Since 1996, John Brown’s Body has been at the forefront of the American reggae scene, blazing paths with its patented Future Roots sound. This year the band celebrates 20 years by releasing its eleventh full-length release Fireflies, out on Easy Star Records September 9th, and embarking on a national tour. Since releasing Kings & Queens (2013) and its follow up Kings & Queens In Dub (2015), JBB has criss-crossed the nation debuting new material alongside classic hits in live settings such as Red Rocks, Cali Roots Festival, and Summer Camp Festival. They are now proud to premiere the first track of the Fireflies album – “New Fashion” – via Billboard.
With its current lineup arguably its strongest to date, JBB’s founding members Elliot Martin (lead vocals) and Tommy Benedetti (drums) are now joined by Jay Spaker (guitar / vocals), Jon Petronzio (keys), Dan Africano (bass), Sam Dechenne (trumpet), TJ Shaper (trombone), and Mike Vitale (tenor saxophone). The current group continues to push boundaries in the studio, this time with long time JBB collaborator Craig “Dubfader” Welsch (10 Ft. Ganja Plant) at his Rear Window Studio (Boston, MA). Welsch’s approach brings out classic elements of the JBB sound, including Martin’s otherworldly harmonies and a super tight horn section, while the rhythm section has moved into a super deep, tight phase that echoes the Roots Radics in their prime.
New to the band is the songwriting collaboration between longtime front man Martin and relative newcomer Spaker. Spaker’s positivity and genuine zest for life brings a new angle that complements Martin’s lyrical complexity and social commentary on the current state of affairs. Which isn’t to say that Martin doesn’t also enjoy himself, as evidenced by first single “New Fashion,” which manages to be both nostalgic and forward-looking, while name dropping a number of classic dancehall moves. Three new songs on the album were written and sung by Spaker (“High Grade,” “Like A Queen,” “Pure Fire”); songs such as “Badman” & “Mystery” were written together; and Martin also contributed several that will be fresh to the live set (“Hard Man Fe Dead,” “Fireflies,” “Who Paid Them Off,” “Mash Them Down”).
Fireflies is the perfect release to celebrate a fruitful 20-year career, encapsulating the evolution of the band while demonstrating that they are nowhere close to stopping. The band is currently on tour with summer appearances in the Northeast, Northwest, and Alaska, and will kick-off their Fireflies Release Tour on September 9th in Ohio at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Head to Johnbrownsbody.com for more info.
- Who Paid Them Off?
- Hard Man Fe Dead (feat. Karim Israel of Arise Roots)
- High Grade
- Bad Man
- New Fashion
- Like a Queen
- Pure Fire
- Mash Them Down
9.9 | Bowling Green, OH | Black Swamp Arts Festival
9.15 | Ithaca, NY | Downtown Ithaca Summer Concert Series
9.16 | Albany, NY | The Hollow
9.17 | Fairfield, CT | StageOne
9.22 | Asheville, NC | Asheville Music Hall
9.23 | Atlanta, GA | Masquerade
9.24 | Jacksonville, FL | Jack Rabbits
9.25 | St. Petersburg, FL | Jannus Landing
9.26 | Orlando, FL | The Social
10.12 | Columbus, OH | Woodlands Tavern
10.13 | Cleveland, OH | Beachland Ballroom
10.14 | Chicago, IL | 1st Ward @ Chop Shop
10.15 | Kalamazoo, MI | Bells
10.20 | Washington, DC | Gypsy Sallys
10.21 | Harrisburg, PA | Abbey Bar
10.22 | Rochester, NY | Flour City Station
11.10 | San Diego, CA | Music Box
11.11 | Santa Barbara, CA | SoHo
11.12 | Hermosa Beach, CA | Saint Rocke
11.13 | San Luis Obispo, CA | SLO Brew
11.16 | Sacramento, CA | Harlow's
11.17 | Santa Cruz, CA | Catalyst
11.18 | Chico, CA | Lost On Main
11.19 | San Francisco, CA | Slim's
12.2 | Syracuse, NY | Westcott Theater
12.3 | Buffalo, NY | Iron Works
1.26 | Burlington, VT | Higher Ground
1.27 | Portland, ME | Port City Music Hall
1.28 | Boston, MA | The Paradise