John Brown’s Body to bring ‘Future Roots Reggae’ to Norwich

NORWICH – Roots reggae band John Brown’s Body is set to hit the stage at the Chenango Arts Council tonight as the second show as part of the NBT Free Summer Concert Series presented by the Chenango Blues Association.

John Brown’s Body, also dubbed JBB, has been performing since the mid-1990s, at a time when there wasn’t yet a far-reaching reggae scene nationwide. Since that time, their album ‘Amplify’ hit number one on the Billboard Reggae Chart, ‘JBB in Dub’ hit number one on the iTunes Reggae chart, and 2013’s release ‘Kings and Queens’ hit number one on both of those charts.

The band calls both Ithaca and Boston home, as its members hail from both locations.

In an interview with The Evening Sun, drummer Tommy Benedetti said the band brings a heavy, driving sound, that’s steeped in roots reggae and dub.

“If you like to have a good time with music, it’ll be a good night,” said Benedetti. “We have our fans from back when we started and we are gaining new fans where we play and it’s great to look out in the crowd and see everyone having a good time.”

Benedetti said the band’s horn section gives them a unique sound that audiences seem to enjoy.

“I’m a huge fan of Elliot’s [longtime bandmate] songwriting, and my favorite song to perform right now is off our new album Fireflies and is called ‘Who Paid Them Off?’” Benedetti said. “We recently played it out in Cali and people really dig the lyrics. It’s a great tune and a real heavy hitter.”

Fireflies is the band’s 11th studio release and debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae Charts.

Benedetti said the band will also be playing some older tunes that area reggae fans may be familiar with. He added that songs from their album ‘Spirits All Around Us,’ released in 2001, may be brought out at tonight’s show.

“Original Man is a tune we used to bring out at every show, so now we’re bringing that one back out and people are digging it,” Benedetti said. “We’re giving it a new energy with features from the keys and horns.”

“We like to keep the set pumping and we’re certainly going to do that while we’re there, for current fans and folks who have never listened to us before,” he said. “We’re just really high energy but know when it’s time to pull out some chill tunes too.”

Benedetti said there will be plenty of JBB merchandise available for purchase including vinyl, shirts and CDs. “We’ll have lots of good stuff to sling, and we’re looking forward to a really good show,” he said. “I’m psyched, I’ve never been out to Chenango County and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Due to the weather, Eric Larsen of the Chenango Blues Association said the show has been moved to the Chenango Arts Council and an opening band comprised of young students will hit the stage at 7 p.m., with John Brown’s Body to follow at approximately 7:20 p.m.

“Music transcends everything,” said Benedetti. “We’re looking forward to reaching souls and spreading good vibes.”

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