The band’s dynamic, melodic and soulful tunes have captured the heart of San Diego through their ability to fuse music with concepts of mindfulness, respect and integrity. Cannon, the group’s headliner and singer songwriter, weaves melodies with philanthropy, wowing audiences with his message, “we have everything we need inside of us.” Iron Sage Wood’s holistic approach to spirit, family, friends and nature is the perfect endcap for the free, family-oriented and culturally diverse concert series.
Cannon, a Native American wrote the popular, “Love Your Life,” a song that depicts the struggles of Native Americans living in a modern western society. Derived from Cannon’s upbringing on the San Pasqual Indian Reservation, located in North County, the song is one of the trio’s many that serves as a reminder “that no matter what we face or where we come from, we should love this one life we are given.”
Cannon also touts writing a song with Jason Mraz as well as the San Diego Padre theme song – “Homegrown” – complete with a music video that “plastered my face all over the stadium.”
The humble talent gravitated towards music during a troubled youth. Homeless by age 14, Cannon floundered between the streets and the judicial system sporting “reckless, dysfunctional behaviors” that included drug addiction and gang violence.
“I wandered the streets by choice,” he said. “My parent’s split-up; a hurt that so plagued the family, no one knew its remedy. Young and persistent, a life of trying something new led me into a life of chaos. But as a hopeless optimist, I talked about the positive even from my darkest places. I knew that one day I’d get my act together and play my music.”
Blessed by the “shining light of the kindness of others,” Cannon admits to a desire to “save myself, to do and be different and have a colorful life.” Today, the certified native healer works with kids who suffer from PTSD, reconnecting family together to “heal ourselves and the world around us.”
“My path led me to become who I am today,” he continued. “I use my dark experiences to teach the younger generation to believe that we can live the life that’s in front of us. With the help of my wife and family, I’ve skyrocketed. I’ve excelled to surpass my own expectations of what I thought life should be.”
When not creating music, Cannon serves as serves as director of operations and creative services for Indigenous Regeneration, a non-profit six-acre farm on his reservation that educates the practices for sustainable living.
Iron Sage Wood became an ensemble serendipitously through DeRobbio’s podcast, Belly Up Live. The production manager for the Belly Up featured Cannon following a Solana Beach performance.
“I broke bread on Damian’s podcast and we quickly became friends,” said Cannon. “We began jamming with AB playing drums and discovered that we enjoyed each other’s energy and presence. They liked my lyrics and I liked their vibe.”
DeRobbio stepped in as production manager while Nevarez worked on events and promotion. Representing the elements – Iron Sage Wood – the popular band was born. Although all three sport different daytime hats, they work in unison to raise consciousness by remaining compassionate to the planet and the viewpoints of others.
“Iron Sage Wood grew organically,” Nevarez explained. “Our unique abilities have curated grass root events in San Diego, including Liberty Station. We each bring a different component. My percussions add Afro-Cuban and Afro Brazil sounds. Damian brings a soulful Americana experience. Paul’s songs, influenced by his native American roots, mesh our backgrounds. The guitars are high-end, the vocals are mid-range and the instruments cover a lower frequency. We marry it together and get our message out. People connect to our simple, heartfelt and uncomplicated music.”
“We’re not afraid to play anything,” continued De Robbio. “We’ll blow out any kind of cover. “Our music is influenced by Latin soul, rhythm and blues, and reggae. We’re a camp fire band. We love playing for friends. Liberty Station is a perfect venue. We thrive at outdoor family, community-oriented events. It’s free and it’s art.”
“Our music is medicine,” added Cannon. “I tour professionally opening up for some really cool cats but I’m fortunate to be surrounded by Damian and AB who support my music and my causes.”
“I feel super blessed and successful to play and harmonize with two souls on this level,” said DeRobbio. “No matter where we play, there’s always magic. The honor, joy and pleasure is ours. If people enjoy it, that’s even better.”
“I waited for the right project, with the right musicians and the right chemistry,” concluded Nevarez. “And loving the local flavor is a great way to play at Liberty Station.”
Iron Sage Wood will begin their performance at 5 p.m. followed by the evening headliners Vaud and Villains at 6 p.m.