On February 6, 1945, Nesta Robert Marley was born in the Jamaican town of Nine Mile. When Nesta registered for a passport to travel to the United States, an official switched his first and middle names, making him Bob Marley, the man who would lead The Wailers and write tunes such as “I Shot The Sheriff,” “One Love” and “Jammin’.”
|Birthday vibrations: Christopher Whitley and friends will perform songs by Bob Marley, pictured, at the Outback Lodge on Thursday, February 7.|
What we’re listening to
“The Overly Dramatic Truth,” by El-P (from I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead)—Combines the poignant with the profane, the poetic with the prosaic, in typical El-P fashion. It’s hard to turn your head away from the trainwreck.
“Bag Drag,” by Cactus (from Restrictions)
“Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon,” by The Blood Brothers (from Burn, Piano Island, Burn)—Toss two screeching singers, a buzzing organ and a chaotic drummer into a blender and press the button for “Insanity.”
“In the Garage,” by Weezer (from the Blue Album)
“Fool,” by Jim Waive & the Young Divorcees (from self-titled album)
This Thursday, February 7, the day after the 63rd anniversary of Marley’s birth, you’ll likely hear those songs and more at Stable Roots’ weekly reggae night at the Outback Lodge. Feedback talked with Christopher “Peanut” Whitley of Stable Roots to find out more about the ongoing night and its tribute to Marley.
“About five or six years ago, they approached me about doing a reggae night and we started doing it on Wednesdays,” says Whitley. “After about a year it got big and all of a sudden it was close to capacity.” Things continued nicely for about three years, he remembers, until a few incidents caused them to pull the plug. “Some problems with fighting and things started to happen,” Whitley explains, “so we mutually let it go.” The night resurfaced again only to disappear for the same reasons, and now, despite recent gunplay and violence at Outback, it’s back again for a third try on Thursday nights.
We hope that things roll along more smoothly this time around, and that’s Whitley’s aim also. “It’s a place where people can come and be irie and get positive music,” he says. Irie? For those not versed in Rastafarian vocabulary, irie equates to peaceful and harmonious. The night is also a chance to see some great reggae musicians. Whitley himself has hopped the globe and collaborated with big acts like Culture, The Abyssinians and Eek-A-Mouse and recently helped local bluesman Corey Harris on his new album, Zion Crossroads.
Each Thursday, Whitley brings together artists from his circle of friends to perform as Stable Roots. “It makes each week different, so you come in and get something new and fresh,” he says. When we stopped by in January, Kerlu of DC’s S.T.O.R.M. was at the mic, adding touches of hip-hop and R&B to the evening’s sound.
This week, Ras Mel, who has been touring with The Wailers, will sit in on guitar along with Whitley and other friends for a evening of all Marley tunes. “It’s a hot night because a lot of musicians and singers want to come and be in the vibe, so I try to share it around so everybody gets a piece of it,” he says.
Come out this Thursday to get your piece of the vibe, meet other local reggae fans and see what other singers and players Whitley has rounded up. And if that makes you irie, you can return each week for a unique edition of Stable Roots.
This week we remember two talented local music figures and send off another.
Steven L. Nock, UVA sociology professor and co-founder of the Virginia Consort, died on Sunday, January 20. In addition to the Consort, Nock also sang with the Charlottesville Peace Choir and the Oratorio Society of Charlottesville-Albemarle.
On February 9, friends and fellow musicians will remember local banjo player “Slate Hill” Phil Gianniny, who died in December 2006, with a night of music, images, stories and more. The event will begin around 7pm at 1304 B E. Market St., at the corner of E. Market and Meade Avenue.
Love Tentacle Drip Society member Jameson Zimmer is headed out to Denver to serve in AmeriCorps. We narrowly missed his recent farewell performance at Sidetracks Music, but luckily he sent us some video from the show.
A video of Jameson Zimmer playing "The Fruit Song" at Sidetracks. Click here for more videos. Courtesy of Jameson Zimmer.
We’re lucky to have two Woodstock alumni playing in town this week. Richie Havens will come to Gravity Lounge on Thursday, February 7, and Arlo Guthrie will perform at the Paramount on Saturday, February 9. Havens opened the 1969 festival with a set that included his memorable “Freedom/Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,” and Guthrie performed later the same day. Both of these guys are still bringing the folk, so check them out.
Click here to read Jayson Whitehead’s interview with Richie Havens.