We wouldn't want to suggest that reggae has hit a bit of a rut, but it's fair to say that the genre isn't up to the standard it was in the seventies and early eighties. That is about to change with the appearance on the scene of Irie Time (pronounced 'eye-ree'). This unique band from Houston, Texas are now on their sixth CD, It's About Time, and might just be the one to launch them to success and shake up the reggae world just for good measure. The new CD acts as a taster of what the band will sound like on their 2008 national touring schedule.
It's About Time offers a combination of pure reggae, jazz, dub, and rock. It is a mesmerising set of songs, topped off by exciting alternate dub versions of the tracks.
The band formed in Texas over a decade ago, taking their name from a Jamaican patois word for 'feeling great'. They weren't wrong there. Their mission from the beginning was to create a wholly original blend of reggae and dub grooves, combined with the sound of soca - and now jazz - on It's About Time. This all adds up to a highly tropical mixture, quite unlike anything doing the reggae rounds today. They have released six CDs, including one live album, and have worked with a number of big names in reggae, including The Wailers' Earl 'Chinna' Smith.
The other thing you should know about Irie Time, is their social consciousness. A literate and intelligent bunch, the band articulate idealism and even mysticism in a way that brings to mind the great Bob Marley. Of course, their sound owes him a great debt too- along with the likes of Steel Pulse and Third World.
The band takes a completely wholesome attitude to music making and touring. Responsible for their own booking and promotion, Irie Time have grown organically from performing extensively around the Texas-Louisiana region and branching out to Detroit, Tucson and Miami as well as touring in Europe. They have even recorded in Kingston, Jamaica.
Various quarters of the media agree about this remarkable band's music.
"Irie Time are a skillful purveyor of jazz/pop-tinged reggae, with flourishes of steel pan and other surprising touches. Warm, lyrical and thoroughly satisfying." The Beat "Irie Time are once again bouncing from stage to stage, serving up a blend of reggae, soca and dub grooves that's just about as refreshing as a bottle of Ting grapefruit soda on a sweltering Trenchtown summer day." The Houston Press
"This crew from Houston makes such authentic dub you would think they were from the island." Midwest Record Recap
It's About Time and other Irie Time CDs are available at CDBaby.com and retailers nationally. Their website is www.IrieTime.com