Check this page for updates and announcements from Easy Star.
July 11, 2010SUGAR MINOTT, R.I.P. 1956 - 2010
"The Easy Star family was shocked to learn today of the passing of one of the greatest reggae singers of all time. Sugar Minott, born Lincoln Minott in 1956 in Kingston, died yesterday of a heart attack, though information is sketchy at this point. We are in shock over here, as Sugar has played an enormous role both in the history of reggae and also in the development of Easy Star Records.
Sugar began his career in his early teens as a member of the African Brothers in the early 1970s. In the mid to late '70s, he was one of the first artists to began recording new songs over classic Studio One riddims, helping to create the concept of modern dancehall in the process. His early hits, like "Mr. DC" and "Vanity" and "River Jordan" are cornerstones of modern reggae, still heard in dancehalls throughout the world on a regular basis. He was also one of the first artists of that era to strike out on his own as a producer and sound system operator, forming the Black Roots record label and the Youth Promotion Sound System. He released the seminal album GHETTO-OLOGY in 1979, which spawned a number of hits and helped usher in the next phase of his career. As a singer, producer, teacher, and mentor, Sugar had a profound influence on reggae music over the past 35 years.
At the same time, he was a huge part of Easy Star Records. He was one of the first established reggae stars to record with the label, cutting "Born In The Ghetto (Have Mercy)" for EASY STAR VOLUME ONE. After that, Easy Star re-issued GHETTO-OLOGY + DUB, as well as two volumes of HIDDEN TREASURES, which were hand picked tracks from the Black Roots label, with many songs never having been released on CD before. We then released RARE GEMS, which featured some great hard to find Sugar tracks. Lastly, we put out a compilation of African Brothers recordings called WANT SOME FREEDOM (now out of print).
In addition to these releases, Sugar played a large role on the tribute albums by the Easy Star All-Stars. He sings a stunning version of "Exit Music (For A Film)" on RADIODREAD. He killed "When I'm 64" on LONELY HEARTS, which had an arrangement inspired heavily by Sugar's own hit "Herbman Hustling." And he surely would have been involved with the next album, as he had one of the greatest voices in reggae and we loved to hear him sing anything we put to him. The simplest way to put it is that Sugar knew how to sing; he brought soul to everything. He had never heard Radiohead when he came to cut "Exit Music," but he quickly caught on to the emotion of the lyric and made his version so powerful. It's one of those songs where it sounds like it was written with him in mind to sing!
Our love goes out to Sugar's family and all of his fans. We are stunned to have lost someone so talented and important to the genre at such a young age. As more info about Sugar and his death come through, we will update everyone. " More info »
June 16, 2010THE BLACK SEEDS ON NPR, PLUS FREE SAMPLER
"We are only a few short weeks away from the return of the Black Seeds to North America, and if you are getting as excited as we are, you probably are hoping for something to keep you occupied until then. One way to fix this jones is to check out the band's recent appearance on NPR's World Cafe Live. Click here to find the episode (scroll down the page and don't be fooled by the Black KEYS appearing there as well). Another way to get more of the Black Seeds into your life is to go to their website and download their new, free 5-song sampler, which includes tracks off of Solid Ground, along with some previously unreleased alternate mixes, acoustic tracks and remixes. Fun, fun, fun! " More info »
June 14, 2010DUB INC. BRINGS VIBES FROM FRANCE TO NYC
"Easy Star Records is proud to help spread the word about the French reggae act DUB INC, who are set to make their US debut this week in New York. The exciting band, which has played over 800 shows since forming in St. Etienne, France, in 1997, has been waiting for the chance to bring their unique reggae sound to the US for years. The time has come. The group's sound incorporates North African influences to make them unlike most of other reggae acts you might see. The band features two vocalists, with one doing a more typical deep throated ragga style and the other bringing North African eastern singjay vocalizations to the mix. Check out the NYC Reggae Events Page to see all of the dates lined up for their week in NY. For a taste of their live show, check out this clip from 2008.
June 18: 92YTribeca with Meta and The Cornerstones and DJ Sirak (8 PM)
June 19: Coffee Cave in Newark, NJ (4 PM)
June 21: Make Music NY at City Winery (1PM Lunch Series)
June 21: Make Music NY at SOB’s (8 PM)
June 22: Littlefield, Brooklyn with JahDan and Noble Society and DJ Misbehaviour
June 23: “Vinyl Matters” at Santo’s Party House: Farewell party with Downbeat The Ruler, Ticklah and Misbehaviour (7 PM)
" More info »
June 03, 2010CAS HALEY SIGNS TO EASY STAR
"Easy Star Records is pleased to announce the upcoming release from its newest signing, Cas Haley. Connection is a 13-song album featuring a bold mix of reggae, pop, rock, blues and soul, all with an emphasis on Cas’s powerful songwriting and versatile voice.
“I consider Connection my real debut album, because it is who I am from start to finish, every song, every note played, everything I sing,” says Cas. This is important coming from an artist who had previously walked away from a record deal because he was not allowed to be himself in his music.
Cas first came to national attention in 2007 as a contestant on the second season of the television show America’s Got Talent, where he finished in second place and, in the process, garnered a huge audience of fans. Cas’s debut album, which came out quickly to capitalize on the success of AGT, sold over 30,000 units in the US without a marketing campaign or extensive distribution. For Connection, Cas wanted to make a timeless album so he retreated to his home town of Paris, Texas, and took two years to create a record that honestly represented who he is as an artist. The process was long, but Cas has emerged with a strong musical statement.
The record was recorded in Texas and then mixed in Los Angeles by Danny Kalb (Ben Harper, Beck). Besides the heavy influence of reggae throughout the record (a hallmark of Cas’s style), you can also hear elements of soul, blues and pop spliced into the DNA of these songs. A stand out moment is a haunting cover of Alicia Keys’ “No One,” which is sure to please the AGT fans used to seeing Cas’s intense interpretations. They, along with everyone else, will be equally pleased by the depth and maturity of his original songs as well. Songs like “Better,” “Time And Truth,” and “I’m Free” all are rich with biographical lyrics that give deeper insight into this talented artist’s life, from childhood to the present.
For Easy Star, the leading U.S.-based independent reggae label, Connection continues an evolution of the company. “We have been stretching further from being strictly a roots-reggae-only label for a while, with progressive bands and artists like John Brown’s Body, Tommy T and The Black Seeds on the roster,” says Easy Star CEO Eric Smith. “Cas’s sound is unique, accessible, and a great way to keep expanding the Easy Star audience. And it’s not often we come across a singer-songwriter this talented, regardless of genre, so we had to work with Cas.” The label’s musical director, Michael Goldwasser, remixed a version of the single “Better” in a hardcore roots reggae style, which is being included as a bonus track.
Cas is currently on tour in Hawaii, playing shows on his own and with frequent collaborator Josh Heinrichs (of Jah Roots), who also sings on Connection. Look for much more news on Cas Haley and Connection throughout the summer.
" More info »
May 21, 2010REMIX THE BLACK SEEDS, THEN DJ AT CAMP BISCO
"Of course, it may not be that easy, but that's the idea. Urb.com and MixMatchMusic are sponsoring the 2nd Annual Remix Contest for Camp Bisco 9, which gives fans the chance to remix songs by the Black Seeds, King Britt, Bassnectar and the festival's hosts the Disco Biscuits. One lucky winner will get their travel expenses covered to come to Camp Bisco and play a 60 minute DJ set (along with seeing the whole festival, of course). The contest runs from May 19 - June 21. Go here to see details and enter the contest.
Meanwhile, the North American tour by the Black Seeds in July has been fleshed out, with all of the dates listed on the band's tour dates page. Don’t miss this band when they are on this side of the world. We promise it is something you will regret for a long time, if you do. " More info »
March 06, 2014DUB SIDE RE-RELEASE IN
JULY, TOUR IN SPRING
On July 22, 2014, Easy Star All-Stars we will release a special anniversary edition of the classic… More »
February 14, 2014HELP GET THE GREEN
FEATURED ON HAWAII 5-0!
The Green is up against three other bands to get their music on the next "fan-built" episode of Haw… More »
February 14, 2014ESA / JBB TEAM UP
FOR SHOWS IN APRIL
Two of Easy Star's longest tenured bands are teaming up for four shows in the Great Lakes region, o… More »
February 10, 2014ESA ALUM TAMAR-KALI
February 06, 2014MORE DUB SIDE ANNIVE…
February 03, 2014REGGAE LEGEND, BUNNY
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