Romain Virgo & Larry Gatlin – California



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As disparate as Jamaican reggae and American country music seem, they actually share many commonalities. Both genres were created by marginalized peoples, be it Jamaicans who flocked from rural locales seeking jobs in the bustling capital Kingston then settled in overcrowded tenement yards often lacking in basic amenities or Americans in the southern Appalachia region residing in economically depressed communities, in near isolation from the rest of the country. As a vital means of expression, each populace fashioned a sonic identity culled from various influences. Jazz, Cuban music, calypso and especially early R&B heard on U.S. radio signals reaching Jamaica were essential components in the creation of the island’s first home-grown popular music, ska, in the early 1960s; the frenetic ska beat was slowed down into rocksteady then morphed into reggae by the late 1960s. Bluegrass, the direct forerunner to country music is derived from the English and Scottish ballad tradition and Irish and Scottish fiddle music. African-American blues musicians also played preeminent roles in crafting bluegrass and country’s signature instrumentation, most notably through their introduction of the banjo, now regarded as an emblematic representation of the region, into the music.

The reggae and country genres are rife with love-gone-wrong songs, romanticized gritty outlaw tales and expressions of unwavering spiritual devotion providing guidance through daily struggles, each delivered in their distinctive regional voices, the molasses thick Jamaican patois heard on many reggae tracks and country’s indelible southern twang…

Tracklisting for Reggae’s Gone Country:

1. California – Romain Virgo & Larry Gatlin
2. He’ll Have To Go – Luciano
3. Wolverton Mountain – Richie Stephens
4. Crazy – Etana
5. The Chair – Tarrus Riley
6. He Stopped Loving Her Today – Beres Hammond
7. Suspicions – Duane Stephenson
8. Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes – Tessanne Chin
9. Feel So Right – Gramps Morgan
10. King Of The Road – Freddie McGregor
11. El Paso – Sanchez
12. Flowers On The Wall – L.U.S.T.
13. The Gambler – Busy Signal
14. Straight Tequila Night – Tarrus Riley [iTunes Bonus Track]

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