[link=”http://www.localsguide.com/music/album/id_85/”]Listen to Living Roots NOW![/link]
“Irie,” Olivei said more than once, much like one might use punctuation or grunts of approval. I make no secret of my love for Rastafarian lingo, with all of its colorful and mish-mash turns of phrase. Despite hearing the word on dozens of reggae records, it wasn’t until I met the singer of Talent’s Living Roots that I wondered what ‘irie’ means.
[link=”http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=irie”]UrbanDictionary.com[/link] defines it as: “to be at total peace with your current state of being. The way you feel when you have no worries.”
Nice. Do we have a single word for that in the Queen’s English? Despite my bachelor’s degree in the subject, I’m stumped for an answer.
Listening to Living Roots at their band practice last Tuesday, I began to understand Olivei’s affinity for the word. Their music sounds like fun, upbeat skank and dancehall reggae; their lyrics are about universal love and expanded consciousness. Kent plays some funky bari-sax, Sunny’s basslines are thick, and Mikey’s drumming is solid. Dj Marko also plays with the Roots, but was running late that night.
Actually, everyone but Olivei was running a bit behind schedule that night, and he didn’t have a key to the jam space. No matter. We sat in his well-traveled Suburban and listened to some studio recordings of the band. Olivei runs his own studio, and serves as producer and engineer for the band. Having heard both live and recorded tunes from Living Roots, I can say what you hear on the record is what you get live, which is generally a mix of tight songwriting, and more open jam-pieces.
Sunny and Kent eventually joined us, but still no one had a key to the room (allegedly shared by the rumored-to-be-defunct Rose Hip Ramblers and another local act or two). Sunny cracked a few Caldera Pale Ales, and Kent talked about his grueling schedule of jazz concerts with other bands. Finally, Mikey drove up and unlocked the practice space, and the guys started setting up their gear.
I brought along my recording equipment on the off-chance they’d let me record their practice session. Lucky for planet earth, they cleared off a table and a few spaces on the power strip for me, [link=”http://www.localsguide.com/music/album/id_85/”]and now we can all listen to the results.[/link]
If you want to see Living Roots, they’ll be at [link=”http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=364449205″]The Summer Solstice Jam Fest[/link] in Selma, Oregon, on June 20.