Reggae goes country
VP Records and Warner Music Nashville are proud to announce the release of Reggae's Gone Country on August 30.
The groundbreaking compilation features classic country hits covered by Jamaica's top musicians (Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, Tessanne Chin, Etana, Luciano, Sly and Robbie) as well as supporting vocals provided by original recording artiste and country icon Larry Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers.
Country music devotee Cristy Barber, Vice-President of Marketing and Promotions at VP Records, envisioned this project two years ago and teamed up on lead production with John Rich of the multi-platinum-selling country duo Big and Rich and the winner of this year's Celebrity Apprentice, and the acclaimed Jamaican saxophonist and top reggae producer Dean Fraser.
"Reggae's Gone Country is taking some of Jamaican's favourite classic American country songs and putting their beats and whole instrumentation around it while still having that root of country... It is this crazy cool idea," says John Rich.
Reggae's Gone Country opens with Virgo's rendition of the Gatlin Brothers' 1979 hit California, with Larry Gatlin himself contributing vocals. Duane Stephenson also puts his distinctive stamp on Suspicions, the late Eddie Rabbit's mega country-pop hit from 1979. Dancehall reggae artiste Busy Signal, more often associated with spitting out rapid-fire rhymes, offers an inspiringly sung rendition of Kenny Rogers' country-pop Grammy Award-winning blockbuster The Gambler.
The two young Jamaican songstresses, Etana and Tessanne Chin, shine in their respective renditions of Patsy Cline's Crazy and Crystal Gayle's Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.
The majority of the album was recorded at Kingston's Grafton and the Marley-owned Tuff Gong Studios. .
Barber hopes that the heartfelt renditions of country classics heard on Reggae's Gone Country will introduce and educate music fans everywhere to the talent that exists in Jamaica. "There are people who love Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff but don't know how great Tarrus Riley is or what a Tessanne Chin can do or this 21-year-old kid Romain Virgo," notes Barber. "That's what this is about, people might know Sly and Robbie but don't sleep on the skills of Dean Fraser, Errol Brown or other talent down there. With the music industry where it is now, we need more people at the reggae party and I am really hoping this album will give more exposure to the genre."
1. California - Romain Virgo and 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 Blue - Tessanne Chin
9. Feel So Right - Gramps Morgan
10. King Of The Road - Freddie McGregor
11. El Paso - Sanchez
12. Flowers On The Wall - LUST
13. The Gambler - Busy Signal
14. Straight Tequila Night - Tarrus Riley [iTunes Bonus Track]