After several months acting as backing band for superstar musicians, nine-piece Stone Mecca is ready to stand out on its own.

After several months acting as backing band for superstar musicians, nine-piece Stone Mecca is ready to stand out on its own. Led by founder, producer and longtime session stable TrĂș James, the crew released its debut, "First Contact," June 3 on its own Touch the Music Records. The album came in the midst of a tour supporting and backing Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA.

Turns out that RZA's daughter enjoyed spinning a Stone Mecca song over and over in her room, prompting the rapper to dig further into the source. "He'd hear it every day and loved the way it sounded to him. It was clear it was reaching a younger audience," James recalls. "There seems to be no age to it."

James has since played guitar and bass on various RZA sessions, including the 2007 Wu-Tang Clan album "8 Diagrams." Stone Mecca has also appeared on the Rock the Bells tour and RZA's soundtrack to Spike TV's "Afro Samurai," while James has played on albums by Dallas Austin, DJ Pooh, Too Short and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Stone Mecca as a live band keeps vocal performance at the forefront, with five of the nine members singing, influenced by a plethora of genres from urban music past. With dashes of Motown, '70s funk and soul, this Los Angeles-based act brings hip-hop to life, sans turntable.

The group recently backed Del the Funky Homosapien during his appearance on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" and may tour this fall supporting Earth, Wind & Fire.

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