GROUNDATION made waves with the announcement that their new album ONE ROCK will be released May 13, via a partnership between France’s BACO Music and Easy Star Records. Last month, the groundbreaking band, led by vocalist/guitarist Harrison Stafford, unveiled their first single from the upcoming album, “Original Riddim,” featuring guest vocals from the legendary roots harmony groups ISRAEL VIBRATION and THE ABYSSINIANS. This first single, which has already created a great deal of excitement in the band’s fanbase, deals with the universal history of music and its role in sparking the journey of our existence.
Now, Groundation presents “Human Race,” the second release from ONE ROCK. This track crackles with infectious energy, with Stafford singing about love and unification. “If love was the rule, would all this remain the same?” he asks, making a powerful statement in these polarizing times. The result is an instantly memorable song, well balanced between roots reggae and jazz, which has been Groundation’s signature style that has brought so many fans into their music. A corresponding official music video will also be released this week.
Stream “Human Race” on all streaming platforms here: http://moremusic.at/HumanRace
Harrison expresses about the song, “I love how this song carries the listener into so many different places; the lyrics coming in just after the blazing intro, the 6/8 section with the sax solo, the string trio arrangement, all while the band is locked into a groove of perpetual forward motion.” He adds, “I am very proud of ‘Human Race’ and what it’s saying lyrically, the song reaches the listener’s heart like an arrow!”
Groundation formed in 1998 when Stafford began a roots reggae/jazz fusion group with bassist Ryan Newman, keyboardist Marcus Urani, and drummer James Stafford, all of whom were in the same Jazz Performance program at Sonoma State University. The group’s first 2 albums (Young Tree and Each One Teach One) established their unique roots sound, while also beginning the band’s long affiliation with foundational reggae artists, as Each One Teach One features vocalist Marcia Higgs and drumming master Ras Michael. Stafford’s deep knowledge of the reggae genre led to him developing a course he taught at Sonoma State called “The History of Reggae Music,” where legends like Joseph Hill of Culture and historical icons like Abba Melchezadek (Haile Selassie’s private secretary) would come to share their personal experiences.
In 1999, while in Jamaica, Harrison met the legendary engineer Jim Fox, who was involved with the production of many of RAS Records’ most iconic releases. Fox remastered both Young Tree and Each One Teach One and recorded Hebron Gate (2002), the album that launched Groundation to international acclaim. Fox has continued working with the band on every subsequent release, helping to shape their sound on We Free Again (2004), Upon The Bridge (2006), Here I Am (2009), and Building An Ark (2012), creating a catalog of genre-bending, deep, progressive roots reggae music. Similarly, Groundation’s artwork had a consistent look and feel, in collaboration with Stafford’s childhood friend, Giovanni Maki, creating all visual designs from the very beginning.
Through the years, Groundation has performed in over 35 countries on 5 continents. The band, which had number of personnel changes over the years, but always built around Harrison Stafford’s leadership, continued to bring reggae into new worlds, with their last studio album, The Next Generation (2018) opening with a full jazz big band (featuring 12 horn players). This album beat out Ziggy Marley and others to win Reggae.fr’s “Best Roots Reggae Album of 2018,” voted on by over 16,000 media members, musicians, producers, and fans. This year, the group will be on tour in support of ONE ROCK. Groundation will be on stage in Europe, notably in France, but also in South America and the United States.
You can pre-save or pre-order vinyl, cd, and an exclusive tee shirt at http://moremusic.at/OneRockAlbum.