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Review: Stephen Marley's "Old Soul" - A Vibrant Musical Odyssey


Stephen Marley, the multifaceted Grammy laureate, unveils his magnum opus "Old Soul," dropped on September 15, 2023, through Tuff Gong Collective/UMe/Ghetto Youths International. With 14 tracks in tow, this album welcomes a star-studded lineup featuring Eric Clapton, Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Damian Marley, Buju Banton, and Slightly Stoopid, to name a few.



Having waited since 2016, Marley's newest endeavor is genuinely groundbreaking. Known for his meticulousness in studio recordings, "Ragga" showcases his innate aptitude for live performances in "Old Soul," presenting facets of him we've never witnessed before.


During the COVID-induced pause, Marley crafted a fresh studio oasis in a secluded Florida farm, transforming a garage into a nightly musical haven. With a raw ensemble of instruments at his fingertips, Marley ventured into a myriad of tunes—from his own creations and nostalgic reggae gems to iconic tracks from legends like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and The Beatles. This transformative period on the farm, filled with "Irie vibrations," became the foundational stone for most of "Old Soul."



Marley's track curation challenges conventions. He asserts his musical freedom, refusing to be pigeonholed. His fearless approach to blending genres, from jazz to reggae, resonates with his mantra, "Who dig it, dig it."


Looking back at his childhood, being a significant part of the Marley legacy, Stephen commemorates his 51st rotation around the sun with introspective lyrics in the album's title track, reminiscing about his life as an "old soul in a young body."


This album paints a vast soundscape, enriched by diverse cultures and genres. Notable collaborations include a touching homage to Joe Higgs with Ziggy Marley in "There's A Reward," and a riveting piece, "Cast The First Stone," featuring Damian Marley.


Buju Banton's infusion in the ska-inspired “Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem)” and Kyle McDonald's contribution to “Standing In Love” reflect Marley's affinity for reggae's golden age. Eric Clapton adorns "I Shot The Sheriff" with his signature guitar prowess. The album culminates with "Winding Roads," a collaboration with Jack Johnson and Bob Weir, and the only track backed by a full ensemble.


Marley’s musical audacity is further underscored by unexpected renditions of Sinatra's "These Foolish Things" and The Beatles' classic "Don't Let Me Down."


"Old Soul" track highlights:


“Cool As The Breeze”

“Cast The First Stone” ft. Damian Marley

“Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem)” ft. Buju Banton

“Old Soul”

“There’s A Reward” ft. Ziggy Marley

“I Shot The Sheriff” ft. Eric Clapton

“Standing In Love” ft. Slightly Stoopid

“Winding Roads” ft. Jack Johnson & Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros.


In sum, "Old Soul" is an exquisite testament to Marley's unyielding artistic evolution—a musical adventure awaiting listeners. Pick up a copy of the album here.


And for those yearning to witness the magic of "Old Soul" live, Stephen Marley will be gracing the stage at the Norva on October 20 at 8 pm. A night not to be missed!


See you at the show!

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