Mojo Stone – Mojo Stone

Reviewed by:
On 7 January 2016
Last modified:7 January 2016


The debut album from Buffalo, NY's Mojo Stone has been influenced by some wildly random genres, but all comes together into something original, creative and very exciting.

Mojo Stone

Mojo Stone is a three piece rock and roll band from Buffalo, NY who recently released their self-titled debut album.  They cite influences as wide ranging as legendary bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple through to more modern artists like Jeff Buckley and Rival Sons.  Drawing on these influences Mojo Stone aim to provide, “a sonically diverse range of music that takes the listener on a journey through space and time.”

The band was formed by Simon Visco (guitar, vocals, harmonica) and Nick Militello (percussion, mandolin, vocals), with the aim of creating a more blues based project after the hard rock band they played in previously disbanded.  After trying out two other bassists they were joined by Ryan Burow in January 2015.  The album was recorded and self-produced throughout summer 2015 and released in mid-December.  The three members all reference individual influences and incorporate these into a cohesive sound.  Simon is very much based in blues rock and roll, from America in the 50’s and British musicians of the 60’s and 70’s.  Nick has roots in American punk and hardcore, folk and folk-rock, while Ryan draws influences from jazz as well as more contemporary punk and folk punk.  If you think that sounds like an eclectic mix that couldn’t possibly be brought together you probably aren’t alone, but if you don’t mind being proved wrong Mojo Stone is well worth a listen.  Their fusion of musical baggage has created something which references amongst others The Doors, with it’s psychedelic swirls and Visco’s at times uncannily Morrison-esque vocal, especially on Trouble’s Gonna Come, and Wolfmother, in particular on Push and Heart in your Hand.

The album opens with Push, which almost counts as two tracks in one, with a false ending halfway though which segues into an extended instrumental section before Visco’s wailing vocal channels Andrew Stockdale through to the end.  On Black Soul Shine Militello takes on vocal duties and brings a completely different vibe.  While guitar wails and drums crash around his vocal it remains for the most part measured and constant, a touchstone amidst the madness.  When he does break loose though he more than matches up to the instruments and creates a track which you can only imagine would have live crowds in head-nodding raptures.  Avalon’s Seed is an entirely instrumental track situated right in the middle of the album.  It provides a half time break of sorts, a couple of minutes for quiet contemplation and meditation, with an almost Indian, Ravi Shankar type feel.  The second half kicks off with the pure rock and roll of Got My Mojo Working, which really shows off those fifties rock n roll influences Visco mentioned.  It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine Joanie and Chachi dancing to it in Arnold’s diner.  It’s not straight up Chuck Berry style rock n roll but the vibe is definitely there.  Ophelia Otherwise slows things down a bit and shows the band’s folk influences.  With its acoustic guitar and tambourine it has a singsong round the campfire kind of feel.  It’s very beautiful and haunting.  The album closes with Howlin’ at my Door, in which the guitar channels one of the band’s more contemporary influences.  Scott Holiday of Rival Sons is coolness personified wherever he goes, and is forging a reputation as a guitarist of the highest order and to be influenced by him is a very good thing indeed.  The album finishes as it began, with a long track with an extended instrumental section.  It has the feel of an impromptu jam between band members who know each other very well, which is all the more exciting when you consider that this is a debut album from a band still very much at the start of its career.  That’s a feeling that spans the entire album, that somehow these people have brought their wildly disparate musical influences together and have jammed their way into a debut album that references a multitude of genres but also creates something new, original and exciting.


Track Listing:

  1. Push
  2. Black Soul Shine
  3. Gotta let you Go
  4. Trouble’s Gonna Come
  5. Avalon’s Seed
  6. Got My Mojo Working
  7. Ophelia Otherwise
  8. Heart in your Hand
  9. Howlin’ at my Door



The debut album from Buffalo, NY's Mojo Stone has been influenced by some wildly random genres, but all comes together into something original, creative and very exciting.

About KarenS

Photographer, lover of books and movies. Can normally be found walking the dog in the rain.