Alternative country from the deep east Finland
Stonehills was formed just like many other bands in Finland. Guys hung out in a bar and decided to start a band. This occurred in the fall 2016 in a small town of Joensuu (Finland). These guys were a die-hard Mötley fan Josa (drums), and his old friend Hans (bass) who he used to play soccer with. Hans’s brother Sam (guitar) had a garage with a hang-out space, where Josa’s drum set and a couple of players would fit perfectly. Years ago, Sam used to play guitar in garage bands with Veli (vocals & guitar), a guitar player as well, but the common hobby had to give away to other hobbies, work and so on. Back in the early days their musical style used to be rock and metal, but now the age started to make it’s marks… Hans, who didn’t have much musical background, except listening rock and roll, and Sam, who had not actually played in years, decided that Hans takes the bass and Sam starts to play the guitar again. The style would be rock, but maybe more bluesy style, like the Rolling Stones. A little bit less would be more this time…
Veli had sold his electric guitar after the metal band projects and bought himself an electro acoustic dreadnought. Veli had always played some country and folk by himself, and now he had started to sing more and more. Veli had listened to a lot of country and americana, such as Cash, Ryan Bingham, Steve Earle, The White Buffalo, The Pines, Shovels & Rope and all the alt-country and americana playlists that had arrived along Spotify. Sam asked if Veli would like to play again. Veli bought a cheap electric guitar and announced that he would sing and play the rhythm guitar.
The band started to play cover songs, and performed at a party, where Veli also played some country covers. From the start, the band had a common goal to start writing their own songs. One day, Hans heard that the band would have a chance to play at a local bar in a poem karaoke event (don’t ask what is that), and the country songs Veli played would fit there, so they started practicing them. A day before the show, Veli had issues with playing only cover songs. He thought that they should have at least one own song. So, he wrote the first Stonehills song ”Saturday Night”. The Band practiced it briefly before the show and played it. The gig wasn’t a mind blower but the band had got a new common thought: they should play country, and Veli’s voice and songwriting capabilities supported that perfectly.
Veli started writing songs with madness, in some days two songs a day. The setlist had to be filled with own songs. Stonehills was formed in January 2017, and the style would be alt-country, because there isn’t more describable style out there which is influenced by country and rock; Cash and The Doors; instrumental rock and a bit of finnish schlager. The first gig with the name Stonehills was in March 2017 with a set of own songs. Stonehills was a quartet until April 2017, when top of the line violinist, Olli, joined the band. From that day on they started to perform as a five-man group.
The beautiful sound of Olli’s violin became the trademark of Stonehills, along with Sam’s weeping guitar, Hans’ zen-like bass playing style, Josa’s furious drumming and Veli’s smooth but razor-sharp voice and a warm acoustic guitar sound. The music became hypnotic, filled with emotion with thoughts about humanity itself and time running through our fingers. From the start, gigging has been the lifeblood of Stonehills. When the show starts, there is always something new to offer and magic in the air. Despite the short period of the band’s existence, Stonehills has played quite a lot in their hometown Joensuu. Now it’s time to get on the road and bring their soulscape to the world.
The debut album, ”Hearts & Aces”, was released on 18th of may 2018 and there is more to come in 2019. Stagelights on your face, that’s how you’re being saved – see you on the road!