The Servants, King Hopeton out of Jamaica, Blakk-I, Jah Thunder Wisdom, Ras Indio, Junior X, and Misael with Latin Reggae from Puerto Rico. ValuFa, a very young Polynesian family band from Oakland, along with Sacramento's much loved Arden Park Roots, Lake Tahoe's Keyser Soze with an amazing full instrument Ska band, Abja from St. Croix and now hailing locally from Grass Valley, United District, Lusica Luvulo, Grace Taholo and, of course, IrieFuse will make the event an Irie-futable success of Reggae magic at work.