New Kingston Band
THE New Kingston Band achieved its biggest career milestone last week when their album, Kingston City, topped the Billboard Reggae Album chart.
Kingston City is their first album for American independent company, Easy Star Records. It features guest appearances from roots-reggae veterans The Wailing Souls and Sister Carol, and Hawaiian artistes Kimie Miner and Tribal Seeds.
The 12-song project is the trio's third album. It was co-produced by Grammy-winning engineer Fabian Cooke, and French company, Dub Inc.
New Kingston comprises brothers Stephen Panton (guitar/vocals), Courtney Panton Jr (drums/vocals) and Tahir Panton (keyboard/vocals). Their father Courtney Panton Sr, occasionally sits in on bass.
Panton Jr told the Sunday Observer that a lot of work went into the album. He also spoke about the Billboard feat.
"It feels great. Having your work and efforts start to pay off is the greatest accomplishment and feeling we could have. The album took a lot of work mainly because we were on numerous back-to-back tours," he said.
Formed nine years ago, the group is based in Brooklyn. The Pantons are first-generation Americans born to Jamaicans parents, who say the band's name is inspired by their Caribbean heritage.
Panton Snr is their greatest mentor.
"We used to come home from school and we'd be marched right down to the music room by our Dad," said Stephen.
The New Kingston Band started out performing in basements and at small backyard parties around New York City. Later, they appeared as a support act for Rebelution, The Green, SOJA, Matisyahu, and Bermudan singer Collie Buddz.
They were Collie Buddz's backing band for a few years. They also worked the United States East Coast with a number of reggae acts, including Frankie Paul, Norris Man, Gyptian, I Wayne, Richie Stephens, Tony Rebel, and Queen Ifrica.
The New Kingston Band released its debut album, In the Streets, in 2010. A second, Kingston University, was released three years later.
The band is currently on a North American tour which began February 6 and ends in May. The New Kingston Band is scheduled to break that trek to perform in Jamaica at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's Reggae Month show on February 24, at Ranny Williams Entertainment Complex.