After releasing a slew of singles in 2021, JonQuan kicks off the year with “Lean,” featuring Danny Rebel of Canadian Reggae band Danny Rebel & The KGB. “Lean” is the latest release from the upcoming EASY STAR PRESENTS: JONQUAN & ASSOCIATES. Working closely with two-time Latin GRAMMY winner Victor Rice (Easy Star All-Stars, Bixiga 70, Ticklah), JonQuan has fashioned an album’s worth of brand-new tunes that evoke the power and soul of the golden age of reggae. These tracks have been released as singles (with dub versions mixed by Rice) since the launch of the project in August 2021, with more single releases still to come, leading up to the album release April 29, 2022. Vinyl pre-orders – along with an exclusive new shirt design – are available here: http://moremusic.at/
When it came to putting the album together, JonQuan says he “was inspired over the pandemic to create my own original riddims to cure the boredom and woes of being off stage and locked down.” JonQuan has been the frontman, songwriter, and keyboard player for Buddha Council, based out of Virginia Beach, for the past few years, while touring as a member of other bands, including the Pietasters. “This is my first project where I produced the riddims myself. I wanted to leave the door open for the players of all other instruments for maximum creative input, but within certain parameters. I personally chose who I wanted to play what instrument on what song. I’m most accustomed to live writing with a band while feeling for a groove.” Once he had an album’s worth of riddims, he set about finding great vocalists to collaborate with, which ended up falling into two camps: Jamaican veterans like Carlton Livingston, Sammy Dread, and Vernon Maytone, and fixtures and rising stars from the East Coast scene, including Elliot Martin (John Brown’s Body), JonnyGo Figure, Kelly Di Filippo (The Loving Paupers), Screechy Dan, among others.
Once JonQuan had the record finished, Victor Rice made the connection to Easy Star Records. (Beyond knowing the founders of Easy Star since high school in New York City, Easy Star has been Rice’s own label for the past few years). For the team at Easy Star, they felt like they were reconnecting with their own origins as a label, as their very first release was a similar project, EASY STAR VOL. ONE, which paired their own foundation-inspired original riddims with vocals from both Jamaican veterans and New York City-based newcomers. A generation has passed since that project, with the label since becoming a major player in the genre, and an entire U.S. reggae scene evolving into a major force, so getting involved with this scrappy upstart project that had so much energy and creativity was a joy for the label.
“Danny Rebel of Danny Rebel and the KGB is a fixture in the ska and reggae scene as well as being an insane painter. His smooth choice of falsetto echoes Junior Murvin’s classic style with harmonies and vibes like dirt. What a pleasure having my friend Danny on the project. Lots more to come from him in the future.” – JonQuan
Stream “Lean” ft. Danny Rebel: https://moremusic.at/