logo

A moment with Mike Love at One Love Cali Reggae Fest | Top Shelf Reggae

One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019 brought a new era of reggae musicians, all bringing back the true roots sound! One such talented artist was the amazing and eccentric Hawaiian native Mike Love. Back in May of 2018, I attended the Trevor Hall show at The Observatory Theatre in Santa Ana; opening for him was Mike Love. Before the set, I bought a Mike Love pop dot for my mom, but little did I know exactly what I was in store for…

The ever-present and spiritual Mike Love took to the stage.

The ever-present and spiritual Mike Love took to the stage. I was hooked on his eccentric musical style, backed by an amazing band and emphasizing raw truth in his lyrics that spoke directly to my heart. When it was announced that Mike Love was going to be playing his first One Love Cali Reggae Fest, I had to be there! And, I just had to interview him!! I hope you fall in love with this man and his music just as I did. 

TSR: Your music has been called “revolutionary, conscious music”… it seems you have a message of returning to a more natural and spiritually-grounded way of living. Who do you find inspirational in this process?

  • ML: It’s kind of a really long process, I guess, to describe. But, there’s kind of been a million different shifts that have led me to this point. But, you know, I’ve always been [that way]: growing up where I grew up, I’ve always been connected to the earth. Just always in the ocean or the mountains. I'm kind of blessed to grow up in a place surrounded by a really natural habitat instead of growing up in the city.

With the rat race.

  • [Laughing] Yeah! So, I think that definitely contributed to it. And, then being raised by my beautiful parents; that really taught me the importance of our connection and our balance with nature. They taught me to be a caring and compassionate person. That’s really the most crucial thing I think, you know?

I think that comes through in your music.

  • That’s what attracted me in the first place, to positive music. To want to make music that actually touches and heals people and connects with people rather than just, you know, rocking out and partying… playing my guitar as fast as I could.

Lyrics no one can understand.

  • Yeah.

After forming Melodious Solutions and your 10-piece band Dub Conscious, you started playing solo in 2008 and released your first solo album in 2012. What was it like to be a one-man band, playing multiple instruments when you usually had a band behind you?

  • It was a really good experience for me because I came from a place of writing music and arranging music for a really big band and I was really focused on that. And, I was really focused on like kind of the pizazz of it all, just having a bunch of instruments to work with. Creating really cool arrangements that kind of built up to these big credenzas and then broke down into stripped down parts. That arrangement was what I was really focused on.
  • When I started playing solo, I realized I couldn’t play most of those songs because they depended on these moments that were dependent on these big drum parts and hits with the horns and all this stuff. When you took all that stuff away, it’s like you had a song that kind of really didn’t make sense without it. You know? That was when I realized hey, you know, maybe I’ve gotten too far away from the song just being powerful and having an impact on its own. So, I started writing songs without any arrangement in mind and just to write music; a song that I could just play with just my guitar. It would be still good if I didn’t have a bass player or if I didn’t have a drummer. And, then I sort of rebuilt everything from scratch like that.
  • That was a really key thing for me, because I retain that all times now and have discovered the importance of that. Even though now I have a big band again, I come around full circle back to that. I still retain that essence of having a song that is potent and powerful on its own for its lyrical content and its melodic chordal structure that works without the band. And then, when you add a band to that, it becomes something even more powerful and there’s so much beauty in that. I just love it. And, I’m still totally in love with the process of arranging and writing parts that a group of musicians can really sync up together and dig into. I have the most amazing band in the world that I love and am so thankful for. But, it took stripping it down to be able to build it up again and I was able to build a band that I really feel strongly about each member and really connected to each member. We’re really connected as a group with one heart.

I’ve really enjoyed following your friendship with Nahko, Trevor Hall, Xavier Rudd and Satsang. I feel there’s a new movement coming along… sort of like what Bob Marley was doing. It’s a new generation creating a novel movement for kindness and getting back to being cordial with one another. The power of music is really unbelievable to me. Have you seen a shift yet in how we are treating each other as fellow humans?

  • Yeah, of course! You know, I think the music that a lot of musicians are making that’s really inspiring to me is of course coming out of the times that we are living in. And, people are having very profound reactions to the way that the world is changing. A lot of people are having these really deep and amazing spiritual awakenings; we see it all the time because our music attracts the kind of people that are going through this shift. And, so everywhere we go in the world, we come across the most beautiful people that are really kind and take care of each other.
  • Of course, we are out in the world and see a lot of the darkness and a lot of the anger and a lot of division that is going on in the world. It makes it just that much more precious for us that the messages we are always trying to put forth is empowering the people that we attract. I feel like we are the strongest people in the world, because we are so loving and so caring. We have the power of love on our side and we have the power of compassion, of kindness, of forgiveness, of understanding. And, so now, we have the chance to make a real change with our understanding, with our forgiveness and with our love and compassion. We are able to go out into the world in a place where we don’t necessarily feel the same safety and protection that we feel when we come together in these groups to sing and to give praise together and give thanks together and take care of each other. We do that to nourish each other so that we know that we are strong; and we remind each other that we are strong. And then we go back out into the world and do our best to share it with everybody that we come across.
  • It’s a difficult path in a world where there’s a lot of negativity. There’s a lot of sorrow, but all we can do is our best and all we can do is try and be the brightest lights that we can be and shine the brightest. Also, remember that there are people who will see that light and be envious of it and hate it because they have led such a life where they’ve been left behind and neglected and abused and have never known that kind of caring and compassion. While we attract the positive people, we also attract the negative people in that way. So, you have to be conscious and aware of that, aware of how we can use our positive energy and our strength to redirect that anger and hopefully, help fill some hearts with love and kindness. Show people that they are not alone.

You’ve collaborated with quite a few people. Going forward, is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with?

  • [Laughing] Oh yeah, there’s a million! We had a really cool experience in Brazil with a brother named Allesandra Carlo from a band called Natty Roots down there in Brazil. The biggest reggae band in Brazil, a beautiful brother. We made some music with him and looking forward to doing some more of that. Our uncle Clinton Fearon: amazing, legendary founder of reggae music from the band The Gladiators. Working on some stuff with him and working on a project with some of the musicians from the band Groundation, which is one of my absolute favorite band of all time.
  • There are so many musicians that I just love and look up to, and I know I’ll just keep manifesting that. Like you said, I’ve been lucky enough to make music with Nahko and Trevor Hall and Xavier Rudd and Paul Fua. You know, lots of amazing musicians… Tubby Love, Paul Isaac. Great, great musicians out there. I’m just so thankful! You know sometimes, I just can’t believe the journey this music has brought me on; all the incredible musicians that I’ve been able to collaborate with and just to know as friends. It's amazing. I’m so thankful.

Artist links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/a-moment-with-mike-love-at-one-love-cali-reggae-fest

Death by Dub’s second single “Birth of Giants” | Top Shelf Reggae

You know a track is a good one when you've spent the last 10 minutes swaying your head uncontrollably, soaking up the rhythms and hitting the repeat button once the track is over. From the very first seconds to the ultimate finale, there’s nothing except positivity and good feelings conveyed from the recording studio to the consumer. “Birth of Giants”, is Death by Dub’s second single as part of a monthly release series via Color Red. This track is an effortless, yet powerful listen.

This track is an effortless, yet powerful listen

Drawing influence from prominent dub producers Lee Perry and King Tubby and iconic reggae instrumentalists Tommy McCook and Rico Rodriguez, Dan Africano and Scott Flynn have formed a group in reverence of these pioneering artists. They have recruited a roster of musical collaborators with an equal passion for dub and reggae to create and to showcase the music they have grown to love including former John Brown's Body bandmates alongside members of The Motet, Thievery Corporation, and more.

In 2019, Death by Dub will release a new track on the first Tuesday of every month via Color Red. These single releases will be bolstered by exclusive content and culminate in a full album release.

If you’re in the Colorado area, make sure to check out their show at Cervantes' on March 12th, 2019.

Death By Dub “Birth of Giants”

Links: Distrokid | Facebook

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/reviews/death-by-dubs-second-single-birth-of-giants

Arizona Roots 2019: Day Two | Top Shelf Reggae

Day two of the inaugural Arizona Roots Festival began warmer than the frigid day before, leading to less people huddled around the provided outdoor heaters at the Rawhide Events Center in Chandler, AZ. Local bands got the good vibes up again after a night's hiatus before LA up-and-comers Iya Terra took the main stage by storm. Local fan favorites Black Bottom Lighters perfomed next to an already packed house on the side stage before The Movement upped the ante. Headlining Stick Figure members Johnny Cosmic and KBong appeared for an early for a quick cameo too, before SYNRGY surrounded themselves with fans and friends on the side stage. Collie Buddz started a midday sing-along next, which is a good thing, considering the Bermuda reggae legend's voice was fading fast! Rasping through the last half of his set, Collie Buddz stuck it out til the very end.

Thanks Arizona Roots for proving that the reggae-rock movement exists everywhere.

Indigenous activist-rapper Xuihtexcatl closed down the side stage as the sun set, giving blessings to the Native American land we were all standing on. It's always a treat being able to witness Dispatch in action, considering the extra long moratorium between their active tours and the fact they paved the way for the independent music industry. With Cocoa the Tour Dog making her signature grand entrance before the Stick Figure boys took the stage, Arizona Roots 2019's grand finalé was underway. Floating on high, attendees emptied out into the Rawhide parking lot, talking next stop Cali Roots X! Thanks Arizona Roots for proving that the reggae-rock movement exists everywhere.

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/arizona-roots-2019-day-two

One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019: Day Three | Top Shelf Reggae

After two days of festive fun, eager fans raced through the gates in the rain on Sunday to get to carch HIRIE in action. The Orange County boys of The Simpkin Project followed on the side stage as New Zealand Reggae star Sammy Johnson followed main stage.

After two days of festive fun, eager fans raced through the gates…

The Ohana vibes radiated on the KOI CDB Stage with Hawaiian band The Green. Back for their second visit to the festival and bringing with them their catchy alternative/hip hop vibes, Katastro were next up on the second stage. Quickly following on the SMKFLWR Stage was GRAMMY recipient Morgan Heritage. Back over at the KOI CBD Stage, Orange County Natives, Common Kings brought their feel-good vibes to get the crowd moving, while Maui sweetheart, Anuhea, closed out the female performances of the weekend on the SMKFLWR Stage.

Crowd favorite, J Boog started out the evening sets on the KOI CBD Main Stage, with Josh Heinrichs following on the SMKFLWR side stage. As Iration kept the party going on the main stage, One Love Cali Reggae Festival newbie Kyle Smith took the crowd by storm.

The hip hop duo Atmosphere stormed onto the KOI CBD Main Stage with a vengeance while the reggae punk rhythms before Sublime with Rome closed out the weekend. With three sold out days in Long Beach in the books, One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019 came to an end. Until next year!

Photography by Sean McCracken

Recap by Jenni Lynne

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/one-love-cali-reggae-fest-2019-day-three

WORLD TRACK PREMIERE: New Kingston “Fyah Nuh Hot Like You” | Top Shelf Reggae

New Kingston is at it again, with their spicy new single “Fyah Nuh Hot Like You” available on all digital outlets as of tomorrow off Easy Star Records! That said, Top Shelf Reggae is proud to premiere the sizzling track from the Brooklyn band of brothers we all know and love a day early! “Fyah Nuh Hot Like You” features a funky bass line, a chorus chorus and harmonized vocals that will make you melt. Don't get it twisted: New Kingston's flirty side is sweet as honey with pick up lines as cool as ice.

New Kingston's flirty side is sweet as honey….

Chanting “feed my flames” and “you're a natural”, the NK boys know how to turn up the heat. Synthy pop keys play on the listener's ear as the band's smooth RnB vibe mixes with a traditional reggae beat. Reggae scatting leads up to the bridge, adding a bit of jazz to the mix. It might be early March, but “Fyah Nuh Hot Like You” is the perfect segue into summer if there ever was one. Be sure to stream or download the single tomorrow, but until then, tune in via the link below! 

Exclusive listening stream for New Kingston's “Fyah Nuh Hot Like You” single:

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/world-track-premiere-new-kingston-fyah-nuh-hot-like-you

Robert DeLong at San Diego’s Music Box | Top Shelf Reggae

The night of February 26th, 2019 fell on a Tuesday, but that hardly mattered to alternative-EDM fans of the DJ genius Robert DeLong. San Diego's Music Box was almost filled up by the time direct support MORGXN ended on his alt anthem “Home”, exiting his dimly lit stage to uproarious applause. MORGXN took attendees on a personal journey, commenting on how he wrote one of the songs he performed during his father's passing. Heartfelt and passion-fueled, concertgoers reveled in the truth MORGXN exuded throughout his performance. 

As intermission flooded the bar stools and the outside sidewalks with drink buyers and cigarette smokers, attendees waited for the musical mastermind we know as Robert DeLong to enter the evening. Sound techs tested several curious machines, making sure that whatever DeLong is about to be up to is up to par. A thumbs up was flashed to the soundboard from one of DeLong's backstage entourage, leading the lights to fall to darkness. Out from behind the curtain came Robert DeLong, dressed in a suit and holding peace signs high in the air to the soundtrack of a cheering audience. The show has begun. Beams of light zapped from floor to ceiling onstage; Delong, grabbing sunglasses and what looked like two metal blocks, started playing the them. That's right. Robert DeLong turns light beams into melodious sound. For he is a GENIUS.

Robert DeLong turns light beams into melodious sound. For he is a GENIUS.

He doesn't stop there, either. DeLong configured musical devices out of Nintendo 64 controllers, Wii controllers and joysticks. A gamer meets music dream, DeLong further bounced between a drum set, a guitar and a keyboard adjacent to his master control platform… one equipped with four televisions, flashing psychedelic images curving and wrapping around each other endlessly. The whole ensemble was an acid trip. At one point, DeLong fired up a video version of K. Flay to accompany him on their popular duet, “My Favorite Color Is Blue”. K. Flay's haunting demeanor broadcasted across all the screens was a chilling experience, to say the very least. Another highlight was when Robert DeLong called MORGXN back out onstage, who came bearing shots of liquor for the entire band before the two launched into a passionate (and somewhat sexual) collaboration.

The show was so spectacular that, of course, it was over way too soon. Following demands of “10 MORE SONGS!!” from the crowd, DeLong reappeared to encore with his own EDM version of White Town's 90s hit “My Woman” and a few more before calling it quits. The guy did happen to track a good 15 minutes' worth of drum solos between songs! Pouring sweat, Robert DeLong announced that he will be ready to take pictures with fans and sign autographs at the merch booth once he successfully “toweled off”. How brave to meet-and-greet an entire venue full of people riled up like that… Waiting to leave, his manager mentioned DeLong once stayed over two and a half hours after his set to make sure he met every one of his adoring fans. Extremely gifted, yet so humble. What a valuable and underrated asset to the music world.

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/robert-delong-at-san-diegos-music-box

The exceptional KAABOO Cayman experience | Top Shelf Reggae

Boarding a plane to an island adventure is one thing; knowing your Caribbean vacation includes the first annual KAABOO Cayman is quite another. Following four successful years in San Diego's luxurious Del Mar Fairgrounds, the KAABOO crew decided to branch out of their SoCal bubble, advertising sister festivals on Grand Cayman island and inside the Dallas Cowboys stadium for the months of February and May, respectively. The world is KAABOO's oyster and this rising A-list fest is far from settling down any time soon. Knowing KAABOO, with music a mere anecdote to the experience, a Grand Cayman location would be the ultimate festival-lover's getaway. Plus, Fyre Fest just so happened to start trending, so it was conveniently KAABOO's turn to show the world how it's done.

… it was confirmed that Year One had sold out with 10k in attendance!

Deboarding the plane in a welcoming 85-degree heat, festival attendees had the privilege of picking up their wristbands right there in the airport. I was lucky enough to travel with my best friend, whose boyfriend was performing that weekend. Hello, artist shuttle! Meeting members of another performing band heading to the hotel (and making lifelong friends as a result), we reached our home for the next seven nights. That's right, I planned an extended stay – because, why not?! Grand Cayman is unlike any other… the people are so helpful, generous, hospitable. Roosters littered the streets, so no need for an alarm clock in the morning. You were officially on island time, anyway.

Friday, February 15th was slightly overcast, but far from the tropical storm that thundered the days prior. KAABOO always seems to generate perfect weather. Before you reached the gate, it was confirmed that Year One had sold out with 10k in attendance! Considering there is 60k people on the whole island, that's quite an accomplishment. The day kicked off with local acts like Rico Rolando's smooth hip hop and Suckerbox's punk rock anthems. You could tell the latter was a rather popular local act, with beloved cheers reverberating the grounds in between every Suckerbox song. The enigmatic trancy vibes of Transviolet were up next, with lead singer Sarah bearing it all in a lacy bodysuit. Jumping and thrashing about the stage, Transviolet's theatrics ignited a fire for the assembled festivalgoers. The time had come to drop all pretenses and lighten up. Plus, it was nothing but big names from then on out! Magic! took to the side stage next, whipping front-row preteens into a frenzy. Seriously, those girls were screaming every lyric back at the players (namely, lead singer Nasri Atweh).

Jamaican legend Maxi Priest exploded onto the stage next, cordially coaxing the crowd to participate in the reggae party as it unfolded. And, speaking of party, Flo Rida popping bottles and busting out hit after Top 40 hit did the trick. Mid-set, Flo Rida demanded women AND men come dance onstage with him. The women obliged without second thought; the men… not so much. In fact, out of the five men brave enough to showcase their dance moves was Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson after arriving by private jet. Country girls Margo Price and Marren Morris started sing-alongs before “Summer Of '69” superstar Bryan Adams took the main stage by storm. All the while, SNL comedians Norm MacDonald, Darrell Hammond and Kevin Nealon held down the 'HUMOR ME' stage. I had time to catch some of Kevin Nealon and let's just say, the man has not lost his touch, #dying

Last up on the side stage (if you could even call it that, with a sea of people sardined together) was Counting Crows; there's something so inexiplicably reassuring to see that lead singer Adam Duritz's hair hasn't changed since 1992. Night One went out with a bang (literally) when The Chainsmoker boys lit up the night with incredible pyrotechnics. Fireworks, smoke pillars and sparklers galore… to say people had an epic night is an understatement. Richard Branson took to the stage a second time that night to introduce The Chainsmokers, stuffing a good 20 cigarettes in his mouth to do so. If you waited your entire life to sell a Richard Branson cigarette on eBay, you finally got your chance.

Day Two was extra special for some. Due to the unanticipated mid-week thunderstorms, the Thursday night VIP performance by KAABOO Del Mar fan favorite Stealing Oceans was rescheduled for an exclusive, intimate Saturday brunch. For those that splurged for additional access and amenities, you were able to catch Stealing Oceans stealing the show yet again in the 'BASK' area (you know… the bougey lounge area a few steps from the ocean). With boats floating a few feet away, Stealing Oceans delivered such a captivating performance, no one was left standing idle albeit it being 10:30am. It could've been 10:30pm… it wouldn't have mattered with this talented bunch of boys. One Stealing Oceans member even front-flipped from the stage, bass in hand! Leaving the Bask area absolutely melted from dance sweat, ecstatic chatter could be heard from everyone recapping what they had just witnessed as a large, single-file line formed to take pictures with the band. Got to get your autographs now before these guys start selling out arenas!

The best part was, there was still a whole day's lineup ahead! Romain Virgo got the reggae going right off the bat, followed by American reggae-rock goddess HIRIE on the side stage. The reggae didn't stop there either, with Top 40 heavy-hitters Shaggy and Sean Paul to come! Touching on 90s radio, Salt-n-Pepa came out (sans Spinderella) to slay the stage. After pushing “real good”, Blues Traveler entertained the masses with their signature harmonica-infused, blues-folk jam band ways. +Live+ came out to uproarious applause, even collabing with Blues Traveler lead singer John Popper for a track!

… KAABOO Cayman will remain as an untouchable high in my heart.

Blondie appeared still wearing her “STOP FUCKING THE PLANET” cape from her September performance in Del Mar (does she ever take that off??) before Zedd launched into the most intense, awe-inspiring light show you've ever seen. Around this time, as you watched silhouettes of women waving their arms high in the air as they sat on shoulders, soaking in the strobe lights and the booming bass, it hits you – you're in the Caribbean. You're watching Zedd. In the Caribbean. How could life get any better? Elated, Jason Derulo continued the pop show as comedian Wanda Sykes whipped people into stitches on the Humor Me stage. Let it be noted that Natasha Leggero and her husband tag-teaming the comedy performance earlier that day was an unexpected treat. Those two are inspiring as much as they are hilarious.

Like all great things, KAABOO Cayman 1 had to come to an end. Nobody wanted it, yet if it had to happen, closing down to Duran Duran was certainly how to do it. After 30 years, those Duran Duran post-punk pop stars still deliver. You barely had a moment to empty out into the slightly humid night before KAABOO Cayman announced on their social channels that the fest is set to return for 2020. Until next year, the tropical magic generated by KAABOO Cayman will remain as an untouchable high in my heart. Adrenaline rushes through my veins as I reminisce. KAABOO continues its ever-unfolding history with KAABOO Texas May 3rd-5th and KAABOO Del Mar September 13th-15th, so make sure to be a part of KAABOO 2019 wherever and whenever you can. Believe me, this is one festival that changes your life. 

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/the-exceptional-kaaboo-cayman-experience

Gary Clark Jr. explores all genres in ‘This Land’ album | Top Shelf Reggae

Texas guitar legend Gary Clark Jr. has rocked the charts this week with the release of his third full-length album, This Land: a politically-charged masterpiece, encompassing virtually all genres of music as a mosaic does with small pieces of glass. Woven into the tapestry of This Land is GCJR's signature blues sound among reggae elements, folk, acid rock, jazz, RnB and – dare we say it – even gangster rap. It might seem like Gary Clark Jr. has flown off the rails, but it's quite the contrary; he is getting more in tune with himself, one track at a time. Following the initial success of 2011's Blak And Blu and 2015's smashing Story of Sonny Boy Slim, this two-time GRAMMY-winner and all-out guitar shredder has hardly reached his peak.

'This Land' is unapologetic. Period. 

This Land is unapologetic. Period. Whether GCJR speaks out on the crumbling status of this nation or his (seemingly unsteady) personal life, he does so with such striking stamina and force that it's simply unequivocal. Gary Clark Jr. is to be taken seriously. Like a dark horse riding in the night in search of wrongdoing, the album begins with the title track and Gary Clark Jr. taking the reigns on racism. He's “paranoid and pissed off” after years of witnessing brother turn on brother and the American public fall victim to misinformation, hate and greed. Instead of insisting on a call to action from his listeners, GCJR takes action himself. “F*ck you, I'm America's son,” asserts GCJR, “…this is where I come from.” Pairing such stabbing social commentary to the 1940 patriotic anthem “This Land Is Your Land” (originally by American folk singer Woody Guthrie), GCJR implies that the song we learned as kids, one that overtly ingrained the principles of this fine nation in us, has long been forgotten. The distorted bass and wailing guitar throughout the track disoreint the listener; an audible anecdote on just how far down the rabbit hole we've fallen. Track two, “What About Us”, furthers this “there goes the neighborhood” vibe, with Gary Clark Jr. declaring that this vicious cycle won't end until we let it. “Call it what you want,” says GCJR… no one is bettering our circumstances, yet everyone has something to say about it.

Although the first two songs come with guns (and guitars) blazing, Gary Clark Jr. still likes to showcase his softer side. Tracks like “Pearl Cadillac”, “When I'm Gone” and “Guitar Man” all feature GCJR taking it down a notch to serenade the women in his life and their invaluable contributions thus far. “When I'm Gone” actually evokes a Motown-meets-modern essence, a track about returning home to your loved ones after extended time away. But, Gary Clark Jr. loves the road… specifically, the solo road. “I Walk Alone” illustrates his 'lone wolf' status best, stating he'd rather cast aside a lover than let her fumble around in his darkness. “It's not your fault!” He exclaims soprano style, yet GCJR does have a point. Isn't being alone better than being misleading? Or worse, being absolutely miserable? Pleasantries have flown the coop in the public realm long ago, so might as well eradicate them in the private sector while we're at it. 

And, just when you thought Gary Clark Jr. couldn't pull more tricks out of his sleeve, he goes reggae. Songs like “Feeling Like A Million” and “Highway 71” elicit a traditional reggae beat, a bubble organ and more psychedelic reverb than a Marley can muster. The latter track is straight up dubby! After an evolved, twisting album journey, Gary Clark Jr. ends with his familiar blues guitar in “Dirty Dishes Blues”. The end track, yes, but it's more than that; it's a metaphor bridging the gap from Gary Clark Jr. at the start of his career to where his head's at now. To be honest, all the songs reflect personal growth in one way or another, exemplified visually as a blurry figure standing with guitar in hand on the album artwork. Caught in the limelight of fame, yet preferring the shadows, Gary Clark Jr.'s enigmatic existence finds a balance in This Land. Perhaps it's time we all become so transparent.

Purchase or stream This Land album:

Track listing:

  1. This Land
  2. What About Us
  3. I Got My Eyes On You
  4. I Walk Alone
  5. Feeling Like A Million
  6. Gotta Get Into Something
  7. Got To Get Up
  8. Feed The Babies
  9. Pearl Cadillac
  10. When I'm Gone
  11. Guitar Man
  12. Low Down Rolling Stone
  13. The Governor
  14. Don't Wait Til Tomorrow
  15. Highway 71
  16. Dirty Dishes Blues

Gary Clark Jr. New Music and Tour Trailor:

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/reviews/gary-clark-jr.-explores-all-genres-in-this-land-album

One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019: Day Two | Top Shelf Reggae

Returning to the rain-drenched fields of the Queen Mary Events Park for Day Two of the One Love Cali Reggae Festival, fans watched as Analea Brown kicked off the day on the SMKFLWR Stage, while The Holdup set off the KOI CBD Stage for another day of roots, rock and reggae. Up next on the side stage were local boys Ital Vibes keeping the fans moving, while Tomorrows Bad Seeds kept them rocking at the KOI CBD Stage.

Two days down and one epic day to go…

Philly man Mike Pinto returned again this year to play the SMKFLWR Side Stage, bringing his unique horn-centric ska, punk rock-reggae sound. On the KOI CBD Main Stage, Huntington Beach Pacific Dub boys kept the crowds going in the cold. The Expanders brought their classic 70’s and early 80’s reggae sounds to the SMKFLWR Stage as South Carolina based reggae-rock band The Movement took to the main stage midday.

The high-energy antics of the Mad Caddies riled up festivalgoers over on the SMKFLWR Stage while Matisyahu’s booming bass could be heard echoing out from the KOI CBD Stage, a bass that left your vision blurry and ears ringing. After reggae legend and dub music pioneer Lee Scratch Perry entertained the crowd, four-time One Love performers and fan favorites, Fortunate Youth, brought the crowds in droves to the KOI CBD Stage.

Continuing with the theme of reggae legends, Yellowman performed on the SMKFLWR Stage as east coast reggae-rock pioneers SOJA took to the main stage where the great Don Carlos joined them. Dispatch kept things hopping until the Dirty Heads turned the energy up to the next level. The ever-positive vibes of Pato Banton filled the air on the SMKFLWR Stage, while the distinct ska, punk, funk and soul sounds of Fishbone closed that stage down for the night. Closing out the KOI CBD Stage, Ocean Beach heroes Slightly Stoopid brought their reggae-rock sound to a packed crowd, as Don Carlos joined them. Two days down and one epic day to go, stay tuned for Day Three highlights coming soon! 

Photography by Sean McCracken

Recap article by Jenni Lynne

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/one-love-cali-reggae-fest-2019-day-two

Arizona Roots 2019: Day One | Top Shelf Reggae

California Roots and reggae-rock fans flocked in fleets to the Rawhide Events Center in Chandler, Arizona for Day One of the newly formed Arizona Roots Festival. The morning of February 8th was a slightly chilly one, yet that did not deter festivalgoers to show up bright and early for local band Rilen' Out and Katchafire, all the way from New Zealand! Split between a main stage and a smaller side stage, this wild west-themed sister fest of Cali Roots was already off to a brilliant start.

…this wild west-themed sister fest of Cali Roots was already off to a brilliant start.

A staple of AZ Roots is showcasing local talent, which continued in full fashion on the side stage with The Yoties followed by the fun-loving bunch known as Black Bottom Lighters. The main stage welcomed Trevor Hall before the GRAMMY-nominated talent of J Boog took over to much applause. With glorious colors stretching across the sky at sunset, Mike Love closed down the side stage preaching messages of love and respect for all humans before the highly-animated hip hop duo Atmosphere hyped up the night. Switching between holding up middle fingers with holding up each other's hands in unity, Slug of Atmosphere's conscious rap evoked raw emotion for all. Last, but far from least as it was only Day One, Cali Roots veterans Rebelution became the first headliner of AZ Roots! Stay tuned for Day Two coverage coming soon.

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/arizona-roots-2019-day-one