IN these days of flashy and controversial dancehall artistes, sober acts like Prezident Brown are usually left out of the spotlight, even though he has been one of the better touring acts of the last 10 years.
The lanky Brown goes off this week for dates in northern California, his happy hunting ground. He is scheduled to perform August 10 at Moe's Alley in the city of Santa Cruz, with other shows scheduled for the cities of Ukiah and Sonoma.
It has been three years since his last album, Common Prosperity, but typical of journeyman acts, Brown does not need a new set or hit song to attract promoters.
"Northern California is like a second home fi mi, is a place dat accept mi," Brown told the Jamaica Observer last week.
The 47-year-old Brown has made a name for himself on the vibrant California festival and club circuit in the last decade. He also commands a lot of respect in the neighbour states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming.
Brown says he plays mainly clubs and halls in these areas. The venues usually have a 500-seat capacity with a minimum of 300 patrons.
He is expected to go out on the road later this year to support I Sound is From Creation, his new album which he co-produced with Devon Bradshaw of the Jahpostles band and guitarist Beezy Coleman.
Portland-based Jahpostles were the backing band for roots singer Garnet Silk during the 1990s, while Coleman is a long-serving member of Ziggy Marley's touring unit.
Brown describes his latest album as "well-rounded" but says he really wants I Sound is Creation to get his name out to a new audience.
"I want to present Fitz Cotterell (his real name) to the people. I want to show the creativity, the experience," he said.
Born in Clarendon but raised in Oracabessa, St Mary, Brown was a protégé of producer/sound system operator Lawrence 'Jack Ruby' Lindo. He started out in the music business performing on Ruby's 'sound' and has been recording since the late 1980s.
Brown has recorded a series of critically hailed albums like Prezident Selection, To Jah Only and Original Blueprint. Each were done for producers Barry O'Hare, Kariang Productions and Bobby Digital, respectively, but Brown says his music has been hurt by inadequate distribution.