Dangerously Roots (2014)

Duane Stephenson - Dangerously Roots

Genre: Reggae Roots

Singer songwriter Duane Stephenson has enlisted an all-star cast in the production of his new album Dangerously Roots. The album underscores Duane’s connection to reggae’s past and his place as a leader in its future. Duane’s unmistakable voice paired with world class productions from Clive Hunt, Dean Fraser, Christopher Birch, Phillip ‘Winta’ James and Donovan Germain distinguish this as one of the most significant new albums this year. Guest appearances from Tarrus Riley, I-Octane, Lutan Fyah and Mutabaruka add to the impact of the 14 song set.

Dopo aver passato gli ultimi tre anni in giro per il mondo come lead vocalist degli Original Wailers, Duane Stephenson torna  solista e lo fa al meglio con il suo nuovo album Dangerously Roots.  Duane dimostra tutta la sua classe in questo disco omogeneo composto da sole one drop songs, tra cui spiccano House of Lies con Lutan Fyah e l’acustica Juline cantata con I-Octane. Ottime anche le tunes Cool Runnings, cover della celebre song di Bunny Wailers e di cui vi linkiamo il videoclip su YouTube, e Rasta Far I, conscious song pubblicata già come singolo circa un anno fa.  

 

Tracklist

01. Rasta For-I     
02. Good Good Loving     
03. Nah Play     
04. Mutabaruka Intro     
05. Jah Reign     
06. Cool Runnings     
07. Juline feat. I Octane        
08. Simply Beautiful     
09. London Bridge     
10. House Of Lies feat. Lutan Fyah        
11. Come Right In     
12. Ghetto Religion feat. Tarrus Riley        
13. Dance For Me     
14. Sorry Babylon     
15. Run For Your Life     
16. Mutabaruka Outro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Duane Stephenson

Duane Stephenson

Duane Stephenson is more than just a reggae singer.  His work exhibits  the versatility of many of music’s greatest artists in the pop realm;  mixing poetic lyrics that address social ills, romance and global issues with excellent phrasing, potent hooks and melodic changes -  all delivered in an extremely nimble tenor that wakes the soul and challenges the mind.

Duane Stephenson’s work as a songwriter reflects contributions from a diverse group of industry veterans including a collaboration on “Better Tomorrow” with Jamaican mega-producer Handel Tucker creator of hits for Maxi Priest, Diana King, Shaggy and The Fugees.  “Better Tomorrow” is an uplifting ballad with world music influences and an optimistic message.  An accompanying video was directed by Ras Kassa the Guru director of Damian Marley’s Welcome To Jamrock and other innovative videos with Sean Paul, Richie Spice and Tarrus Riley.  The” Better Tomorrow” video features uplifting scenes of people striving to overcome obstacles and a sincere message of encouragement to those in the artistic community with scenes that include a ballet dancer,  as well as varied musicians including a full string section. 

Duane’s current album BLACK GOLD released on VP Records, is nominated for the 2010 Album of the Year at Jamaica’s EME (Excellence in Music & Entertainment) Awards.  “Rescue Me” the initial single from the BLACK GOLD album has maintained a top three chart position for several weeks, reaching #1 and the BLACK GOLD album has reached #1 on the Jamaica Music Countdown.   These songs are written with originality and profound intention as Duane explains,  “When we do an album, we do music that people can relate to because any situation you find yourself in, chances are someone else has found themselves in that situation.  It is real life situations, so the real life emotions come out, that is how it is.”

Duane wrote “A Step for Mankind”  with The Wailers to benefit the United Nations World Food Programme.  The track has become the anthem for global hunger eradication. The song is featured on Oniric Record’s Solutions for Dreamers: Season 3 which directly benefits the WFP, the song is most importantly a call to action for everyone to stand up against hunger and truly help mankind take a step in the right direction.  Duane was introduced to the Wailers through their work with the UN World Food Programme.

In October, 2010 Duane was invited by the World Food Programme to honor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the The George McGovern Leadership Award Ceremony as part of his work to raise awareness on the need for more action in addressing the issue of world hunger.  As for the scope of his contribution as a reggae artist and humanitarian, he explains: “What I am doing is part of a larger mandate. The more you can do to make the world a better place for everybody, it is really a pleasure to do the little bit that I am actually doing, the feeling is great.”
 
In the fall of 2010, Duane teamed up with The Wailers, led by Aston “Family Man” Barrett  performing as a special guest on tours throughout  North and South America. in Brazil he shared equal billing with Ky-mani Marley, Big Mountain, Pato Banton and The Wailers for the  One Life Tour. Recent shows have garnered a positive response with sold out performances for this compelling songwriter and versatile singer.   Festival performances in 2011 include the Rotterdam Reggae Festival in The Netherlands, Rockers Rockers Rockers in France, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in the United States.
 
Duane Stephenson’s second single from the BLACK GOLD release, “Sufferer’s Heights features vivid lyrical images in sung with conviction, backed by lush female harmonies, and punctuated by intricate horn lines.  Through these lyrics, Duane reminds the listener that although we may have financial concerns, there is a profound lack in the world’s under-served, “sufferer” communities, with the refrain, “things could be better, things could be worse….In a sufferer’s heights, the youths can’t find no dinner, and pure old clothes they dress up inna.”  

His debut recording, FROM AUGUST TOWN released on Cannon/VP Records and produced by reggae maestro and saxophonist Dean Fraser was heralded by Billboard magazine as one of six albums, “collectively galvanizing a roots reggae revival” with “lyrics that convey romantic longings and the anguish of ghetto realities with equal conviction.”   Pitchfork.com cited the album as “undoubtedly a highlight of not just 2008, but perhaps the past few years.”

His new album’s title  BLACK GOLD has its metaphorical roots in several areas, including the “representation of self-worth as a black person, and by extension Africa,” as Duane explains, “BLACK GOLD is also oil and we see how precious it is and how much abuse goes on to obtain it; people are suffering and yet we are spending millions on guns, bombs; instead of buying steel to make a house you buy it to make a gun.  The song and album title also speak to the value of our music, because it is black gold.”  As Duane reflects on the songwriting process for his second album, he notes, “I started to travel, meet new people and have new experiences; there is so much growth mentally, emotionally, and musically, I tried to encompass that growth into the songs on BLACK GOLD.”  And as for the messaging on the album he explains, “A record must have a purpose, and my ultimate purpose is to speak about what is happening but to ultimately leave people with hope.”

Collaborations on BLACK GOLD abound with some of reggae’s most innovative lyricists and such as dub poet Mutabaruka who speaks truth to power on the acoustic track, “Truth Is” or sparring for a woman’s affection with Gramps Morgan on the country music-influenced, “Rescue Me” or addressing issues facing Jamaica’s young girls with the outspoken Queen Ifrica recording the cover of Dennis Brown’s  “Stay at Home.”  

The collaboration with maestro Dean Fraser began when Duane Stephenson was the lead vocalist of the band To Isis, a role he filled for ten years before releasing his solo debut.  Duane first approached Dean to produce a To Isis album. Fraser, who has contributed to more than 1,000 albums in his career including chart-toppers by Luciano and Tarrus Riley, saw the raw talent in Duane, whose first hit song FROM AUGUST TOWN, chronicled the life experiences he had growing up in this area of Kingston, where he had watched many fall from violence and the ills of poverty.

Duane Stephenson was surrounded by music as a youth, his uncle Michael Rutherford was the lead singer of a popular group known as Sunny Bradshaw and the Big Band.  During his childhood he was encouraged to participate in music studies and attended Cathy Levy’s Little People and Team Players Club, a performing arts school based in Kingston, Jamaica.  Being a member of this club allowed Duane to travel extensively throughout Jamaica, The Caribbean and the United States where he performed for US president Bill Clinton.

Duane Stephenson creates music that uplifts and enlightens with a greater mission for the betterment of humanity.  Watch for his music and message, in celebration of his latest release BLACK GOLD.