Stephen Marley has recruited an impressive list of special guests to appear on his forthcoming album, "Old Soul," which is set to be released digitally on September 15, 2023.
Those special guests include Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead icon Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Buju Banton and Slightly Stoopid.
Prospect PR shared these details: While grounded from the road amongst the COVID lockdown, Stephen set up a new studio on a remote family farm in the Florida countryside, holding nightly jam sessions in a converted garage. With a stripped-down ensemble comprising binghi drums, bass, acoustic guitar, and flute, Stephen played whatever he felt like - ranging from original compositions and reggae rarities with deep personal meaning to classics recorded by Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and The Beatles. "Irie vibration," Stephen says of the sounds made together on the farm. The lion's share of Old Soul was recorded during these "unplugged" jam sessions.
The song selection on the new album demonstrates Stephen's courage to defy expectations. "You have to be true to yourself," he says. "I refuse to be put into any category. I am inspired by everything. So if I feel like I want to play some jazz music, I will go play some jazz music. Who dig it, dig it."
"April 1972, my mom and poppa brought me through... back then I was the favorite, so they say." Reflecting on his life as a youngster growing up as the second eldest son in the royal Marley family, Stephen marked his 51st year on earth by sharing glimpses of his past and releasing the title track of the album earlier this year: "I'm an old soul, living in the body of a 9-year-old / Guess I've been here before."
Old Soul explores a musical palette that spans a variety of cultures and genres alike, with hand-selected special guests furthering the spiritual journey that encompasses the album. Stephen and his elder brother Ziggy collaborate on "There's A Reward," a heartfelt tribute to Joe Higgs, the man who mentored young Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer when they were all aspiring singers in Trenchtown. Meanwhile, Stephen's younger brother Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley features on "Cast The First Stone," a powerful, thought-provoking tune set to an ominous groove that sounds like something from a lost spaghetti Western soundtrack.
Stephen enlists his old friend Buju Banton on the ska-flavored "Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem)," a Lee "Scratch" Perry composition made famous by Junior Byles that explores the idea that no good deed goes unpunished. And Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid joins on a verse on "Standing In Love," a beautiful ballad that hearkens back to reggae's sweet rocksteady era.
Eric Clapton laces up tasty lead guitar riffs over a powerful acoustified version of Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff." The album closes with Grateful Dead legend guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir and surfer/singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, who join Stephen on the album's final track, "Winding Roads," recorded at Bob Weir's TRI Studios with his Wolf Bros band including Don Was and Dead & Company members Jeff Chimenti and Jay Lane; it's the only song on Old Soul recorded with a full band.
"We definitely did want some different sounds," says Stephen. "We never want to come with the same ray ray ray. We try to make some of them something you can't really identify. Ah just music." Among the more unexpected selections embedded on Old Soul are a disarmingly sweet cover of Sinatra's "These Foolish Things (Reminds Me Of You)," as well as Marley's take on The Beatles' perpetually pleading "Don't Let Me Down."
In celebration of the new album, Stephen Marley will embark on his ambitious Old Soul Tour -Unplugged 2023 this Sept 9 - Oct 22.
STEPHEN MARLEY: OLD SOUL [Digital, CD & 2LP]
1. Don't You Believe
2. Cool As The Breeze
3. Cast The First Stone - Feat. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley
4. Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem) - Feat. Buju Banton
5. Don't Let Me Down
6. Georgia On My Mind
7. Let The Children Play
8. Old Soul
9. There's A Reward - Feat. Ziggy Marley
10. This Time
11. These Foolish Things (Reminds Me Of You)
12. I Shot The Sheriff - Feat. Eric Clapton
13. Standing In Love - Feat. Slightly Stoopid
14. Winding Roads - Feat. Jack Johnson and Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros.
STEPHEN MARLEY: OLD SOUL TOUR UNPLUGGED - FALL 2023 TOUR DATES
Fri Sep 8 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue Theatre
Sat Sep 9 Mundelein, IL - Miracle in Mundelein
Sun Sep 10 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
Mon Sep 11 Fargo, ND - Outdoors at Fargo Brewing
Thu Sep 14 Seattle, WA - The Showbox
Sat Sep 16 Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
Sun Sep 17 Victoria, BC - Rifflandia Festival
Tue Sep 19 Bend, OR - Midtown Ballroom
Thu Sep 21 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Fri Sep 22 Santa Cruz, CA - Catalyst Club
Sat Sep 23 Ventura, CA - Ventura Music Hall
Sun Sep 24 Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy Theatre
Mon Sep 25 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
Thu Oct 5 Memphis, TN - Minglewood Hall
Thu Oct 12 Beverly, MA - Cabot Theatre *
Fri Oct 13 Plymouth, NH - The Flying Monkey *
Sun Oct 15 Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre *
Tue Oct 17 Englewood, NJ - Bergen PAC *
Wed Oct 18 Silver Spring, MD - The Fillmore *
Fri Oct 20 Norfolk, VA - NorVa *
Sat Oct 21 Columbia, SC - The Senate *
Sun Oct 22 Atlanta, GA - Center Stage *
* with Mike Love