Who would guess that Boston and Ithaca would be the breeding grounds for one of the best reggae bands in North America? One listen to John Brown’s Body’s fifth and latest release, “Spirits All Around Us,” however, will quickly strip you of your preconceptions about reggae artists.
This nine-man band of multi-talented musicians has everything you have come to expect from classic reggae ? soulful lyrics and strong voices, a full and crisp brass section, guitars, organs, drum and bass and even a sound engineer for dubs.
Although JBB first made a name for themselves with their I-town release, “All Time,” they exploded onto the national music scene with their 1998 Shanachie release, “Among Them.” “Spirits” is a stunning addition to an already remarkable pedigree.
The band’s strength comes from its inspiring and balanced lyrics and perfectly orchestrated rhythms and melodies. Kevin Kinsella, JBB’s charismatic lead vocalist and songwriter, has an innate talent for writing spiritual and political songs without making them pretentious.
The band has many good things to say, so make sure you do not lose yourself in the music and forget about the lyrics.
JBB’s willingness to hold on to classic reggae, such as in the track “Eyes of the Maker,” while simultaneously discovering new sounds and influences, like with “33 rpm,” has won them praise and respect from critics everywhere.
The band has been on Rolling Stone’s Top 10 alternative charts, received high praise from Relix Magazine and has consistently been voted Boston’s best roots and best reggae band. The Village Voice has called JBB “a rare and beautiful example of roots-rock reggae at its finest.”
JBB has played with Burning Spear, Justin Hinds and Clinton Fearon, performed at the Marley Caribbean Festival and entertained sold-out crowds from Los Angeles to Richmond.
They will play at the Club at Waterstreet tomorrow night at 9:30, so be sure to pick up their CD and head into town for some good vibes.