The Wailers and Duane Stephenson: Two Reggae Powerhouses in Aspen

The Wailers, the world’s most celebrated reggae group in the world, are getting back to their roots with their new 3-singer line-up when they embark on their 2011 U.S. Tour.  The new line-up includes Yvad, Koolant and Danglin as well as original member and the band’s musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett. The band will be using the tour to bring attention to their new single “A Step For Mankind“ which was written by Duane Stephenson specifically for the World Food Programme.  They will be donating unused funds from the band’s hospitality riders directly to the United Nations’ World Food Program to help stop world hunger.

“A Step for Mankind,” recorded in Jamaica specifically for Oniric Records’ Solution for Dreamers: Season 3 is the band’s first studio song in more than 16 years. The band has been supporting the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) efforts to eradicate hunger throughout the world.  The new song calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant, a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers are one of the most successful reggae bands of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. Wailers’ bass player Aston “Familyman” Barrett is recognized throughout the world as the architect of reggae.  A revered innovator, he joined The Wailers in 1969, quickly becoming singer-songwriter Bob Marley’s right-hand man and musical director. On record and on stage, his inimitable style became an essential part of the Wailers’ sound. Following Marley’s death in 1981, “Fams” took the reins as the band’s leader, spearheading performances to adoring crowds the world over, as well as the band’s involvement with the fight against global hunger.

Duane Stephenson recognized one of reggae’s most talented sons, is promoting the release of his latest album, “Black Gold”, and is joining the tour as special guest. This is Stephenson’s sophomore album, following the top-selling “August Town”.  He is also the writer behind “A Step for Mankind” which he will be performing on tour with the Wailers at each performance.  His new 15-track studio album with 14 original songs and is riding high in the charts sees Stephenson working with legendary reggae producer, Dean Fraser, the mastermind behind the majority of production on Black Gold.

Black Gold encompasses Stephenson's growth mentally, emotionally, and musically. From ballads to roots reggae, his musical skills and heartfelt sentiments on this album will resonate with reggae fans and be sure to gain him new ones. Such is the quality of Black Gold , Steve 'Flash' Juon of Rapreviews.com raves that “...so powerful is his vocal tone and the diaphragm which pushes it out over the microphone that almost every word will make perfect sense to even the most jaded listener who thinks they can't understand Caribbean music...”

“A Step for Mankind” calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant, a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers have gone on to become the most successful reggae band of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. The Wailers’ leader and musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett, helped forge the template for reggae with his booming, thunderous bass patterns. But more than just a bass player, Family Man was also the right-hand man of former band leader Bob Marley. He also played a large part in arranging Marley’s songs and co-produced a number of the late icon’s albums and even taught Marley how to play guitar. This year celebrates Familyman’s fortieth year with The Wailers.

“For more than forty years, The Wailers have been about spreading a positive message to our audiences,” says Fams. “With the World Food Programme’ campaign, we want to get the word out beyond the audience – so even if these people can’t feel it musically, they can feel it spiritually. I can’t think of a better way to give thanks for forty years in the Wailers than giving back to the people.”

The Wailers continue their relentless touring schedule bringing their message of peace and “one love” to their audiences worldwide.  They will be spreading their message throughout the U.S. in 2011.

“A Step for Mankind” is available at iTunes with ALL proceeds from the song going towards the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to help stop world hunger.

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Tour Dates:

29 March-New Earth Music Hall, Athens, GA

30 March-Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, TN

31 March-Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

1 April-The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA

2 April-Lake Worth Reggae Fest, Lake Worth, FL

4 April-Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, FL

5 April-Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA

6 April-Granada Theater, Dallas, TX

8 April-Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM

9 April-Belly Up, Aspen, CO

10 April-Steamboat Springs Ski Area, Steamboat Springs, CO

12 May-Cox Capital Theatre, Macon, GA

13 May-House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL

14 May-House of Blues, N. Myrtle Beach, SC

17 May-Kelly’s, Nags Head, NC

19 May-Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe, PA

20 May-Chesapeake Jubilee Festival, Chesapeake, VA

21 May-Recher Theatre, Towson, MD

28 May-World Café @ The Queen, Wilmington, DE

22 July-Sessions Music & Food Fest, Salem, OR

24 July-Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, AK

28 July-Wanderlust Festival, Lake Tahoe, CA

6 August-Gaia Festival, Laytonville, CA

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