WORDS OF WISDOM - US record company sings Stick Figure's praises
Stick Figure

Since he formed Ineffable Music in 2006, Thomas Cussins has enjoyed several highs. Last week the independent company got maybe its biggest shot in the arm when Stick Figure's Wisdom ended Legend by Bob Marley and The Wailers' 140-week run as number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.

Cussins is happy with the achievement but also acknowledged the growth of Scott Woodruff — the Massachusetts-born multi-instrumentalist known as Stick Figure.

"It's a testament to the hard work Stick Figure has put in for the past 15 years to perfect his sound and spread reggae music. For us and for Stick Figure it's never been about and never will be about competition or comparison. The fact that Legend sells over 10,000 copies a week shows how much Bob Marley is still reaching new audiences and that he will always be the king of reggae music." he told the Jamaica Observer.

Woodruff and his four colleagues in Stick Figure are based in Southern California, epicentre for an American reggae movement that has dominated the Billboard reggae table for over a decade. Wisdom continues a remarkable run for the band, which Woodruff formed in 2006.

Stick Figure

World on Fire, their previous set, was named Billboard's top reggae album for 2019. Woodruff wrote its 15 songs, which, he told the Observer in an interview three years ago, is a blend of the "new age sounds and classic roots dub sounds" he grew up listening to.

Adam Gross, vice-president of Ineffable Records, described Wisdom's feat as "a win for independent music and reggae music". Stick Figure, he added, has become a movement.

"Stick Figure was 43rd on the Billboard Artist 100 Chart last week, meaning he was the 43rd top streamed/selling artiste on the planet. People who never listened to reggae before are discovering the genre through Stick Figure. They're then going and hearing Soul of The World featuring Barrington Levy on the album, and then have an entry point to check out Barrington and hopefully discover other acts," he said.

Adam Gross

Marley, Levy, and punk-ska band Sublime are some of the acts Woodruff listened to in his youth. Those influences can be heard in Stick Figure's sound, which has evolved over eight albums.

Ineffable Music has had considerable success in the last five years. In 2019 they released four of the best-selling albums on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart by Stick Figure, Steel Pulse, The Movement, and Collie Buddz.

Cussins, an Englishman, started the company with Igor Katz, his college room-mate. The 'indie' label has also worked with Jamaican acts such as Keznamdi and Pressure Buss Pipe from the United States Virgin Islands.

Thomas Cussins

There are no immediate plans for Stick Figure to tour and promote Wisdom, which sold approximately 9,672 copies in its second week to knock Legend from its perch.

" 'Stick' has never considered charts or accolades as his goal, nor have we. For Stick, the goal is to create music that helps people and get better at his craft with each album," said Gross.

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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