Veteran reggae group Easy Star All-Stars return with the announcement of their newest album, a re-imagined rendition of David Bowie’s classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, aptly entitled Ziggy Stardub, out April 21 via Easy Star Records. The album features guest performances by Macy Gray, Steel Pulse, Fishbone, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), The Skints, Mortimer, The Expanders, Samory I, Naomi Cowan, and many others. Pre-order packages of the album will be available on the easystar.com webstore, including a limited edition exclusive vinyl – 250 hand-numbered units printed on tri-colored pressings of red, gold, and green – along with CD and exclusive t-shirt offerings.
Alongside the news, the group also shared the first taste of the project with “Starman,” featuring vocals by the Grammy-nominated reggae star Maxi Priest. The All-Stars and Priest put their signature twist on the beloved hit, making use of reggae drum patterns and vocal styles as they reforge Bowie’s work into a fresh piece of danceable reggae fusion. Michael Goldwasser, producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist of the band says, “We chose ‘Starman’ as first single for this project because it’s the song most pivotal to the loose storyline of the original album, and it’s become the best known track on the record as well. We utilized the flying cymbal drum pattern, first popularized by producer Bunny Lee and drummer Santa Davis in the mid ‘70s, to give even more lift and make the song that much more danceable. Priest’s vocals and the live strings helped us anchor key melodic elements of the original, while we balanced some heavy dub effects throughout with a pop sensibility.”
Blending musical versatility, instrumental prowess, beautiful vocal harmonies, and a premier rhythm section, Easy Star All-Stars have established themselves as one of the top international reggae acts on the scene for over two decades. During this time, they’ve toured in over 30 countries on 6 continents, bringing together fans of reggae, classic rock, dub, and indie rock into one big family. Previous releases of the band’s long standing collection of tribute albums include Dub Side of the Moon (2003), a critically-acclaimed reggae re-working of Radiohead’s OK Computer, Radiodread (2006), Easy Star’sLonely Hearts Dub Band (2009), and Easy Star’sThrillah (2012), as well as the remix album Dubber Side of the Moon (2010). The All-Stars have also released two original collections, Until That Day EP (2008) and First Light (2011).
Photo Courtesy: Joshua Reynolds