Q&A with One Sol’s Roman Gutierrez
By Billy Pilgrim
Soul to Sol
By Billy Pilgrim
Photos by Kevin “Eagle Eye” Cornelius
You might have seen them at the Reggae Festival, opening for the legendary Jimmy Cliff at the Cascade, or for The Wailers. Maybe you caught them playing acoustic covers at wine bars a few years ago in an earlier incarnation. Meet Shasta County’s One Sol, playing the music your mom wants you to hear. It’s a fusion of reggae, rock, blues, and white boy funk. They call it Nor Cal Reggae Rock, and it just feels good. It’s positive vibes, messages of hope and love, and you can dance to it. Boy! Can you dance to it!
One Sol began in 2011, the creation of Roman Gutierrez and Matt Wilson. I’ve known Roman for a few years, and caught up with him recently.
BP: How did this all start?
Roman: I was just a little kid and I remember my dog being very ill. My dad Jerry took our dog to the vet and came home with a guitar for me. It was a Fender. I never saw my dog again.
BP: Who was your earliest musical influence?
Roman: I am sure this will surprise a lot of people. It has to be Garth Brooks. My dad listened to a lot of country music when I was growing up, and Garth really stood out. I was blown away by his high energy and his showmanship. That guy is an entertainer. And I want to give credit to my ex brother in law, Scott Waits. He really encouraged me. He had a cover band in Escondido called Dr. Phonebone.
BP: Great band name! Do you remember your very first time on stage?
Roman: My breakout performance was in first grade. I wore my clothes inside out and did the Kris Kross song “Jump.”
BP: What’s the craziest request One Sol has played?
Roman: It has to be Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” We did it reggae style.
BP: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have five albums, what would they be?
Roman: That’s tough. OK, how about Alice in Chains “Unplugged,” Santana “Abraxas,” Stevie Ray Vaughan “Live,” Bob Marley “Legend,” and Slightly Stoopid “Live.”
BP: What was your reaction the first time you heard your music on the radio?
Roman: Oh man! It was on Z-Rock. We were so excited. All of our radios were tuned in. It made us feel successful. We were jumping up and down!
BP: What is your message to the world? What do you hope for?
Roman: It’s in our music. We want everyone to stand up for themselves, and to enjoy the love and the liberties we have, And for everyone to live in peace in harmony. We all exist under the same sun, one sun. One Sol.
One Sol is Roman Gutierrez, Matt Wilson, Richard Hughes, and Thomas Brouns. You can catch them all over the North State and on Facebook and Instagram. The music of One Sol can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.