Being the most diverse and personal work to date, Double Tiger (Jay Spaker)’s latest album The Journey features a lineup that includes Slightly Stoopid, The Movement, Elliot Martin (John Brown’s Body), Suckarie (New Kingston), and Karim Israel (Arise Roots). Today, Double Tiger offers up the video for the single “Situation Critical” featuring Ranking Joe. With the backdrop of desert location that is unknown, we see Spaker working his way towards being unrestrained from the cloth that tied his hands together along with the bandana from his eyes.
It has been a tumultuous couple of years for Spaker, and the music on The Journey reflects this. He began writing and recording the record when John Brown’s Body (for which he was guitarist/vocalist) was winding down and going on hiatus. He had recently moved to Los Angeles after a lifetime of living in New York (both upstate and in the city). The sound of the tunes manage to capture this balance between his East coast roots and the West coast sound he was suddenly immersed in, with a good portion of the album heavily influenced by California life, the ocean, mountains, and the vibrant left coast culture. As Spaker puts it, “this album is a blend of the many styles of reggae that inspire me. The previous one was straight rub a dub focused. When I got to L.A., I was in a more open place and started exploring other aspects I had always loved – like lovers rock, rockers – but never really messed with in my own writing.”
While mixing and finishing the record, Double Tiger had to relocate back to Ithaca, NY, to care for his father, who was battling an illness that eventually took his life in August 2020. Add in the situation around COVID-19 and the shutdown of the touring industry – a mainstay of Spaker’s musical career – and this record becomes the soundtrack of an even bigger journey for the veteran artist.
The Journey showcases an artist hitting their stride, as Double Tiger creates one of the most exciting reggae albums of 2020. With his diverse background and different approaches to reggae, there aren’t many artists in the U.S. scene that sound much like Double Tiger. His vocal styles hearken back to reggae stars like Sugar Minott and Frankie Paul, from the earliest days of dancehall, while his music brings a fresh approach influenced plenty by current trends in the genre. Double Tiger concludes, “I am very privileged to make music and believe in its power to heal and bring folks together. This last year has been powerfully transformative with my father’s passing, COVID, etc. so having this album finally out in the world is a blessing and I would like to dedicate this one to Pops.”