Redemption time again

Redemption time again

Observer senior writer

Monday, January 11, 2021

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THE steel pan is akin to the fiddle and bluegrass in Laventille, Trinidad, where Learie James was born and raised. Though weaned on that culture, he is best known as leader of Redemption Sevenfold, a journeyman reggae band from Southern California.

Formed over 30 years ago, its members are from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Belize and the United States. They are currently recording songs for their fourth album.

“We are working on several songs for the new album. We just completed all the harmonies for all of the songs and are prepping them to be mixed and mastered,” said James.

Redemption Sevenfold's self-titled debut album was released in 1987. Thirteen years later came For Revolutionary Purposes with Time is at Hand, their third album, released in 2018.

James is one of its four original members. In his youth, he listened to calypso icons like Lord Kitchener, but the rebel energy of reggae was more appealing.

“As a kid, I listened to Bob Marley's early songs but it wasn't until the Exodus album came out in '77 that really got my attention,” he recalled.
James points to British roots-reggae greats Steel Pulse, Latin rock legend Santana and American rhythm and blues group Frankie Beverley and Maze are other influences for Redemption Sevenfold. He describes their sound as “anointed, uplifting, informative, inspirational and militant.”

The band's previous song, Sweetest One, was released in 2019.

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