Wednesday, July 17, 2019

          It's that time for fun food, music, in Gilroy Ca.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Citizen Cope Brings Roots, Rock Reggae and Consciousness to California Roots Music and Arts Festival By Shelah Moody

         “I’m very centered around the song. I want the song to be super important. I want the lyrics to be super important. I think that there’s just storytelling that’s happened in music that I just wanted to put in with something that I felt sounded cool.” — Citizen Cope

         When Citizen Cope and his four-member band took the Caliroots stage and played the first few riffs of the hip hop infused, “Let the Drummer Kick,” I knew Friday was gonna be a good day at the Monterey mega festival.
         I was excited when I found out that Citizen Cope would be performing at the 10th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival. So I reached out to his management at Rootfire Records for an interview. I was told that the Memphis born, Washington D.C.-based singer, musician and lyricist was very particular about interviews and they wanted to make sure I did my due diligence and could ask questions beyond the general Wikipedia fare. Most of all, they wanted to make sure I was familiar with Citizen Cope’s music.
         Hmm, I thought. I’d downloaded his current album, “Heroin and Helicopters” and found that his music was deeply rooted in the American blues tradition. Tracks like “Caribbean Skies,” “Justice” and especially the sensual and intriguing “Walk Sally” let me know that he was a damn good storyteller.
         I first became familiar with Citizen Cope, aka  Clarence Greenwood, after seeing him perform live on the line up of the 40th-anniversary tribute concert to Marley “Exodus” album the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on Nov. 1, 2017. On the bill with Grammy-winning artists such as Ziggy and Stephen Marley, Cyril Neville, Gary Clark, Jr., and Tom Morello, Citizen Cope performed a cover of Bob Marley’s “ Heathen.” Cope’s syncopation and delivery of the Rastafarian anthem were amazing! He had transformed “Heathen” into an urban cautionary tale, adding his own blues, rock and folk flare.  
     While doing a deeper dive into Citizen Cope’s career, I found that he had collaborated with Carlos Santana and that his wife, Alice Smith, is also a brilliant musician, and the two often make beautiful music together.
    I caught up with Citizen Cope in the press room after his Caliroots performance.

Streetwise Radio: What is your impression of the California Roots Music and Arts Festival and how did you come about performing here?
Citizen Cope: I was asked to do the show about six months ago. It’s been a blast. I’ve never had the opportunity to play here, but it’s a beautiful part of the country, a beautiful part of the world. Being in this atmosphere has been great.

Streetwise Radio: How did you hook up with the Marley family for their historic 2017  “Exodus” concert in Los Angeles, and what was it like performing Bob Marley’s “Heathen” on stage?

Citizen Cope: It was interesting because obviously, I’m a huge Bob Marley fan and pay respect to what he was able to do in his lifetime and the legacy he’s left. So, they asked me to be a part of it and I was very interested in being able to sing one of Bob Marley’s songs, but I didn’t know that “Heathen” was going to be my song. They asked me to perform the song, which isn’t in our main rotation, like “Natural Mystic.” I knew Ziggy and Stephen wanted to do “Natural Mystic.” It was a special night.

Streetwise Radio: “Heroin and Helicopters” are listed as folk rock on iTunes. How do the blues idiom and the storytelling tradition fit into your music?

Citizen Cope: I don’t like to put the music in a category. I think it’s folk rock, but it’s more to’s somewhat of an urban folk because it deals with deeper rhythms and slower rhythms. I’m very centered around the song. I want the song to be super important. I want the lyrics to be super important. I think that there’s just s storytelling that’s happened in music that I just wanted to put in with something that I felt sounded cool.

Streetwise Radio: What is “Duck Confit,” the lead track on “Heroin and Helicopters,” about?

Citizen Cope: Well, it’s just a spoken word poem, and it deals with kind of free expression and poetry. You have to listen to the poem to get your own ideas. When I write poems, it just goes off the top of the head to the pen, and then I don’t really change much of it, so it ends up making sense, but it can be complex sometimes.

Streetwise Radio: Tell me more about my favorite song on “Heroin and Helicopters,” “Sally Walks.”

Citizen Cope: (Smiles) Everybody knows Sally. “Sally Walks” is about a woman who a guy hadn’t seen in a long time. Everybody knows somebody who’s taken the hard road yet is always able to take care of themselves. Pretty much, you don’t know if it’s me I’m talking about or a woman.

Streetwise Radio: You are record label mates with one of tonight’s headliners, Steel Pulse. Have they influenced your music in any way?

Citizen Cope: Well, it’s really hard not to be influenced by their music and by what they’ve done and accomplished. They’re still so vibrant and alive, and touching people in such a way.  So many people haven’t really been able to see and experience what an authentic reggae band is because they’re not around that much anymore. All these new reggae artists that are coming up get to experience a touch of that.

Streetwise Radio: What’s it like on the block where you live?

Citizen Cope: On the block where I live right now, it’s very quiet, and it’s somewhat suburban (laughs). It’s in the city, but it’s not as aggressive or intimidating as some of the blocks I’ve lived on. But it’s also not as much fun (laughs).

Hear Citizen Cope on regular rotation on Streetwise Radio.
Here’s a clip of Citizen Cope performing at the California Roots Music and Arts Festiva:

Here are some photo highlights from the 10th annual Caliroots festival.

Don Carlos

The Skints

David Hinds

Monday, May 20, 2019

UK’s Grammy Winning Reggae Band Steel Pulse Drops New Album Today, Headlines Caliroots May 24

By Shelah Moody

         Don’t Shoot. Justice in  Jena. Cry Cry Blood. Black and White Oppressors. These are some of the title tracks from Steel Pulse intriguing new album, “Mass Manipulation,” which dropped on May 17. Released on the indie Rootfire label, “Mass Manipulation” is Steel Pulse’s first studio album in more than a decade.
    On March 31, Steel Pulse kicked off their “Mass Manipulation” tour at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. On May 24, the UK’s  Grammy winning reggae band headlines at the California Roots and Music Festival in Monterey, CA.

Who: Steel Pulse
When: 4:45 p.m., Friday, May 24, 2019
Where: California Roots Music and Arts Festival. Bowl Stage, Monterey County Fairgrounds

        A few months before “Mass Manipulation” dropped, David “Dread” Hinds, Steel Pulse’s lead singer/songwriter/guitarist /producer, called me and told me that “Mass Manipulation” was gonna blow me away; that it was their best album since their classics: Babylon the Bandit,” “Earth Crisis” and “True Democracy.” He was right.
         Hinds and Steel Pulse have always prided themselves on staying current on global affairs and speaking out against injustices worldwide. Sometimes, they are prophetic. At their Warfield concert, the band performed one of their  greatest hits: “Who Responsible,” from “True Democracy.”

Mother’s  joy turn to
Pain and hollering
Weeping for their babes and sucklings
Spirits of the innocent wandering
Sufferation everlasting
But I wanna know who's responsible?
They don't give a damn no

Oh Papa dem chest keeps on burning
Fist clench tight a grit dem teeth
And blood is boiling
The price is high yet they keep on paying
The little bundles of love
They are all missing
And I wanna know who's responsible?
They don't give a damn no

The next day, April 1, Grammy nominated  rapper Nipsey Hussle, a beautiful young man who was building his community, was gunned in Los Angeles.

       “Mass Manipulation” deals with topics such as human trafficking, environmental destruction, police brutality, loss of self esteem and the root of all evil, racism, that’s racism with a rolling “R,” as sung by Hinds. Propelled by Steel Pulse’s signature throbbing rhythm section and mellifluous horns, and Hinds’ ethereal vocals, styles  on the album range from rockers, Nyabinghi, dub and even EDM, electronic dance music. One of the highlights of “Mass Manipulation” is a remake of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love,” featuring David Hinds’ son, Baruch Hinds, on lead rap. Listen to selections of “Mass Manipulation” on Streetwise Radio. Downloaded it now on major streaming services. Here’s a clip from Steel Pulse’s Warfield performance: Check out a clip from Steel Pulse’s’ Warfield performance:

May The Pulse Be With You.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Ben E. Hunter - Acclaimed New Orleans Afro- Caribbean Folk Artist- Performs May 5 @ New Orleans’ Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans, LA- Fela Kuti. Bob Marley. Tupac Shakur. Like these three music icons, singer/songwriter and visionary Ben E. Hunter is on the forefront of a movement. He calls it —-New Orleans Afro-Caribbean Folk.

New Orleans Afro-Caribbean Folk  is a rich and compelling style that Hunter created, drawing from reggae, delta blues, New Orleans brass band and Mardi Gras Indian chants.
On May 5, 12 p.m. Ben E. Hunter, aka the Black Troubadour, will play an acoustic set in the Music Tent at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Hunter, who hails from the 7th Ward,  is elated about his return to Jazzfest and will perform original compositions and songs from his latest albums, “Traveler,” “The Nature of Things” and “Break Out Bold.”
Hunter recently launched his own AirBnB Experience tour in New Orleans, taking visitors on a multi-location street concert experience through the city’s most culturally rich areas - a journey of reflection on the neighborhoods that have most shaped New Orleans’ great musical history, with a first-hand account of how these same communities have changed over time.

On Wednesday nights, catch Hunter live on the acoustic guitar, opening for Grammy winning trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans.

Who: New Orleans Afro-Caribbean Folk Musician Ben E. Hunter

Where: 12 p.m., Music Tent, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fairgrounds

Info:,, (415) 378-3786.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Love is in the House: Stephen and Mystic Marley Illuminate One Take Acoustic Jams Tour

Stephen Marley’s One Take Acoustic Jams show is full of beautiful surprises.
                              See it on our 420 Blog here.

Monday, March 25, 2019

You Are Us - NZ Music Industry Unites For Chirstchurch

On Saturday April 13 in Auckland and Wednesday April 17 in Christchurch the New Zealand music industry will come together to present two concert events
YOU ARE US/AROHA NUI to raise funds and donate all proceeds from ticket sales to the Our People, Our City fund which was set up by the Christchurch Foundation helping those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel is pleased the New Zealand music industry is getting behind the fundraising effort for those affected by these extremist attacks.
The impact on our Muslim communities has been huge and they are going to need ongoing support for a very long time. The response of the music industry has been magnificent and we are all grateful for the significance of this contribution to the Muslim community’s long term recovery,” the Mayor says.
Some of New Zealand’s biggest acts will take to the stage alongside performers and speakers of cultural diversity all standing together in a safe space for us to honour those who lost their lives and family members on March 15 2019.
Both events will be hosted by MIKE KING (New Zealander of the Year). The official line up of performers and cultural speakers will differ in each city. Artists who have already confirmed their appearances are ANIKA MOA, BENE, BIC RUNGA, DAVE DOBBYN, FAT FREDDY’S DROP, HOLLIE SMITH, ILLBAZ, MARLON WILLIAMS, MITCH JAMES, SHAPESHIFTER, SHIHAD, SIX60, STAN WALKER + SETH HAAPU, TEEKS, and THE ADULTS. More acts will be confirmed in the coming days.

These events are being produced by the industry’s main music promoters working together with support from various organisations from New Zealand and other parts of the world.
We just had to step up together and do something to help the devastated families but also to show that we are one country” - said promoter Brent Eccles, Eccles Entertainment
Music has the power to heal and bring us together in ways nothing else does. It is a unifying force across cultures, languages and religions and we will use music to honour the ones we have lost, their families and all affected by this tragedy.” said promoter Mark Kneebone, Live Nation.
Additionally, Ticketmaster and Ticketek will donate the booking fees from purchased tickets to the Our People, Our City fund.

Two concert events to raise money for the Our People, Our City fund
APRIL 2019

Saturday 13 April
Spark Arena | Auckland, NZ
All tickets on sale 12.00pm Thursday 28 March | 0800 111 999
Doors open 4.00pm
Wednesday 17 April
Christchurch Stadium | Christchurch, NZ
All tickets on sale 12.00pm Friday 29 March | 0800 842 538
Gates open 5.00pm

Ticket prices are:
Adults $79.00
Children (12 years old and under) $39.00

Other cities from around the world are following suit and planning similar events. Further details on these events will be announced in the coming weeks.
YOU ARE US/AROHA NUI could not be put together at such short notice on this large scale without the help of multiple people and organisations within New Zealand. In an effort to donate the full proceeds from ticket sales many are giving their time and equipment at no cost. Ticket booking fees will also be donated for these events.
Full accounting figures will be made available on completion of both events at
The organisers of YOU ARE US/AROHA NUI urge patrons to only purchase tickets from the events authorised tickets sellers
Auckland – | 0800 111 999
Christchurch – | 0800 842 538
For anyone unable to attend these concert events but wishing to donate you can give to the Our People, Our City fund.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Oakland’s Fantastic Wins Second Grammy and Accolades By Shelah Moody

   His stage name sounds like a superhero, and he is fast becoming one.
         On Feb. 10, Oakland’s own singer, songwriter and producer, Fantastic Negrito,  walked down the aisle during the 61st Annual Grammy Premiere Ceremony in Los Angeles and picked up the 2018 award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his latest release, “Please Don’t Be Dead.”
    This was a second win for Fantastic Negrito, who won his first Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album, “The Last Days of Oakland” In 2017.
   “This is Love,” said an elated Fantastic Negrito, who took the stage in an ornate, custom made red suit and ‘frohawk.  Fantastic Negrito called his best friend, John Moseley of Oakland, up to the stage accept the Grammy with him.
      “We used to rob people together, but we turned out alright,” Negrito joked. “If you’ve got a friend, then you’ve really got something in this world.”
    Negrito then gave a huge shout out and thank you to Oakland, CA and the Bay Area where “Please Don’t Be Dead” was recorded at his own Blackball Universe studios. Negrito also gave a shout out to the late rock musician Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, who committed suicide in 2017.
  Later, in the lobby of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles where the ceremony was held, greeted industry officials including his manager, Phil Green, Oakland based producer and Grammy Trustee Larry Batiste and Grammy winning producer and radio show host Native Wayne Jobson.
    "Fantastic Negrito's back-to-back Grammy wins are a testament to his brilliance, and to the level of talent that exists in the Oakland/Bay Area,” said Batiste. “He is truly a singers’ singer, whose delivery of song is pure, honest, authentic and unapologetic!”
   On his return to the Bay Area, Fantastic Negrito was honored by Macy’s at Union Square in San Francisco during their annual Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 16. Negrito and his band: Dame Drummer on drums, Camilo Landau on guitar and Bryan Simmons on keyboards, performed three songs; and then Negrito participated in a Q&A with San Francisco School Board president Stevon Cook. (
  Negrito candidly discussed his early life in the Bay Area as a drug dealer and a street musician. He spoke of losing two family members, his brother and his cousin, to gun violence and the pain it caused their mothers. He spoke of a terrifying car accident in Hollywood that put him in a coma for three weeks and left his hand paralyzed. The cover of his Grammy winning album, “Please Don’t Be Dead” is an actual photo that captured Negrito waking up after a three week coma.
   Negrito, who feels he was given several second chances, and won his first Grammy at age 50, found redemption through music. In January, he sold out two shows at the New Parish in Oakland and will continue his tour this spring. Negrito defines his mix of blues, soul, rock and jazz as black roots music for everyone. He gave the audience some insight into his creative process.
      “For me, the creative process is very lonely,” said Negrito. “It’s desolate. Walking downtown at 3 a.m., people think I’m on drugs. It’s crazy. To tap into that spirit; to tap into those ancestors who are definitely there to feel that vibrations, making records is definitely a lonely process.  It’s beautiful when the magic happens.”
     Fantastic Negrito was not the only artist making history at the 2019 Grammy Awards ceremony. As Cardi B was most likely slinking into her vintage Thierry Mugler pearl in clam dress, Gulf War veteran Shaggy was making history as the first reggae artist to host the Grammy Premiere Ceremony. Shaggy later picked up a Grammy for Best Reggae Album of 2018 for “44/876” with Sting, as his wife, Rebecca and daughter, Sidney cheered him on from the audience.

Regal Malian singer/songwriter Fatoumata Diawara, (the African, female, Stevie Wonder), performed her upbeat track,”Negue Negue”  grom her Grammy nominated album, “Fenfo” during the pre-ceremony.
    Cecile McLorin Salvant picked up her third consecutive Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album of for her 2018  masterpiece, “The Window.”

    Emily Lazar made history as the first woman to win the Grammy in the Best Engineered Album, Non -Classical, for her work on Beck’s “Colors.”