John Brown's Body

Despite the worldwide rise in reggae's popularity -- including the recent mega-success of Matisyahu -- it's still reasonable to be skeptical of a reggae band composed mostly of white guys. Nonetheless, while John Brown's Body doesn't have roots in Jamaica (the act is from Ithaca, New York), the members' hearts and souls share one love with that island music. Not since Kansas City's Blue Riddim got invited to play Sunsplash in 1982 (and was subsequently named best performer) has a group of Caucasians mastered an authentic roots reggae vibe so completely. Building on ten years of touring and recording, John Brown's Body has evolved into a tight unit that deftly captures the crucial roots rock of its island brethren, mixing staccato backbeats with dazzling horn fills and Hammond B-3 riffs with call-and-response harmonies to support a steady flow of socially conscious lyrics. Praise Jah? You decide.

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