Over ten years performing together, JohnStone has assembled an arsenal of crucial roots-influenced original compositions, complemented by tasteful covers saluting their favorite reggae artists. Winner of several DC Reggae Music Awards and nominee for best reggae band in the annual DC area WAMMIES. JohnStone has appeared with Burning Spear, Toots & The Maytals, Third World, Sister Carol, Yellowman, The Itals, The Meditations and many others.
Artfully produced, beautifully lyrical and thoroughly original, Innocent Children represents a cohesive blend of five personal perspectives on reggae, enlivened and emboldened by rock, gospel, R&B and jazz influences which reflect a lifetime of admiration and study of music. Innocent Children is simultaneously an authentic throwback to the 1970′s – replete with hammond B3 sounds, wah-wah guitar, funk influenced drumming – as well as a fresh and innovative approach to modern roots reggae music, with unique song structures, melodic hooks and song writing savvy.
Creating Strong Roots Reggae
To help create a strong roots reggae base, JohnStone recruited Jalani Horton (Mt. Nebo Records, Bambu Station) to record Innocent Children. As with their previous record Eyes Open, JohnStone tapped legendary engineer Jim Fox (Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru, Israel Vibration, Eek-a-Mouse) to lend his considerable mixing and dubbing talents.
The title track Innocent Children was first conceptualized and written by drummer/singer Alfred Adams in February of 2004, while reading reports on the coup d’etat in Haiti. Musically, Innocent Children is a throwback to the late 70′s reggae sound, while lyrically the song is a powerful indictment against the use of child soldiers. Other songs on Innocent Children range from straight ahead, inspirational anthems such as Peace and Love and Harmony to the moody, early 60′s Coltrane influenced opus Black Spirit Swells, which shows off Benjamin Crandall’s tenor sax chops and bassist Brendan DeMelle’s melodic bass playing. One of the album’s highlights, Black Spirit Swells (A. White) is inspired by and dedicated to the life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The song also references the plight of African peoples who were enslaved in the new world, and their constant hope for a better human existence in the face of desperate and sub-human conditions. A tribute to Jamaican singers who have fought for equality and justice through their art, Clinton’s Lament represents lead singer Andre White at his lyrical best. On Trod Your Own, Alfred Adams and keyboardist Joseph Manekin have composed a powerful, funky tune that preaches persistence and independence in pursuit of one’s goals.
Innocent Children represents the distillation of years of togetherness as a band, drawing from the musical diversity of an incredibly diverse group of musicians. It is an album with plenty of immediate appeal, though its musical complexity and lyrical provenance should provide listening pleasure for some time to come.JohnStone has supported international acts such as Burning Spear (Winston Rodney),Toots and the Maytals, The Itals, Third World, The Meditations and Yellowman etc. and have been nominated in successive years to the Washington Area Music Awards (WAMA) and the D.C. Annual Reggae Music Awards.
For more information, check the John Stone Band website!