Courtney John launches - Made in Jamaica

Monday, May 25, 2009

Even though he cut his teeth in the era of compact discs and digital downloads
, singer Courtney John still believes in pitching a new record the old-fashioned way. Posters promoting his new album, Made In Jamaica, are pasted throughout Kingston.

It’s a throwback to simpler times.

The dreadlocked John says producing Made In Jamaica, his third album, was anything but simple. Like its predecessor, 2007’s Unselfish, it will be distributed without the support of a record company.

“I’m talking to people who are interested (in distributing), but it’s a façade that record companies sell artistes. I’m past that stage,” said the pencil-slim vocalist.

Production on Made In Jamaica was completed in February when John was on tour with Michael Franti and Spearhead, the punk/reggae band which recorded its last album, All Rebel Rockers, in Jamaica.

Favourable feedbacks

A clutch of songs from Made In Jamaica have been released. They are headed by Lucky Man, which John says is getting favourable feedback in Britain.

A cover of Rhythm and Blues group Rose Royce’s I Wanna Get Next to You, and the Sly and Robbie-produced Ready to Go and Back in Love, are the other numbers doing the radio rounds.

Unselfish was the first album recorded as Courtney John. Previously, he was Yogie, a Canada-reared artiste who broke through with the rocking That Was Then and I Go Crazy, a ballad originally done by blue-eyed soul singer Paul Davis.

John says he was satisfied with the response to Unselfish which spawned the hits Baby Tonight and When You Say. He believes Made In Jamaica is a “far superior album”.

“The last album had a lingering of Yogie, this record is straight Courtney John,” he said. Most of Made In Jamaica’s songs are traditional lovers rock complemented by three techno numbers produced by Stephen ‘Lenky’ Marsden. It is a blend, John said, that reflects his personality.

“I get bored easily. I’m always creating, ever evolving,” he said.

Part of that evolution took place while John toured the United States with Franti, a journeyman artiste who has built a loyal international following, thanks to more than 20 years of constant touring.

The Franti/John ticket passed through cities such as Athens, Georgia, a college
town known for producing the wildly successful rock band, REM, and pop group the B-52s. The five-week run was an eye-opener for John.

“It showed that people still love reggae in its purest form. To see this American using reggae to connect with young and old really inspired me,” he said.

John hopes he will make a similar impression with Made In Jamaica which will be released on June 17.



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