AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ZIGGY MARLEY/MORE FAMILY TIME

Like the Blues, Reggae is a musical genre that has been embraced by music lovers and critics alike. In fact, Reggae has been appropriated into nearly every other musical genre, introducing listeners of all ages to the mystical rhythms from Jamaica. The Police’s early career was bolstered by their blend of Reggae and Pop/New Wave. Even the Eagles added a splash of Reggae to their massive hit single “Hotel California”. However, we can’t forget the Jamaican artists that brought Reggae to the forefront and straight into the charts: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Toots & The Maytals, Third World, Gregory Isaacs, and so many others. While Reggae has long been associated with the smoking of the ‘herb’, you don’t need to be under the influence to enjoy its joyful vibes. Those riddims are infectious!

As we all know, Bob Marley & The Wailers remain the most popular Reggae act of all time. Well, at least outside of Jamaica. Marley was a true musical pioneer, lifting the genre to a new level. Before Marley, Reggae wasn’t a household world. After Marley, every household owned at least one Reggae album… and it was probably LEGEND, the most popular Bob Marley compilation of all time. When Bob died in 1981, the world mourned with the Marley family and, while he didn’t create the genre, his spirit became one with genre – you can’t talk about Reggae without mentioning Bob Marley. Four years later, Bob’s son Ziggy entered the musical arena with his Melody Makers (which included his siblings Cedella, Sharon, and Stephen). By the time Ziggy released his third album, CONSCIOUS PARTY, in 1988, he was an international superstar. Over 30 years later, he remains one of the most visible voices in Reggae music.

Ziggy’s 2020 release, MORE FAMILY TIME, is the sequel/follow-up to his Grammy-winning 2009 release FAMILY TIME. While the album – like the original – is considered a ‘children’s album’, the album is really a joyful celebration of family, love, and life. On this extremely infectious slice of audio sunshine, Ziggy is joined by a cast of superstars including Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Lisa Loeb, Alanis Morisette, Angelique Kidjo, Tom Morello, Busta Rhymes, and Jamie Lee Curtis (!), plus fellow Marleys Stephen, Isaiah, and the Marley Kids. Oh, and we can’t forget Romeo, the dog! The hook-filled sing-a-long songs on MORE FAMILY TIME include “Music Is In Everything”, “Wonderful People”, “Everywhere You Go”, and “Play With Sky”. However, the album’s 11 tracks are infectious and joyful and will provide a perfect soundtrack to family time, beach time, party time, and just about any time you have to spend together with friends and family!

ZIGGY MARLEY

MORE FAMILY TIME

Available NOW!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: RANDY BRECKER & ERIC MARIENTHAL/DOUBLE DEALIN’

Randy Brecker is considered a Jazz icon, but throughout his career, he’s been so much more than that. The trumpeter began his recording career in 1967 as a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears. He left the band after their debut album, CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN, and joined Jazz legend Horace Silver’s Quintet. In 1969, he recorded his debut solo album SCORE, where he was joined by his brother Michael on tenor saxophone. For the next 50 years, Randy Brecker nearly 20 solo albums, eight albums with Michael (as The Brecker Brothers), and has worked with a long list of Jazz and Rock luminaries such as Bruce Springsteen, George Benson, Todd Rundgren, Bob James, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Stanley Turrentine, Robert Palmer, Carly Simon, Jaco Pastorius, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon, Spyro Gyra, James Taylor, Michael Franks, Yoko Ono, Donald Fagen, Jimmy McGriff, and many others. Many, many others!

Saxophonist Eric Marienthal is one of the most respected names in Jazz and Jazz-Fusion. His professional career began when he joined trumpeter Al Hirt’s band. He then moved over to Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, recording six albums with the band. He began his solo career in 1988, releasing a half-dozen albums on the GRP label beginning with VOICES OF THE HEART. He has continued to release a series of successful albums for labels such as Verve/Polygram, Peak, and Shanachie, where he released the acclaimed BRIDGES album with Chuck Loeb. Outside of his solo career, he’s also played alongside a variety of acts including The Rippingtons, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. To top it off, he’s played on recordings by Elton John, Aaron Neville, and Ramsey Lewis, among others. Always in demand, Marienthal has continued to surprise and delight his fans for four decades.

Now, in 2020, these two Grammy-winning Jazz greats join forces on the album DOUBLE DEALIN’, which is a spirited blend of classic Fusion and straight-ahead melodic Jazz. While we may have expected something special from these two, what we get is something more. There’s an electric excitement on display on DOUBLE DEALIN’, and album that features funky blasts of horn power as well as some deeply moving softer passages that will take the listener to a more melancholic place. Brecker and Marienthal are aware that you don’t have to go ‘big’ to be powerful and the utter beauty of “Mind The Fire (For Chuck)” is proof of that. Elsewhere, the title track lights a fire that will certainly heat up the room. Other highlights include “3 Deuces”, “Fast Eddie”, and more. DOUBLE DEALIN’ is a feast for the heart and soul and is a powerful musical statement from two veteran musicians.

RANDY BRECKER & ERIC MARIENTHAL

DOUBLE DEALIN’

9.11.2020

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JOSIAH JOHNSON/EVERY FEELING ON A LOOP

Josiah Johnson may be a new name to some music lovers, but he’s nearly an industry veteran, having been a professional musician for more than a decade. And these days, that can almost seem like a lifetime for today’s popstar. He began his career in the Indie Folk band The Head and the Heart, who formed in 2009. The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2011 and went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA. Their second album, LET’S BE STILL, was released in 2013 and reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band’s career was on the rise, but getting stuck on the ‘write/record/tour’ treadmill was more stressful than expected and Johnson turned to substances, which inevitably led to rehab and his subsequent ‘leave of absence’ from the band. The Head and the Heart continued without Josiah, although some of his work appeared on their third album, SIGNS OF LIGHT (2016). The band’s most recent album, LIVING MIRAGE, was released in 2019.

Since his hiatus from The Head and the Heart began, Johnson hasn’t been idle. He has continued to write songs, recorded home demos, and sought out a producer. Even while he was preparing the next step in his musical career, he even contemplated leaving the music industry and pursuing a career in social work. However, the power of music kept him rooted and focused as he composed even more new material for his next project… if there was going to be a next project. Johnson performed at a private show in New York City and connected with a group of musicians including Peter Lalish (Lucius). Inspired by this new group of musical friends, Johnson headed into the studio to record his first solo album. Armed with a batch of new songs – his most personal and honest material yet – Josiah Johnson returns with EVERY FEELING ON A LOOP (Anti-), an album that will remind fans, old and new, just how special his talents are.

EVERY FEELING ON A LOOP is an album that sounds like a continuation AND a reboot of what Johnson had been doing with The Head and the Heart. While the album is mature and confident, there’s also a hint of uncertainty and loss lurking beneath the gentle songwriting and quirky arrangements. The Folk and Pop genres in 2020 are very different than they were in the ‘60s, yet EVERY FEELING ON A LOOP is a wispy stroll on the bridge that connects the two disparate decades together. While certainly rooted in modern times, the songwriting on the album is simple and engaging on the surface, but peel away the layers and you’re going to discover many musical parts working together to create the sounds you eventually hear. Add in the proper amount of emotion, and you’ve got an album that not only sounds great but ‘feels’ right. Highlights include “Woman in a Man’s Life”, “Same Old Brick”, “I Wish I Had”, and “World’s Not Gonna End”. The magic of music is that it makes you FEEL something. That’s why you’ll keep coming back to EVERYTHING ON A LOOP again and again.

JOSIAH JOHNSON

EVERY FEELING ON A LOOP

Available NOW!