The Blue Stones

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With a rousing blues-rock approach that touches on both classic rock and sleek modern alt-rock, Canadian guitar and drums duo the Blue Stones cut their teeth around their native Ontario in the early 2010s before finding a wider audience with 2016′s gritty Black Holes album. Thanks to a handful of high-profile placements, including ESPN’s Monday Night Football, their song, “Rolling with the Punches,” found legs and eventually netted them a deal with industry giant, Entertainment One, who reissued Black Holes in 2018. The duo boosted their studio technique for their next full-length album, 2021′s Hidden Gems.
Friends and collaborators since their high school days in Windsor, Ontario, Tarek Jafar (vocals, guitar) and Justin Tessier (drums, vocals) landed on the minimalist guitar-and-drums format early on, taking inspiration from the classic rock of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, blues icons like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, and more contemporary heroes with a similar set-up like the White Stripes and the Black Keys. They made their official recording debut as the Blue Stones in 2011 with a self-titled EP, followed by two years of touring the regional club circuit around Ontario. They followed up in 2013 with their first full-length release, How’s That Sound, and hit the road again, this time across Canada and border markets like their riverfront neighbor, Detroit, supporting high-profile acts like Fitz and the Tantrums, the Stone Foxes, and Justin Nozuka. Working with producer Ian Blurton, the Blue Stones returned to the studio to record their second album, taking a rawer approach on 2016′s gritty Black Holes. The album’s lead single, “Rolling with the Punches,” found some key placements in television shows like Suits, Shameless, and Monday Night Football, bringing them to a much wider audience. At the beginning of 2018, the band signed a deal with Entertainment One who gave Black Holes a worldwide re-release later that year. In 2020, the group released The Blue Stones Live on Display, a limited edition EP that featured four live tracks as well as the original studio versions of the same tunes. The duo went into the studio with producer Paul Meany to record 2021′s Hidden Gems, a set that mixed arena-sized rock riffs with their bluesy influences. ~ Timothy Monger