Lone Tree Bring The Blues Direct From Kenya

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Lone Tree are a group of 5 ex-pat teenagers that imbue diversity. Collectively they have lived in 10 different countries and speak 6 languages. They draw heavily from the history of rock and blues adding their own youthful twist.

Introducing Lone Tree

Originally named Refuge as a tongue in cheek jibe signifying their desire to escape shallow, inauthentic music, the name quickly took on a deeper meaning and came to symbolize their drive for social progress.

As Refugee, they started making waves in 2018 with the release of their first original song ‘Gone Astray’ which debuted at #1 on the East African rock charts and held it for months. Multiple local and international TV, radio and online appearances quickly followed, drawing a steady demand for live performances.

While lockdown impacted lots of musicians negatively, Refugee used it to their benefit honing their sound and their message. They emerged with a new name ‘Lone Tree’ after Lone Tree Road, the location of their studio. This was a fresh start.

To the band, roots are as sacred as the principles you believe in. Lone Tree hopes to represent this and distinguish its contribution to the revival of righteous music.

Lone Tree is sister and brother Teresa Sanders (lead singer) and Patrick Sanders (lead guitar, vocals), alongside Gabe Gebremedhin (drums, vocals), Silas Piper (rhythm/slide guitar, vocals), Ben Matsaert (bass, keys).

It’s clear despite their tender age the members of Lone Tree are students of musical history with a broad set of influences including Allman Brothers, Santana, Gary Clark Jr., The Wailers, Xavier Rudd, Brittany Howard, Damian Marley, Sublime, Jethro Tull, Groundation, Fleetwood Mac and King Gizzard. While a quick visit to their YouTube channels reveals covers of Neil Young and Led Zepplin tracks.

The band have played live shows around Kenya, including opening for Sauti Sol, Fancy Fingers, Bensoul, Nviiri the Storyteller, Ferocious Dog and other popular African artists. In August 2019, Lone Tree played to an audience of 10,000 people at its first international gig, the Bautz Music Festival in Germany. Headliners included Nena, Dog Eat Dog and Any Given Day. During Summer 2021, Lone Tree played its first U.S. gigs, including at Fantastic Negrito’s studio in Oakland and The Basement in Nashville for New Faces Night.

Since mid-2021, they have released four singles including ‘True Love’ ‘Wind Song’ ‘One Season’, and the funky jam ‘Rude Bwoy’.

The live session version of True Love (featured above) was recorded at Snowball Studio and features a jaw-dropping bluesy guitar break with duelling guitars played by Patrick, Silas and Ben. Close your eyes and imagine it’s 1969 and you are at Woodstock watching Jimi Hendrix.

Lone Tree recently produced a brilliant live documentary (see below) that allows fans to get up close and personal with the band. It’s part interview, part live performance and it’s a must-watch. Look out for their cover of Neil Young’s Southern Man alongside stunning live renditions of their own original music.

At the start of this year, they recorded a 6-song EP titled Refuge in collaboration with Grammy-winning songwriter, Bensoul, and Joe Mutoriah, producer for Sauti Sol. This will be released in mid-July with the lead single ‘Come Back To You’ set to drop on June 10th. We look forward to following the next step on their journey.

It’s hard to watch Lone Tree’s live videos and not want this band to succeed. Their heady mix of raw talent and youthful desire is hugely compelling.

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Words Mark Knight