Relix Review of “Punky Reggae Party”

IMG_5057FullSizeRender

Hearing reggae songs sans vocals is always an interesting experience.  But, without words to draw listeners in, interesting can’t always equal good, especially if the band lacks chemistry and forgets the cardinal rule; Riddim first. Thankfully, New York-based band Island Head gets the vibe right with Punky Reggae Party, featuring mostly a choice selection of Bob Marley covers.  Blessed with a seasoned line-up of reggae and R&B vets, including drummer Billy Messinetti, keyboardist David Frank, and guitarists Andy Bassford and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung, the band digs into classics as the title track, “I Shot The Sheriff” and the original laid-back jam “Reggae Island”.  The band frequently flexes their muscles a bit on solos, but their vocal-like quality feels tasteful and natural – always rocking steady and never forgetting to keep the party going.  James Haag – Relix Magazine

Island Head Live at The Falcon video

Watch the video highlights from one of our live shows: https://youtu.be/W_HGeF5uv3A

Island Head Live at the Falcon

IMG_4731
Island Head Live at The Falcon

Island Head played to a packed SRO crowd at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY this past Saturday night. The band featured Timmy Cappello on sax and lead vocals, Andy Bassford as well as reggae legend Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung on guitars, bandleader Billy Messinetti on drums, Jeff Ganz on bass, James K. Smith on trumpet (subbing for Don Harris) and Mitch Margold on keyboards (subbing for David Frank).  Both James and Mitch have played with Island Head before so the reggae groove had the right pulse!

The band played their versions of classic Bob Marley songs as performed on their album “Punky Reggae Party” as heard on SiriusXM radio The Joint.   Other songs performed included “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops, “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan and the classic “House of The Rising Sun”.

They surprised the audience with two new songs to the set. “Take Me To The River” was done uptempo to almost a ska beat.  One of the most interesting arrangements was the band’s rendition of Richie Haven’s Woodstock classic “Freedom” to a soca-like groove. Timmy tore the house down with these two songs.  Whew!!

Check back here at IslandHeadReggae.com for information about getting a copy of the live recording of the show.

“What a piece of art!” – DJ Paulo Matos Reggae Portugal

The latest review of the album “Punky Reggae Party” by Island Head is by DJ Paulo Matos from Solar FM “Reggae Portugal”.

“What a piece of art!”
“I confess that this is one of the best tributes/instrumental tribute to the immortal songs of Marley The Wailers I ever heard until today!  Arrangements and Production are first-class.  This Sunday I will feature the album in Portugal Reggae program.  Not to be missed.”

Confesso que esta è uma das melhores homenagens / tributo instrumental às canções imortais de Marley & The Wailers que jà ouvi atè hoje !  Arranjos e Produção de 1a Classe.  Este domingo no programa Reggae Portugal.  A não perder.

Listen to his station with this link:  Solar FM Reggae Portugal –  DJ Paulo Matos

Island Head Reggae Band

HEAR WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT ISLAND HEAD

“One of the 25 Best Reggae Albums of 2013” – Midnight Raver Blog

ISLAND HEAD ALBUM GIF

“What a piece of art!”  DJ Paulo Matos Host of “Reggae Portugal”

“Island Head is an important project to reggae. It’s always great to have substantive, high art.  This work contributes to reggae’s growth. Reminds others of what it really is and what is still possible.  I feel so especially blessed to share this brilliant work with our audience.”  – Pat McKay, SiriusXM program director for “The Joint”

“Inspired concept, great playing and a real feel for the music makes Island Head’s ‘Punky Reggae Party’ a top quality, excellent release highly recommended to strengthen the heart and soothe the soul. A winner!” – Chuck Foster, Reggae Grammy Screening Committee/Host of “Reggae Central” on KPFK-LA

“Island Head musicians tastefully demonstrate that a fresh perspective can still be brought to Bob Marley music.” – Dermot Hussey, Legendary Jamaican Radio Personality

“Island Head are one of the few bands that have an original take on the music, Hipreggaejazzrockvibe.” – Cableman Dan, “Reggae & World Rhythms” on WNTI-FM

These musicians can play…they feel this music. It has a jazzy vibe to it. The strength of the songs, the talent of these musicians, and the organic connection they share with each other, keeps this album standing strong inna Babylon!” – Ras Michael, Midnight Raver

Island Head brings life to authentic reggae. No fluff, just great music.” – Chef Chrissy, Famous Jamaican Chef/Restaurateur/Reggae Connoisseur (hosted live Island Head show)

ISLAND HEAD musicians are:

Andy Bassford: guitar     Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung: guitar     Timmy Cappello: sax

David Frank: keyboards   Don Harris: trumpet   Billy Messinetti: drums   Neil Jason: bass

Share this with your Twitter followers!

Reggae Hits Number One

The band Magic!, hailing from Totonto, Canada, brought reggae into the Billboard Hot 100’s number one spot with the reggae infused single “Rude”.  I’m not one who usually can predict hit pop singles these days but, I have to say that the first time I heard it I knew this would be BIG!  The song fuses contemporary reggae with dancehall and is certainly reminiscent of The Police. Congratulations to the band!

Sean Paul and Enrique Igleslas’ song “Bailando” is a Latin song with Sean’s reggae style vocals.  It was very smart for these two artists to collaborate and bring together the Latin and reggae audiences.  “Bailando” is also topping charts all over the world.

SOJA, the American reggae band from Virginia, currently has the number one reggae album on iTunes.  “Amid The Noise and Haste” was produced by GRAMMY award winning Jamaican producer Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend).  The album includes collaborations with Michael Franti and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.

Other reggae albums released recently worth noting are Rebelution’s “Count Me In” and and Ziggy Marley’s “Fly Rasta”.  Both albums include collaborations.  “Count Me In” has songs featuring Collie Buddz and Don Carlos and “Fly Rasta” features U-Roy, Beezy Coleman and Cedella Marley.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/punky-reggae-party/id542683344

“Reggae Island”

“So Much Trouble in the World” has gotten the most airplay of any track on the album “Punky Reggae Party” by Island Head.  Since it’s radio debut on SiriusXM in November 2012, that song has received the most attention and outsold the other songs on the album.  SiriusXM Channel 42 “The Joint” has made “Trouble” a regular play on the station along with all the top reggae acts.

This week there has been a shift.  Reggae fans are discovering the song “Reggae Island” and are showing their love by requesting plays on Spotify and buying it on iTunes.  Yes, there are still music fans willing to pay $.99 for music they like.

Here are comments about the song from a couple of DJs:

“This track makes me feel Irie…Good stuff” – DJ Neza (international DJ)

“Instantly puts you by the beach with your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand!” DJ Chucky D

Aloha! Hawaiian Reggae (blog)

In my last blog I discussed California reggae bands.  One artist that could have been included in that discussion is J Boog.  J’s blood line comes from Samoa and was born and raised in California.  Residing in Hawaii since 2006, his music is considered part of the reggae movement from the Hawaiian islands.  Boog has built up quite a following in Hawaii and some of his songs feature vocal performances from Richie Spice and Peetah (Morgan).

The Green is another reggae band from Hawaii who are doing extensive touring this spring including some dates in Hawaii with Bruno Mars.  That’s BIG!  They are doing a lot of dates in California including California Roots Festival in Monterey.  The Green will hit the east coast of USA with 2 of the bands from my last post, Rebelution and Iration.

Inna Vision, a band from Maui consider themselves “Hawaii’s underground roots, reggae ambassadors”.  They will be touring with reggae artists New Kingston and Tribal Seeds.

One more artist I want to mention is Mishka.  Based in Hawaii, this Reggae Pop star was born in Bermuda and raised in the Caribbean.  He music is more acoustic reggae with Caribbean and Hawaiian influences.

 

 

 

Chronixx Nudges Marley Out of Number 1(blog)

Chronixx released “The Dread & Terrible Project” today and nudged out the sitting king from the number one spot on the iTunes Top Reggae Albums chart.  Bob Marley’s “Legend” album just sits at number one and every once in a while a record comes out that will push it out of the top spot for a “minute”.

Chronixx, who has begun his European tour, was born and bred to be the success he is today.  His father is the Jamaican reggae artist Chronicle, who encouraged this young man to nurture his talent.

This next generation artist fuses together the best of what is old and new about reggae music and will help propel the genre forward.

Top Reggae Albums – March 2014 (blog)

I was checking out the iTunes Top Reggae Albums chart.  As usual, the top of the chart is dominated by Bob Marley, Bob Marley and The Wailers and we see the pre-sale of Ziggy Marley’s new release “Fly Rasta” at #3.  As you scan down the chart you can see the likes of Jamaican artists Collie Buddz, Shaggy, Gregory Isaacs, Sizzla, Barrington Levy, Toots and The Maytals, Jimmy Cliff and course Damian and Stephen Marley.

Then, there is the new generation of non-Jamaican reggae artists in the top 40 albums.  Most were born in California, USA.  Included in that list are Rebelution (Santa Barbara, Ca.), Iration (Isla Vista, Ca.) and Tribal Seeds (San Diego, Ca.).  I noticed one band omitted from the reggae chart that is very popular, also out of San Diego, the band Slightly Stoopid.  This band is listed under the Alternative music category but, certainly could be in the reggae genre.

Other reggae bands on the charts that are from the next generation American reggae artists/bands are SOJA, Matisyahu, J. Boog and The Green (both from Hawaii).

My band Island Head are an instrumental reggae band and most of us are from New York, Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung is from Kingston, Jamaica and David Frank is from Los Angeles, Ca.