Good for the Sol

Irie Sol’s second album takes a raw approach to their dancetastic sound

Aryn Widule, photos by Frank H. Robinson

BACK ALLEY IRIE SOL. Founded in 2004, the band’s revolving lineup mixes together aspects of reggae, hip-hop, jazz, blues, ska, infinity, and beyond.
 
BACK ALLEY IRIE SOL. Founded in 2004, the band’s revolving lineup mixes together aspects of reggae, hip-hop, jazz, blues, ska, infinity, and beyond.

If you’ve lived in Eau Claire over the last seven years, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve either heard of, witnessed, listened to, or played in Irie Sol. Eau Claire’s very own reggaejazzohiphoppaska band is releasing its second album. Known for energetic and instrument-filled live shows, Irie Sol has consistently blended aspects of reggae, hip-hop, jazz, blues, and ska, incorporating the musical talents and inputs of literally dozens of members since it was founded in 2004. 

When the group plays their set for the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, they will have a myriad of guest performers. In addition to the Eau Claire, Madison, and Twin Cities natives that comprise the band, the show will include Omare and Babatunde Thomas (flying in from Alabama and Massachusetts, respectively) along with a vocalist from the UK. Guest performers are a staple of their sound. Over the years the invitation for folks to come onstage has not only brought in permanent members to the band, but helped stir the goulash of Irie’s sound, creating a unique, explosive, and unforgettable sound that the group hopes to capture in its latest offering.

Irie Sol: Live In Nashville, was recorded in a city that’s (not so much) known for its reggae/funk music roots, at Chris Mara’s newly opened studio, “Welcome to 1979.” Joel Pace, one of the core members of the band and an English professor at UWEC, was contacted by Mara with an idea. 

“He had this idea that people wanted to hear the roughness of the music again. Today everything can be post-produced to perfection. It can be auto-tuned and made flawless. Chris wanted to open a studio that would record a solid take. No overdubs, no separate tracks. When we went down to Nashville he let us rehearse as much as we wanted to beforehand, but once the tape started, that was it,” Pace says.

Press and hold the up/down arrows to scroll.