Today's highlighted Madison-based musical act is the Roots Collective.
Assembled nearly two years ago, the Roots Collective boosted their sound last year with the addition of a horn section, and expanded the reggae band from a quartet to a full-blown sextet. Featuring current and former members of Natty Nation, Basil, and Reason for Leaving, the collective mixes original material and reggae standards in its live shows, which are of course intended to get listeners up off their butts.
Here is how the collective describes itself:
Roots Collective focuses on playing positive reggae music that speaks to the hearts and minds of all people no matter what race, age or background. Our repertoire combines classic and current reggae hits with a few original compositions. Some artists we pay tribute: Bob Marley, Aswad, Dawn Penn, Judy Mowatt, Burning Spear and Peter Tosh. Our original compositions are hard hitting storyteller-like songs with catchy hooks that stay with the listeners long after the show. Some of the Roots Collective members have shared the stage with many heavyweight reggae acts such as: Eek-a Mouse, Justin Hinds, The Long Beach Short Bus, Natty Nation, The Gibraltar Rockers, Tony Brown, Aswah Gregory and the Enforcers and Yabba Griffiths.
The original members of the quartet comprising the collective were Michelle Flood (vocals and keyboards), Don Rembert (vocals and guitar), Jason McGoldrick (bass), and Jared Flood (drums). Two more members joined the group last year, Sean Nolan (on trumpet and percussion) and Jay Vanmatre (on the saxophone, guitar and percussion). The collective is rounded out by Dan Mickelson, who is responsible for sound engineering, along with the band's graphics and online presence.
This presence begins at rootscollectivereggae.com. In addition to bios and a photo gallery of the collective in action, the site also provides a little bit of music ready for online listening. This includes a three-track demo recording (featuring "What U Get," "Hooked On You," and "You Don't Care"), along with two live performances from the King Club ("Johnny B. Goode" and "No No No" featuring Rob Dz). Collective's full set list, meanwhile, can be found here.
The first track from the demo, an original song written by Roots Collective, is also available on its MySpace page. In fact, "What U Get" was featured in the 2006 Reggae Express compilation album released by Tune Tank, an Australian music promotional network.
The Collective has four shows scheduled in Madison over the next month. The first is this Saturday, Jan. 18, when they will be playing with Public Property at the High Noon Saloon. This will be followed on Friday, Jan. 26 with a show at JT Whitney's Pub & Brewery. Roots Collective will also be performing in town twice next month, hitting the Crystal Corner on Thursday, Feb. 8 and Mr. Roberts on Saturday, Feb. 17.
This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.