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What is American Reggae?
that American reggae is going to be the major force behind reggae music’s resurgence in the near future; at the rate at which American Reggae is
growing and getting better one can see why industry experts make such predictions about American Reggae
But what is
American Reggae really? Honestly is there even such a thing as American Reggae? Indeed there is such a thing
as American Reggae, and it has a different flavour from Jamaican reggae and most of the other reggae music
played around the globe.
wanting to be, American Reggae and music industry is the main driving force behind reggae music, in fact
behind music in general. They may not have the biggest reggae festivals
in the world but America can not be beat on the amount of reggae shows they put on yearly. And they are growing in numbers.
Most of the
reggae lovers in America are
from California. They just love their reggae
many reggae bands are based there also.
If you have a reggae based website you will already know that most of the
visitors to your site are from America and most are based in California.
Reggae is influence by all the reggae styles from around the world but, mostly by the different genres of
music in America itself. These genres include Hip Hop, Pop,
Country (believe it or not), Blues, Rock, R&B, Soul, and all the other genres you can think of.
If you listen to the hit song I wanna be a billionaire by Travie McCoy and
Bruno Mars and many of Sean Kingston’s song you will see what I mean.
Reggae music is fresh and modern, simply because most of those who are involved are not your typical reggae
player or singer. They come to the table with no inhibitions. Hence, they are more willing
to experiment thus, making the music ever more unique and interesting.
American Reggae Bands
Iration is one
American Reggae Band everybody who loves reggae should be checking out. They come from out of
Hawaii (reggae by the way is probably
the most popular music there) and they play some what of a reggae rock kind of music.
Time Bomb, the
bands first number-one album topped the US iTunes charts for a few weeks and relegated Bob Marley to second
you believe that? So do yourself a favour and check them out.
Another of the
American Reggae Bands people should be checking out is Rebelution. If you haven’t heard their
hit single Feeling Alright, then you will have to go listen to it to hear what you have been
missing. They are from Santa Barbara California and have been around since 2004.
another good American Reggae Band.
And like Iration they are also from Hawaii. The reggae they play is more
rock influenced which is expected since they are more of a rock based band. Check them out for a bit of
While you are
at it make sure you listen to some of Sublime’s reggae songs. They are
big on reggae and have been getting many rave reviews for their music. They do a mixture of reggae and rock but I prefer their reggae stuff. Have fun! Click the link for more on how to play rock influenced american reggae other types of reggae
I want to thank Ross for his email input and constructive
criticism. Such good natured gestures are very welcome. I have posted some of what he had to say
below. Hope it will be of benefit to you all, it was to me. Thanks again Ross and big up where ever
"Interesting site. Personally, although I play rock guitar, I tend to keep it out of
my reggae, playing it only when in my view it adds to the impact and intent of the overall music.
Although I'm in California, I really don't like reggae-rock or "Cali-reggae" as some call it. imho most
of it has as much to do with reggae as Howdy Doody does with Haile Selassie. Most of the musicians
don't really penetrate the tribal aspect of reggae or the consciousness that bonafide reggae aspires
to, and it becomes punkazoidal frat-rock with a skank guitar to fool the ignorant (often, themselves)
into thinking it has something to do with reggae. These guys wanna go show themselves off onstage when
what they should be doing is intensively woodshedding and listening to the Studio One, Treasure Isle,
Randy's, Channel One etc. Jamaican classics and really penetrating how the instruments work together to
achieve a 'tribal' sound and how every instrument is really a riddim instrument. After learning that,
then and ONLY then can they successfully branch out and incorporate reggae into American music, be it
rock, jazz or whatever. It's what the Beatles and Rolling Stones did with the R&B and blues songs
they loved. The Aggrolites, Slackers and Expanders are examples of successful American reggae. Strictly
Stoopid, Pecker, the Excrementables just don't get it. Rebelution's not as bad but still has a ways to
go. Anyhow, those are my sincere if opinionated takes on the state of roots reggae today, based on over
35 years of listening, playing professionally and simply loving the music and its creators. Bless up
still, this is a self-admitted beginners' site, but it could be so much more. Example: you talk about
'chuck' or skank guitar, but that's certainly not the only role of guitar in reggae (although bands
like the Expendables with their guitars all playing a distorted skank (poorly at that) seem to think it
is). You should mention both the 'pick bass' guitar that percussively shadows or plays around the
bassline, created by early JA guitar greats like Hux Brown and Lynn Tait; and the clean, melodic, fluid
guitar figures typified by guitarists like Earl "Chinna" Smith and Dwight Pinkney. I hope this helps a