Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

The Mercy Stone performs at DVAC


Last updated 4/20/2018 at 11:03am

Tony Ault

The Mercy Stone sends out its special mix of modern jazz and eclectic sound during their special appearance Saturday, April 7, on the Diamond Valley Arts Center stage on Hemet's historic Harvard Street.

Jazz fusion, Avant Garde, experimental? These words have been used to describe the up and coming 12-piece band, The Mercy Stone, who made a special appearance Saturday, April 7, on the Diamond Valley Arts Center stage in Hemet.

The Mercy Stone is made up of accomplished classically trained musicians who walk the edge between the worlds of rock, jazz and classical music. They are either alumni or students of California State University Fullerton. They have become the talk of the local music scene on Facebook and other social media, following the January release of their first album, "Ghettoblaster." The album's title song brought applause and cheers from the audience at the DVAC. The band features amplified string quintet, electric guitar, drums, marimba and a saxophone quartet; the group's mix of early jazz with funk, rock and classical rhythms stirred listeners' imaginations.

At the DVAC, several musicians spoke, sharing their life and musical thoughts, much to the delight of the audience. Composer and electric bassist Scott Grady leads The Mercy Stone with a few core members, including bassist and composer Shawn Graham, cellist Emmanuel Ventura-Cruess, violinist Dei Urresti, violinist Jasmine Kim, drummer Joris Daniel Hoogsteder, saxophonist Steven Ragsdale and woodwind performer Nathan King. Other musicians play key roles as well, including Yuyao Li, Trevor Torres, Mike Wilson, Eddie Ayala, Ryan Weller, Fernando Penaloza, Luther Schmidt and Troy Ambroff.

"Ghettoblaster" was a favorite song among the group. The band played a variety of songs from the new album, all with unusual instruments arrangements and surprising styles being mixed together. It was a delight of sound and musical mystery.

Other songs from the new album include "Triptide," "First Light," "Megalodon," "Wail Song," "Euthanasia" and others.

The Mercy Stone was interviewed by in December 2017 about its debut album.

Tony Ault

The Mercy Stone leader and composer Scott Grady, left, with two of his band members play a songs from their debut album "Ghettoblaster" at the Diamond Valley Arts Center in Hemet Saturday, April 7.

"Ghettoblaster has a huge potential to be labeled as a landmark effort and a template for all future musical acts aspiring to venture into experimental rock, heavily influenced by jazz fusion, avant-garde and classical music," according to

The nonprofit DVAC has The Craig Yancey Quartet scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday, April 21. They have performed with many top named groups such as the Four Tops, Kenny Rogers, Donna Summer and the Temptations in Las Vegas. Yancy is a music teacher in the Menifee public schools.

The DVAC, located in Hemet's historic downtown at 123 N. Harvard St., offers two top music events each month with well-known or locally popular bands and musicians present on an intimate lighted stage with wine and refreshments available at very reasonable prices. Other special events enhancing the arts and culture of the community are scheduled as well. See for the latest special and musical events or call (951) 652-3822.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at [email protected]


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