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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

Rootz Underground

By Jill Ettinger
Published June 23, 2008

Mystic Urchin

It’s not a bad thing that so much music today is being created in previously unimaginable new ways, but it makes the story of Rootz Underground that much more special. Honing their sound on stage for over five years, the young Rasta sextet finally stepped into a recording studio last year to lay down the smooth reggae riddims that make up their debut album Movement. The band delivers a wellcrafted balance of easy skanking and reverent passion that’s well worth the wait—the Pete Seegerinspired “Hammer” (produced by Jamaican studio legend Bobby Digital) is simply incredible, giving rootsy new meaning to the traditional folk song, while gems like “Victims of the System,” “In The Jungle,” “Herb Fields,” and the gorgeously bluesy ballad “In My Hut” stand out and shine. Singer Stevie G’s vocals mix memories of Midnite’s Vaughn Benjamin and Robert Nesta himself, floating over Colin Young’s solid bass lines and Charles Lazarus’ scorching guitar leads. These young lions call Kingston home for now, but the world is soon to be all theirs.