Archive for December, 2015

Editor’s Picks: Top Tunes of 2015

Posted in Reggae Roots Music | Comments Off on Editor’s Picks: Top Tunes of 2015


At the start of 2015, after publishing our 2015 Most Anticipated Albums feature, I was excited about new music dropping in the New Year. After hearing a couple albums with some key songs that I loved, I decided to dump those songs into a custom playlist titled Top 2015 Songs. To prevent a bloated playlist, I decided over the year that I would only select songs that I found an organic and lasting connection with. There were songs I initially selected, but later removed when I found myself skipping it within the playlist.

By the end of the year my playlist only consisted of 8 total songs that I considered to be my Top Tunes of 2015. These are 8 songs that I continue to play tirelessly. When I look back at 2015, these are the 8 songs that I will play as my soundtrack for the year. I hope you guys enjoy the songs as much as I still do. I provided links to purchase the music and I hope you create the same playlist I did.

Believe it or not, 8,760 hours in a year is not enough time to listen, and really absorb all of the new music that dropped in 2015 – and there was a lot of it I was unable to get to. Below, in the order of their release date, are the 8 songs that I came away loving in 2015.

Editor’s Picks: Top Tunes of 2015


1.) New Kingston – “Can’t Stop A Man”

Album: Kingston City
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

Out of Brooklyn, NY, New Kingston is the real deal and their album Kingston City was one of the better records of 2015. “Can’t Stop A Man” was my New Year anthem for getting shit done; be it in the gym, chores around the house, BBQ with friends or dishing out content via The Pier. It’s a lyrical upbeat dance track with a fun hook encouraging me to stay productive because, as the title says, you Can’t Stop A Man.

I initially favored their song “I Believe In Me” for a lot of the same encouraging reasons, but I ultimately found myself returning to “Can’t Stop A Man”. Kingston City was New Kingston’s third studio album, their first with Easy Star Records, and in my opinion, their best album to date. If you’re not familiar with the group, this is a great first impression album to introduce yourself to.

The 3 brothers from Brooklyn, NY were able to include some guest features that include Tribal Seeds, Kimie Miner, France’s Dub Inc., Sister Carol, The Wailing Souls, and the late, great father of dancehall, Sugar Minott. While this list could have easily included 4 New Kingston songs, I made the decision to only choose what I felt was their best track and that was “Can’t Stop A Man”.

Listen: New Kingston – “Can’t Stop A Man”


2.) Riotmaker – “The Busted Crown”

Album: Welcome to Calirock
Release Date: February 20th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

From 1997-2005, Sacramento, CA boasted a band by the name of Shakedown. The group played Reggae, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop and sold out most local venues with fans fully singing the groups top songs in unison at any given show. After the group broke up in 2005, lead-vocalist guitarist Jeffry Valerio eventually found his new band, Riotmaker, who this past February released their debut record, Welcome to CaliRock.

The bulk of this album was inspired and emotionally driven by Jeffry’s departure from Shakedown. I have to admit, I was a HUGE Shakedown fan and have always loved Jeffry’s vocal style. Like he did with Shakedown more than 10 years ago, Jeffry carries a unique and soulful vocal delivery that comes across as dark, but hopeful with an emotional struggle for whats been lost or taken. This was emphasized on his new song “The Busted Crown” and the more I connected with its emotion, the more I kept pressing play on the track. There was a period where I played this song just about everyday for 3-4 months. The song played to the depth of my own emotions of what I was going through and I related through the songs battle-cry. It’s the unforced emotion that comes through that I picked up on and ran with.

When I spoke with Jeffry, he told me that: “I actually started writing the music to ‘The Busted Crown’ years ago in 2003. Shakedown was performing with LB Shortbus in San Francisco, CA. I was back-stage in the dressing room drinking Jack Daniels and jammin’ with Eric Wilson (Sublime / LB Shortbus). I was rockin’ acoustic guitar and Eric was on acoustic bass. I never did anything with the song until 2010 when I finished it. It is about losing something you love. In this song, it is about me losing Shakedown which was the hardest thing I’ve been through.”

If you can, I’d even recommend buying Shakedown’s album Call It What You Want. It’s what I consider one of Reggae Rock’s best underground, lesser-known albums. It’s available for sale on CDbaby by clicking HERE! But first, give this song a listen as your first impression to see what you think of Riotmaker’s debut record.

Listen: Riotmaker – “The Busted Crown”


3.) The Skints – “This Town” (ft. Tippa Irie Horseman)

Album: FM
Release Date: March 6th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

Time to sound like a biased fan-boy. East London’s The Skints, in my opinion, dished out the best album of the year that included one of the best collaboration tracks I’ve ever heard. The album was FM and the collaboration I’m speaking of is “This Town” that features Tippa Irie and Horseman. The song has 5 different vocalists and in no way does the song feel crowded or bloated. It’s a hometown anthem displaying hometown pride with lyrical swagger over a rocksteady riddim. I’m from Oceanside, CA and I have to admit I often swap out the lyrics of “London City”, during the hook, for my hometown of “O’side City” when singing the song out-loud.

Here’s what The Skints guitarist/vocalist, Joshua Waters Rudge had to say about the track: “‘This Town’ is a song we wrote in the studio at Prince Fatty’s about our hometown. It was an honour and a privilege to work with two of the greatest reggae artists to ever come from London, Tippa Irie and Horseman, on this one. Their energy and musicality is inspiring and I think the fun we had making the tune is definitely what drove the whole thing. Showing love to home and sound system summer’s day flavour was the way we wanted to set the album off.”

Like New Kingston mentioned above, this is The Skints third full length studio album and their first with Easy Star Records. There are many strong songs on this London radio tribute record, but “This Town” was the tone setter and head turner. Even their music video for the song is bad-ass! Give the song a listen by watching the video and take my word for it – their album is worth exploring, starting with this track.

Watch: The Skints – “This Town” (ft. Tippa Irie Horseman)


4.) Ethan Tucker – “This Has All Been A Dream”

Album: Misunderstood
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

I don’t know if Ethan Tucker knows this or not, but he’s an old soul with an emphasis on soul. His latest album, Misunderstood, is indicative of that. The marriage between his heart poetic lyrics is what stands out on the album, much less this particular track. My only complaint for the song is that it’s not longer. It’s because the track is short and sweet that it encourages me to click replay as much as I have to keep reliving the songs sentiment. Sometimes songs just grab you with its soul and relatable tone. This Has All Be A Dream includes the magic of feeling as if you just dissolved from the cloud you sat on when the song suddenly ends; just as quick as the dream you wish you never woke from.

With some songs, you have to be in a certain mood to listen, but with this track, the mood of the song finds you and takes over.

Our own Kit Chalberg summed it up the best in his Album Review of Misunderstood when he described this particular song as: “Tucker at his best; a simply approached arrangement that focuses on his vocals and storytelling. This heart-breaker of a tune is lyrically the strongest on the album—and the dynamics created by the piano and cello come together to create a sound that almost mesmerizes the listener.”

Misunderstood stands as his first fully produced record. Tucker collaborated with producer Mario C. (Beastie Boys, Slightly Stoopid), mentor Michael Franti and Stoopid Records to bring Misunderstood to life.

Listen: Ethan Tucker – “This Has All Been A Dream”


5.) The Late Ones – “Hi Power”

Album: Revelate EP
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

Back in February, The Pier, (including myself, David Norris Blake Taylor), was invited out by EKM Records to Honolulu, HI to a private listening party of theirs to introduce us to some of the up and coming artists they work with (You can read about that trip HERE).

Among the groups that we first met that night were The Late Ones who made an immediate impression. As individuals, they were high energy, all positive and very embracing to everyone around them. They were the first to greet us as we entered the venue and continued to hang out with us the rest of the evening, before and after their set. They felt like familiar strangers. We had never met them before, but it was as if we knew them for years after interacting.

On stage, they performed a blend of Roots inspired Reggae with Hip-Hop and 3-Part harmonies, rich with soul and RB. My first impression was they were very similar to The Green New Kingston, only The Late Ones carry more of a hip-hop influence. A few months later and I was able to get my hands on their debut 6 track EP titled Revelate and I couldn’t believe how mature their sound was for a new and young group. “Hi Power” was the instant stand-out track and displayed the potential these guys have to grow as young artists.

The Late Ones recorded their debut EP at Sea Major Seven Studio in Honolulu, HI with engineer Noah Cronin and producers Lapana Ieriko and Klandon Fetaui.

Here’s what the group had to say with regards to the track: “‘Hi Power’ is a message for the youth to be wise and make good conscious decisions. Be smart, and open minded to the world that we are all a part of. Sonically, we wanted to capture our fun and chill vibe, as well as the laid back and easy-going lifestyle that we live in coming from Hawaii. Hi Power… living in higher thoughts.”

Listen: The Late Ones – “Hi Power”


6.) Slightly Stoopid – “Come Around”

Album: Meanwhile… Back At The Lab
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

Most of my favorite Slightly Stoopid songs are ones where both singers, Kyle McDonald Miles Doughty, trade vocals over a song. Guest appearances are cool and make for great, exciting collaborations, but the songs where both singers are cutting up the track tend to be the ones I press play on the most. On their 2015 release, Meanwhile… Back at the Lab that came in the form of track 10, a song called, “Come Around”.

In 2014, the band came straight off a flight from their South American Tour to NYC. That’s where Jerry Wonda, known for working with The Fugees and Wyclef Jean, engineered an impromptu late night/early morning session at Platinum Sound, yielding the collaborative “Come Around.”

The song feels like it could be the official genre’s concert anthem. I play this song ahead of most reggae-rock shows that come through town. It doesn’t matter if its Slightly Stoopid or not, the song is put on as my pre-show track getting in the mindset of going out to an event with the track being amplified from the nearest sound system. It’s all in the lyrics, and the tone of the bass heavy song that includes likable elements of Hip Hop and Reggae accented with some horns. I had an instant connection with the song from an album that was very rich with musical depth.

Listen: Slightly Stoopid – “Come Around”


7.) Iration – “Stay Awake”

Album: Hotting Up
Release Date: August 28th, 2015
Purchase Album HERE!

The worse part about “Stay Awake” is when I’m caught singing along to the chorus on full blast while driving with my windows rolled down. I dare you to listen to the song and not sing a long. This song may actually be my favorite one of the year. It is so goddamn likable, relatable, fun to play loud and even more fun to sing along to.

Apparently, the song was initially written by Iration’s newest member, Micah Brown. Here’s what guitarist/vocalist Micah Pueschel had to say, explaining the songs origin with Micah Brown: “He had the basic form, like the verses and chordage and stuff, and we all liked it, so then he finally brought it to Dave and they hashed it out together at his studio in LA. They made a basic demo track that’s similar to what you hear on the record. I ended up writing the second verse for the final version of the song, but what’s really cool about this track is that it’s not the kind of song that I would have written. It’s a totally different style, and I think it’s good to have that. That was kind of a Micah Brown original thing that ended up becoming an Iration collabo. It’s very unique in the way it sounds and that’s what I love about it. You can really hear Micah’s influence on that track.”

Micah Brown is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter and overall musician. He joined Iration shortly after Kai Rediske left the group back in 2013. Brown originally joined the group to provide back-up vocals and guitar while touring. He has since evolved his role within the group and now his influence is being heard with “Stay Awake” and I fucking love it!

Listen: Iration – “Stay Awake”


8.) Rootz Underground – “Rootz Underground”

Album: Return of the Righteous Vol. 1
Release Date: November 6th, 2015
Purchase Album: Click HERE!

Rootz Underground was sitting on “Return of the Righteous Vol. 1 for more than a year before it was finally released. I remember mentioning this album in our 2014 Most Anticipated Albums feature, but the album was apparently shelved before being released this past November.

What makes this relevant is I first heard their song “Rootz Culture” back in the summer of 2013 and while the production of the song has changed and evolved, my immediate connection with the track never wavered. The original version of the song can be heard in the Youtube clip below. Unfortunately, there’s not an option to post the newer version, so I guess you will just have to take my word that it was one of my favorite of 2015, and go buy it!

The song is bubbly and upbeat with lyrics that trigger pride and emotion for your upbringing and background. You don’t have to have a red-yellow-green Rasta upbringing to relate to this song. What I took away from the track is that you need to be true to yourself, display respect for your heritage, your name and those who held it before you. So as the song requests, GIVE ME MY ROOTZ CULTURE!

Listen: Rootz Underground – “Rootz Culture” [2014]


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Article by: Mike Patti

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2015 at 2:02 pm and is filed under easy star records, Slightly Stoopid, Special Features, Topic Articles.
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The Pier’s NYE Weekend Show Locator!

Posted in Reggae Roots Music | Comments Off on The Pier’s NYE Weekend Show Locator!

Wow, another year gone already! It is that time of year again to close out the last 12 months and get ready to bring on the next 12. Some of us like to do that with a quiet fun night enjoying friends and family but most of us will be heading out to party. Check out this edition of The Pier’s NYE Weekend Show Locator to help decide where to go to keep the party going throughout the long holiday weekend.

New Year’s weekend always gets the shows pumped back up after the winter show slowdown and this year is definitely no exception. Thursday night is jam-packed with countless shows and New Year’s Eve celebrations all around the country. Festivities will be taking place just about everywhere whether you’re on the West Coast for the Aggro New Years Eve Bash and Slightly Stoopid’s NYE Party; or the East Coast for Panda NYE , Light Up Amelia’s NYE Shrimp Drop, and First Night Pittsburgh; or the MidWest for Iowa’s NYE Extravaganza.

The West Coast will be getting irie this weekend with two fun shows. In SoCal, The Aggrolites will be hosting their annual Aggro New Years Eve Bash with The Inciters and The Steady 45s on the Eastside with the unique atmosphere of Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. Or, head up Highway 101 to the City by the Bay for Slightly Stoopid’s New Year’s Party. Slightly Stoopid will be performing at 86-year-old The Warfield Theatre with special guests Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (KDTU). As Stoopid’s unofficial 8th band member, expect lots of collaboration with Karl Denson during both bands sets. While Stoopid has the rest of the weekend off, KDTU will be continuing the Fantastic Fall Tour to the East Coast. Fans can catch KDTU at the Phunkin’ Phish after-show at Irving Plaza on Friday followed by the Ardmore Music Hall on Saturday.

The East Coast will not be left out this weekend though. First Night Pittsburgh will be taking to the streets of Pittsburgh. Spawning 14-blocks of the Cultural District, festivities will be inside theaters, galleries, unique spaces, and along city streets. The Wailers performance may compete for highlight of the night (of course competing against the Ball Drop Countdown) despite the chilly forecast. For a warmer event, check out Light Amelia’s NYE Shrimp Drop with Zach Deputy at the downtown waterfront of Fernandina Beach, Florida. Lastly, East Coasters can prepare for Friday’s KDTU and Phish shows with Panda NYE in New York. The Historic German House in Rochester will be the stage for Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and extended family with special guests Danielle Ponder The Tomorrow People and Funknut. There will be plenty to do all day and night before and after the event with Three Heads Brewing hosting a beer tasting before the show, an acoustic jam following the show, and a later night party following that.

Get out have fun lots of fun this long weekend but please be safe and don’t drink and drive!

Remember to come by here every single Thursday to see what shows are going on for the entire weekend. You may also view our built-in Show Locator, where you can search by artist view all of their upcoming shows, with options to purchase tickets for select shows!

New Year’s Eve – Thursday, December 31st

Aggro New Years Eve Bash featuring The Aggrolites, The Inciters, and The Steady 45s
@ Alex’s Bar. Long Beach, CA

B-Side Players
@ Moe’s Alley. Santa Cruz, CA

Dirty Heads
@ The Piazza at Schmidts. Philadelphia, PA

Fat Freddy’s Drop
@ McEwan Park. Lower Hutt, New Zealand (Bays The Album Tour)

Fear Nuttin Band with more
@ Pearl Street. Northampton, MA

First Night Pittsburgh featuring The Wailers
@ Highmark Stage. Pittsburgh, PA

John Brown’s Body with 10 Ft. Ganja Plant and Selector JBo
@ The Sinclair. Cambridge, MA

Katchafire with Sons Of Zion, The Black Seeds, Kora, and Ladi 6
@ Riwaka Hotel. Motueka, New Zealand

Light Up Amelia’s NYE Shrimp Drop featuring Zach Deputy
@ Downtown Waterfront. Fernandina Beach, FL *7pm

Nahko and Medicine for the People with Dustin Thomas, Max Ribner, and Tim Snider
@ McDonald Theatre. Eugene, OR (Winter Tour)

NYE Extravaganza! featuring Jon Wayne and the Pain with Mumford’s and Doctor Murdock
@ DG’s Tap House. Ames, IA

New Years Eve Party featuring Slightly Stoopid with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
@ The Warfield Theatre. San Francisco, CA

Panda NYE featuring Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, The Tomorrow People, and more
@ The Historic German House. Rochester, NY

Passafire with Lullwater
@ Barrelhouse South. Savannah, GA

SOJA with Collie Buddz and Etana
@ Jannus Live. St Petersburg, FL (New Year 2016 Tour)

Spiritual Rez
@ Tight Lines. Morehead City, NC

Sun-Dried Vibes with Of Good Nature and Lovely Budz
@ The Rabbit Hole. Charlotte, NC

Tarrus Riley with Dean Fraser Blak Soil Band
@ Ayva Center. Houston, TX

The 36OLY NYE Massive featuring Ethan Tucker
@ The Heritage Room. Olympia, WA

The Bastard Suns
@ Sports Page. Satellite Beach, FL (New Years Tour)

The Movement
@ The Hull Bay Hideaway. St Thomas, VI

The Supervillains
@ West End Trading Company. Sanford, FL

Zach Deputy
@ The Green Turtle Tavern. Fernandina Beach, FL *9pm

New Year’s Day – Friday, January 1st

Phunkin’ Phish After-Show featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
@ Irving Plaza. New York, NY (Fantastic Fall Tour / Phish Concert After-Show)

Nahko and Medicine for the People with The Routine
@ Belly Up Tavern. Solana Beach, CA (Winter Tour)

SOJA with Collie Buddz and Etana
@ Florida Theatre. Jacksonville, FL (New Year 2016 Tour)

The Bastard Suns
@ Cunningham’s. Vero Beach, FL (New Years Tour)

Zach Deputy
@ Stratton Mountain Resort. Stratton Mountain, VT

Saturday, January 2nd

Jon Wayne and the Pain with Mumford’s and Doctor Murdock
@ Zorbaz. Detroit Lakes, MN

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
@ Ardmore Music Hall. Ardmore, PA (Fantastic Fall Tour)

Katchafire with Sons Of Zion, The Black Seeds, Kora, and Ladi 6
@ Butlers Reef. Taranaki, New Zealand

Nahko and Medicine for the People with HIRIE
@ Belly Up Tavern. Solana Beach, CA (Winter Tour)

Seedless with Arise Roots, Thrive and Ital Vibes
@ House of Blues. Anaheim, CA

SOJA with Collie Buddz and Etana
@ Riverfront Park. Cocoa, FL (New Year 2016 Tour)

Spiritual Rez
@ Gypsy Sallys. Washington, DC

The Bastard Suns
@ Swampgrass Willys. Palm Beach Gardens, FL (New Years Tour)

The Movement
@ The Dog House. St Thomas, VI

Zach Deputy with Roots of Creation
@ Toad’s Place. New Haven, CT

Sunday, January 3rd

SF 49ers Pre-Game Concert featuring Iration
@ Levi’s Stadium. Santa Clara, CA (2015 Gameday Concert Series)

SOJA with Collie Buddz and Etana
@ Revolution Live. Fort Lauderdale, FL (New Year 2016 Tour)

The Movement
@ The Hull Bay Hideaway. St Thomas, VI



-If you’re a group that would like to be included in The Pier Weekend Show Locator, submit your shows in a direct email request to before Tuesday of each week to make our weekly Thursday publish!

Show Locator Article By: Eric Schoep


Check out the weekend’s posters…

Aggro New Years Eve

B Side Players

Dirty Heads

Ethan Tucker

Fat Freddy's Drop Bays The Album Tour

Fear Nuttin Band

First Night Pittsburg


John Brown's Body


Light Up Amelia's NYE Shrimp Drop

Nahko Winter Tour

New Years Party featuring Slightly Stoopid

Panda NYE



Spiritual Rez

Sun-Dried Vibes

Tarrus Riley

The Bastard Suns New Years Tour

The Black Seeds

The Movement

The Supervillains

Zach Deputy

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe Fantastic Fall Tour

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2015 at 8:40 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Buffett performs at the BAZ Bar in St. Barts

Posted in Jimmy Buffett News | Comments Off on Buffett performs at the BAZ Bar in St. Barts

Jimmy Buffett joined Darian Cunning in St. Barts at his friend’s BAZ Bar on December 26th, 2015 and sang a bunch of his favorites, including Margaritaville (video courtesy Edmund Gudenas).

Some pictures are available at SBH Online (thanks to EddyG).

buffett-bazbar2 buffett-bazbar3


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Watch Jimmy Buffett perform live on New Years Eve

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Watch Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band perform live from Brooklyn NY on Thursday December 31st on Margaritaville.TV. The pre-show starts at 10:00 PM Eastern, and the show starts at approximately 10:30 PM Eastern. You can also watch Jimmy Buffett on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2016” on ABC. Buffett is scheduled to perform “Margaritaville” right after the ball drops at midnight, ringing in the start of 2016.



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What Is Trop Rock Music?

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Music and events that happen in Key West as observed by Chris Rehm. “What Happens in Key West Stays in Key West” Wrong! Everyone wants to know what’s happening in Key West!

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Top Buffett News Story of 2015

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It’s been another busy year for Jimmy Buffett. Help us with the top story for 2015 by voting for your favorite.

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Ready for 2016 in Destin

Posted in Island Enthusiasts | Comments Off on Ready for 2016 in Destin

Was Santa good to you this year? We had a good Christmas celebration in our household. Of course Sunshine Cindy cooked too much food. Chaos enjoyed her first Christmas with us. All in all it was a good day.

There has not been too much else going on. I did stop in at Landshark Pizza a couple of times. The first time was when I got off work on Wednesday. I am now off till January 4th too. Then I went back to watch the Browns game on Sunday. They lost again but played better. Other than that, we didn’t get out much due to the holiday.

It was announced today the Emerald Coast Parrot Head club will be holding their monthly meeting at Landshark Pizza starting in January. I think this will be a good marriage between the club and Landshark.

There were a lot of tourist in town for the holiday. I guess a lot of folks want to come to the beach. Our weather has been warm and humid. I know around the country the weather has been strange due to El Nino but I am not complaining about warm weather. We actually have had our air condition running and I had the top down on BadAss3 the other day. Alas all good things must come to an end and we will be back to more seasonal weather by the end of the week.

To all of our friends…Crab Island Mambo wants you to “Embrace the Chaos” but have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve celebration. Sunshine Cindy and I hope your 2016 is the best year yet for you!!! See ya next Monday with a recap of the week.

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Surprise! Billboard’s Reggae Artist of the Year is…

Posted in Reggae Roots Music | Comments Off on Surprise! Billboard’s Reggae Artist of the Year is…

Joss Stone. Wait, what? Is this a “Steve Harvey Miss Universe” joke? No, it is not. You may be just as surprised as us but this news even floated under The Pier radar. This brings up a lot of concerns and mixed emotions with reggae fans ranging from genre-hopping to politics and even race. So of course, The Pier decided to dig in on some of these touchy topics to see what we could find.

Joss Stone – Water For Your Soul

jossstoneJoss Stone, the soulful English singer-songwriter, released her seventh studio album earlier this year in July, Water For Your Soul, under her own Stone’d Records. The album is her first dabble in reggae and features well-known artist Damian “Jr Gong” Marley as co-producer and in collaboration on two of the tracks. Stone is a well-known genre-hopper who has tried the likes of soul, RB, folk, pop, and more. Stone claims this album was inspired and encouraged by Marley after previous work in “supergroup” SuperHeavy which included Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, and A.R. Rahman in addition to Marley and Stone. Stone used these various connections to bring a number of other artist collaborations to enhance the reggae sound of her album including Barrington Levy, Cocoa Tea (Calvin George Scott), Dennis Bovell, and Marlon “Ganja Farmer” Asher.

The fact that a first-timer taking a try at reggae took Artist of the Year caused quite a stir in the reggae community and in social media. Fusion of genres in music is one thing; taking bits and pieces of different genres as influence and making it your own is one thing but this album seems to be a significant overstep in the eyes of many. Most of us are asking “how does a non-reggae artist top the reggae charts?” Well, that probably started back in October 2012 when the editors of Billboard decided to change things up a bit. In 2012, Billboard made a drastic change to count more than just radio airplay; it decided to start counting digital sales and online streams in its tallies for many formats. This was also the time that RB and rap saw their first breakout into separate genres (see full article HERE) and the blending of genres truly began. Since then, fans and artists from numerous other genres have expressed their dislike over this new algorithm. These new calculations encourage artists to cross-over genres in order to achieve greater results in genres they may not fit in (just take Taylor Swift as an unfortunate example who has over saturated the market with her sound and can be found in pop charts, country charts, and who knows what else). Country and rap have long been fighting this battle and now it has overflowed into reggae.

But there have been some larger concerns expressed over this latest “Reggae Artist of the Year” determination. Jamaican reggae deejay, Bounty Killer, seemed outraged by the situation. Bounty took to Instagram after hearing the news and called out the Jamaican government for not doing what’s necessary to help preserve the reggae culture in Jamaica.

“What measures are implemented for a genre birthed on the island which is widely celebrated elsewhere, giving others the chance to benefit more than us? How many more Matisyahus, Eddie Murphys and Joss Stones will there be to benefit more than our people who do not fall short on talent?“
-Bounty Killer (from the Jamaican Observer)

Meanwhile, others feel it to be yet another example of the tensing race issues currently present in America.

“In a year when race, appropriation, and white privilege have been constant points of national conversation, one of the country’s biggest music media platforms continues to rub salt in the proverbial wound of the Black music-buying public.”
Stereo Williams, The Daily Beast (full article here)

But those are some very polarizing topics that we will leave at that. Should the music or achievements be determined or judged by race, wealth, or anything else besides the music itself? Let the music be music and ignore everything else…is it good? Do you like it? Then does anything else really matter?

As a reggae fan, keep in mind a few things when looking at these types of charts, rankings and awards. Who is making the decisions and what criteria are they using? In this case, Billboard has assigned a “case manager” to each genre who determines inclusion in each chart, and then each chart is ranked based on album sales throughout the year calculated by Billboard using numbers from Nielsen Music; it shows NO reflection of quality. They do not reflect who is actually listening to these albums (i.e. whether it’s a seasoned reggae fan or an existing fan of the artist from another genre who may not even like reggae) or anything else of merit besides Billboard’s numbers.

So how much do the Billboard Charts really matter? When looking closer, Water For Your Soul sold just 29,000 albums and was second overall of all reggae albums to Bob Marley and The Wailers greatest hits album, Legend, which sold over 191,000 in 2015 (but is considered a non-current cataloged title and therefore not part of the “current” charts). Bob Marley and The Wailers’ Easy Skankin in Boston ’78 was determined to be the #2 reggae album of 2015 resulting in the group also taking silver for Reggae Artist of the Year. Rebelution takes #3 for 2015 and Iration was bumped down to #5 by Gov’t Mule who took the #4 spot.

You, as a fan, should make your own determinations into what music is “best” or which album is “good” no matter the rankings. Besides, what other awards or recognition really matters besides The Annual Pier Awards?!

So what do you think? Who is your “Reggae Artist of the Year?” Make sure to comment below!


Related Links:
Billboard Charts Website
2015 Billboard Top Reggae Album Chart
2015 Billboard Top Reggae Artist Chart

Article By: Eric Schoep

This entry was posted on Monday, December 28th, 2015 at 12:06 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Video Premiere: Stick Figure – Smiles on Faces

Posted in Reggae Roots Music | Comments Off on Video Premiere: Stick Figure – Smiles on Faces

In celebration of the Holidays, Stick Figure has agreed to premiere their brand new music video for new song “Smiles on Faces” via The Pier! The song is off their new record Set In Stone that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Reggae chart and has since remained in the Top 5. The video was shot by Sam Medina and directed by Josue Rivas on location through Haight St. in San Francisco, CA with a dedicated group of Stick Figure fans. Stick Figure is gearing up for their 46 date tour that you can read about by clicking HERE! You can pick up Stick Figure’s new album, Set In Stone, on iTunes by clicking HERE! Enjoy the song and video…

This entry was posted on Friday, December 25th, 2015 at 2:18 am and is filed under Daily News, Stick Figure.
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Merry Christmas!!!

Posted in Island Enthusiasts | Comments Off on Merry Christmas!!!

Sunshine Cindy and I want to wish all of our friends a very Merry Christmas. We hope the holiday season brings you peace and joy.

It was pretty slow around Destin this past week. Sunshine Cindy and I went to Landshark Pizza Friday night for a while but that was about it. I did help Sunshine Cindy mix up about a ton of Trail Mix. It turned out very good too.

There continues to be a lot of new construction around Destin. The extended stay hotel by restaurant row is quickly going up. Same with the new condo on the beach on restaurant row. The other big condo project by Henderson is shaping up as well. This is going to be a huge complex.

There is a new building going up next to the new Goodyear Tire shop in front of Home Depot. It is a new Wendy’s. The original Wendy’s in Destin is old and outdated. This new place is going to replace the old one.

A few years ago a Dolly Parton owned company bought up a bunch of land in Destin off Commons Drive. There were reports a possible dinner theater was going to be built there. That all fell through and the land went back up for sale. This weekend I noticed the land is now listed as “contract pending.” I am curious as who might be looking at this land now. It is a big parcel that could become a major type of attraction. We shall see what develops.

Last week there was a big power outage in Destin. Something blew on a power pole across from Coyote Ugly. The traffic light at the Grande was out and there was no power all the way down to about Hogs Breath. Since the power trucks were taking up the inside lane on the westbound side of 98, the traffic backed up all the way past Big Kahuna’s. I was glad I was going the other way. All the places along the harbor had to close down. It was a weird sight not seeing any lights along that stretch of road.

We had a few days of colder temps but now it’s warming back up. We are projected to be at 78 for Christmas. I will take it!

Everyone have a good holiday. See ya next Monday!!!

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