14 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like Taj Mahal before him, Corey Harris has reveled in connecting the blues with other strains of African-born music. His inquisitive instinct has taken him and his music from New Orleans to Mali to the Caribbean, and while some may raise an eyebrow at Harris’s blithe globetrotting and genre-hopping, he has an uncanny knack for deeply absorbing the sounds and finding the true soul of the music he encounters. Simply put, his musical immersion studies seem to work. For Zion Crossroads, his eighth album, Harris turns his full attention to reggae music, a style he’s experimented with in the past. Utilizing the easy-flowing rhythms, deep grooves, relaxed tempos, and socially conscious lyrics of ‘70s-vintage roots reggae, the Denver-born musician sounds remarkably comfortable and assured, both in his singing and his songwriting. Harris wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 13 tracks, the exception being the “Walter Rodney Intro,” an adaptation of a traditional West African song featuring Cheick Hamala Diabate on ngoni lute. Delightful tracks like “Ark of the Covenant,” “In the Morning,” and “Walter Rodney” are quintessential Rastafarian chants while “Sweatshop” is a slow-churning defense of the working man. At a time when contemporary roots reggae is hard to find, Harris’s contribution is all the more welcome.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like Taj Mahal before him, Corey Harris has reveled in connecting the blues with other strains of African-born music. His inquisitive instinct has taken him and his music from New Orleans to Mali to the Caribbean, and while some may raise an eyebrow at Harris’s blithe globetrotting and genre-hopping, he has an uncanny knack for deeply absorbing the sounds and finding the true soul of the music he encounters. Simply put, his musical immersion studies seem to work. For Zion Crossroads, his eighth album, Harris turns his full attention to reggae music, a style he’s experimented with in the past. Utilizing the easy-flowing rhythms, deep grooves, relaxed tempos, and socially conscious lyrics of ‘70s-vintage roots reggae, the Denver-born musician sounds remarkably comfortable and assured, both in his singing and his songwriting. Harris wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 13 tracks, the exception being the “Walter Rodney Intro,” an adaptation of a traditional West African song featuring Cheick Hamala Diabate on ngoni lute. Delightful tracks like “Ark of the Covenant,” “In the Morning,” and “Walter Rodney” are quintessential Rastafarian chants while “Sweatshop” is a slow-churning defense of the working man. At a time when contemporary roots reggae is hard to find, Harris’s contribution is all the more welcome.

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