Damian Marley, who recently won a coveted Grammy Award for his hard-hitting “Halfway Tree” CD, is completing a series of concerts that solidify his position as another dynamic Marley who is destined to be a major force in the music world.
Cannabis Culture met with 23-year-old Damian after he and his talented band, sometimes accompanied by brother Stephen Marley, played a two hour set of evocative, energetic music that combines roots reggae with influences from ska, punk, dancehall, rock and soul.
“One reason Damian won the Grammy is because his album pays tribute to so many incredible styles, including ragamuffin, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and rap, while also honoring old school reggae,” explained Scott Paynter, lead singer of the band “Jah Works,” which has been opening for Marley during the tour.
“We’re feeling great about the Grammy and ’bout the people who come hear us play,” Damian exclaimed, recuperating backstage after a non-stop set that included the Grammy winner’s amazing gymnastics and rap-influenced singing. “We’ve been working hard playing music we love. It feels good to see the hard work pay off, and the people dancing.”
Marley’s set relied heavily on material from the highly-lauded Halfway Tree album.
“Everybody knows Damian is Bob Marley’s son, but I think people should focus more on the fact that Damian created his own unique style,” commented Lori Westberry, a supermodel, theology student, and Damian expert who lives in Southern Maryland. “The songs talk about revolution and struggle, but they also talk about love and healing. I couldn’t believe how he kept himself pumped up for the whole show, and how the crowd kept hopping up and down too. I’m happily exhausted!”
Even though smoking was officially banned at the Northern Virginia venue where CC met the magnificent Marley, the smell of ganja added an authentic Irie accent to the marvelous musical evening.
Damian smiled when I asked why reggae music so often contains references to “the healing herb.”
“We gotta sing about the gifts that Jah gives,” he said. “It’s like in my song Paradise Child, it say ‘Big skunky blunt a blaze.’
The Damian Marley tour is winding up its current incarnation in several cities in the Southeastern United States. Cannabis Culture will be featuring in-depth articles and photo essays on Damian Marley and Jamaica in our upcoming issues.
Remaining tour dates include: March 30th- Columbia, South Carolina at Senate Park. March 31st- Atlanta at the Cotton Club. Charleston on April 1st at the Music Farm. Del Ray on April 3 at the City Limits. St. Petersburg, Florida at Gold Star on April 4th. Tallahassee, Florida on April 5th at Floyd’s Music. Jacksonville, Florida on April 6 at the Freebird Caf?. April 7th in Melbourne at the Holiday Inn.