If you live in PEI, then ny now you've probably heard of James Phillips and/or Stone River, since they've been featured in articles in the Guardian and the Journal-Pioneer (and maybe the other papers -- I don't know, 'cause I don't read them). But unless you've seen Stone River in concert or heard Royalty and Other Short Stories by James Phillips (written, performed and produced by Phillips), newspaper articles (which are usually pathetically mainstream) don't provide much insight into what's what. This is an attempt to be a bit more real.
Phillips and drummer Carl Cormier met quite by accident during a photo shoot promoting Winwood Studios, where Phillips was recording Royalty. Neither Cormier nor bassist Troy MacArthur had heard any of the music from the sessions, so they had no idea what to expect. And now, they're probably very glad they went for it anyway. Stone River is a tight, talented, unique trio whose few covers are well selected and well performed, and whose originals (currently almost 100% written by Phillips) make you wonder why they aren't signed already. They are also part of a growing number of bands with musical influences that seem like stuff from a jukebox that hasn't been updated for years: Pink Floyd, Rush, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Dire Straits and the Beatles to name very few. Royalty is among the best demos I've ever heard, and Stone River is a terrific live band. See any Stone River show you can, and buy the demo if you want some non-grunge, non-punk, kinda metal and definitely rock music.