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First Listen: The Green – Alive (Acoustic – Rootfire World Premiere)

O‘ahu, Hawai‘i’s The Green will release three tracks on Feb 22 from their forthcoming acoustic album, Black & White, out March 22 via longtime label partner Easy Star Records.

When I heard that The Green would be releasing an acoustic album in 2019, I thought to myself “Finally!” I can’t think of a band more perfectly suited to the acoustic format. Good songs sung by good singers who are masters of their instruments. “This is gonna be good.”

I first heard The Green in 2012. After almost a decade of playing in the isolated L.A. ska/reggae scene, my band, The Expanders, had recently become aware that there were some American reggae bands having some real success, drawing big crowds to their shows, and that it would probably be a good idea for us to get to know some of them. One day at rehearsal our bass player Chiquis told us that an up-and-coming band from Hawaii had done an Audiotree performance/interview, and had given us a humbling shoutout when asked about current bands they were listening to. Encouraging! Maybe we should try to link?

Flash-forward to Salt Lake City, May 2013. It’s the first show of our first real tour. We are the opener. After our set we make our way into the audience to mingle and watch the headliner. As the band on stage moves seamlessly from song to song, we start to do less mingling and more headliner-watching. These guys are REALLY good! Everyone can play their instruments. The songs are catchy and interesting. The rhythms are heavy and tight. The lead singers (there appear to be at least 3 of them) can SING! And the harmonies are ridiculously on-point. We think excitedly, “we get to watch this every night for the next 3 weeks?”

We quickly began to like them so much that we would listen to their records driving from city to city, even though we had just seem them perform a 90 minute set the night before and would see them do it again later that night. And it was always those same elements which stood out to us that first night of tour that we remarked upon again and again each time their music hit: the strong songwriting, the stellar musicianship, the beautiful harmonies, and those undeniable voices.

Today, the world premiere of fan-favorite “Alive” showcases all the things this band does so well. The tune starts off with a thick melodic guitar riff that sets the rest of the band up for a perfect entrance. Keyboardist and singer Ikaika Antone uses his incredible distinctive voice to sing about some of the simple things in life that he is thankful for before passing the mic to Zion Thompson for the memorable chorus that always brings me back to those nights on the road. As the song progresses the rest of the vocalists build perfectly blended harmonies in support of the lead, all of which combine with the guitar work to create a rich, blissful, tapestry of sound and story. There’s even a whistle solo. And it’s good!

I’ve listened to this song over and over today. And just like on that first tour, I’m left wanting more. The Green’s upcoming acoustic record Black & White is the newest addition to my list of things to be thankful for. Enjoy!

Upcoming Tour Dates:

APR 19 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Tickets

MAY 24 – Monterey, CA – Monterey Fairgrounds – Tickets

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Devin spent almost 20 years as singer and songwriter for L.A. based roots-reggae band The Expanders. During that time he helped write/record/release 4 records, backed numerous veteran Jamaican artists at performances throughout California, and toured across the U.S. and Europe. He is also an experienced record selector and collector of Jamaican vinyl. Devin now splits his time between recording/performing solo acoustic reggae, playing guitar for veteran SoCal groups Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Lions, and Hepcat, and editing reggae news for You can follow him at @manlikedevin

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