Country music has a whole new beat thanks to the release of Reggae’s Gone Country by VP Records and Warner Music Nashville. The compilation album features classic country hits covered by Jamaica’s top musicians such as Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, Tessanne Chin, Etana, Luciano and Sly & Robbie as well as supporting vocals by Larry Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers and production by John Rich.
Cristy Barber, Vice President of Marketing and Promotions at VP Records and a Grammy nominated producer for the 2003 compilation album Def Jamaica had the idea for the album. She teamed up with John Rich and acclaimed Jamaican saxophonist and top reggae producer Dean Fraser to bring the album to life.
“Reggae’s Gone Country is taking some of Jamaican’s favorite classic American country songs and putting their beats and whole instrumentation around it while still having that root of country… It is this crazy cool idea,” John said.
Reggae artist Romain Virgo, who won the 2007 Rising Stars contest which is similar to American Idol, agrees. “Country Western music is something that I grew up listening to,” he said. “You look for it every Saturday morning. These are the songs that we play to get us in the work mood and those songs would carry you right through the day.”
We think Romain Virgo and Larry Gatlin sound great singing the 1979 Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Bros. hit, “All The Gold In California.”
Check out this mini-documentary on the making of Reggae’s Gone Country for a whole new twist on country music HERE:
Country and reggae share several similar traits. Both genres are heavy on songs about love gone wrong, outlaw tales, spiritual devotion and daily struggles. Country music has been a part of the Jamaican culture for years.
“Everyone from 20-year-old kids to their grandparents listen to country in Jamaica,” Cristy said. “People are always so shocked when I say this, but the music plays such an important role in the Caribbean.”
1. California – Romain Virgo & Larry Gatlin
2. He’ll Have To Go – Luciano
3. Wolverton Mountain – Richie Stephens
4. Crazy – Etana
5. The Chair – Tarrus Riley
6. He Stopped Loving Her Today – Beres Hammond
7. Suspicions – Duane Stephenson
8. Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes – Tessanne Chin
9. Feel So Right – Gramps Morgan
10. King Of The Road – Freddie McGregor
11. El Paso – Sanchez
12. Flowers On The Wall – L.U.S.T.
13. The Gambler – Busy Signal
14. Straight Tequila Night – Tarrus Riley [iTunes Bonus Track]