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First Listen: The Expanders – Strugglers’ Time

When The Expanders dropped an album of classic Jamaican reggae covers, Old Time Something Come Back Again, in 2012, many people fell in love with their throwback sound, not realizing the band was new, young, and American. Their distinct three-part vocal harmonies paired with groovy piano riffs, laid-back drums, and a classic guitar skank, gives The Expanders a vintage style that sets them apart from the rest of the West Coast reggae scene.

Now they’re ready to drop Old Time Something Come Back Again, Vol. 2 on September 29 via Easy Star Records. It’s their long-awaited follow-up album of old school Jamaican covers by The Gladiators, The Ethiopians, Little Roy, and more.

Rootfire is pleased to premiere the first single “Strugglers’ Time,” originally by Ghetto Connection, now resurfaced by The Expanders.

Listening to “Strugglers’ Time” feels like stepping into a time machine. Beginning with an echoey “one-two” of the drum sticks colliding, you’re catapulted back decades ago to when reggae was saturated with messages of strength in unity and mobilization as a community… all to overcome obstacles leftover from the horrors of slavery and the oppression of Jamaica by outside forces.

Featuring bassist Chiquis Lozoya on lead vocals, this song highlights one of the band’s great transformations in recent years, with other members stepping up to share lead vocals with frontman Devin Morrison.

Old Time Something Come Back Again, Vol. 2 solidifies The Expanders as a leading force on the pure-roots end of the American reggae spectrum. They’re coming correct with the noble mission of upholding conscious roots music and bringing it into modern times for us all to hear.

PRE-ORDER: Old Time Something Come Back Again, Vol. 2

Artwork by Nathaniel Mares

Tracklist:

  1. Walla Walla (Originally recorded by Burning Spear)
  2. Life Is A Funny Thing (Originally recorded by The Ethiopians)
  3. Put Those Fools (Originally recorded by The Tidals)
  4. Brutal (Originally recorded by The Itals)
  5. Try Me One More Time (Originally recorded by Stranger & Gladdy)
  6. Christopher Columbus (Originally recorded by Little Roy and Ian Rock)
  7. We Are Free (Originally recorded by Burning Spear)
  8. Another Moses (Originally recorded by The Ethiopians)
  9. Strugglers’ Time (Originally recorded by Ghetto Connection)
  10. Anti-Christ (Originally recorded by Yabby You & The Prophets)
  11. Freedom Train (Originally recorded by The Gladiators)
  12. Band You Belly (Originally recorded by The Ethiopians)
  13. Love Is All (Originally recorded by Carlton & The Shoes)
  14. I Have A Party (Originally recorded by Kenty Spence & His Stars)

Tour Dates:
Aug 11 – The Muse – Wilmington, NC
Aug 12 – Roanoke Island Festival Park – Manteo, NC
Aug 13 – Shaka’s Live – Virginia Beach, VA
Aug 14 – Kabana Rooftop – Richmond, VA
Aug 15 – Charleston Pour House – Charleston, SC
Aug 16 – Guanabanas – Jupiter, FL
Aug 18 – Irie Vibes Music Festival – Lakeland, FL
Aug 19 – The Inlet – Fort Pierce, FL
Aug 20 – International Palms Resort – Cocoa Beach, FL
Aug 25 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA
Aug 26 – Del Mar Race Track – Del Mar, CA w/ Slightly Stoopid
Sep 1 – Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA
Sep 2 – Dry Diggings Festival – Placerville, CA
Sep 3 – The Wakehouse – Reedley, CA
Oct 5 – Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
Oct 6 – Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 7 – The Royal – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 10 – The Reef – Boise, ID
Oct 12 – Nectar Lounge – Seattle, WA
Oct 13 – Star Theatre – Portland, OR
Oct 14 – Real Art Tacoma – Tacoma, WA
Oct 17 – Lost on Main – Chico, CA
Oct 18 – The Siren – Morro Bay, CA
Oct 19 – Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA
Oct 20 – Romano’s Concert Lounge – Riverside, CA
Oct 21 – Backstage Bar – Las Vegas, NV
Oct 26 – Last Exit Live – Phoenix, AZ
Oct 27 – Ricky’s Other Place – Yuma, AZ
Nov 24 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
Dec 13-17 – Closer to the Sun 2017 – Ecatepec De Morelos, Mexico
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Kayla joined Rootfire after following this music around the country for years. Since 2010, she has been hosting a reggae radio show called U DUB, Wednesdays at 7pm CT on WSUM. She was voted 'DJ of the Year' at the Madison Area Music Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017.  You can follow her on social media at: @djkaylakush