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An interview with Rising Lion



By Max Lowe Contributor
Rising Lion, the funky, soulful and good-vibin reggae band out of New York City will bring the irie vibrations to Big Sky, Wednesday, July 25. Mixing different aspects of the music spectrum into their classic reggae anthems, lead singer Danny Dred looks to spread to good vibes across the country with his acclaimed American style reggae. I caught up with Danny via phone and got to ask him a few questions.

Where and when did rising lion the idea begin?
The idea for Rising Lion started in Manhattan in 1992. At the times I was working at Columbia University as case and outreach manager in Harlem then I began playing music on the side. A year later we had a band together and started touring full time. In the band we have always had a base player, drums and a keyboard. Two keyboardists will be at the Big Sky show though, as one of our friends is rejoining us.

What would you say the ideology behind your music is?
Peace, love and unity. Probably to spark the thoughts of people, to embrace love and understanding and finding common ground in the world. Music is a platform for social change. I try to write songs which invite people to think on a whole range of different subjects. The difference between our new album, which will be coming out in the next year, is more object, and more talking to the individual. In “Changes” I am talking more to you as my audience as less to the whole audience as a group.

Where has the inspiration for your music come from?
The most high, Jah. Da almighty. He gives us life, breath and power. I’m from Florida, born in Sanford and grew up in Oviedo. I went to college in Iowa to play football and was in the Marine Core. When I got done with school I moved to New York in to start the band and Jah has been with me all along.

Your latest album was released in 2008, are you planning another album or any projects for the near future?
We have been releasing singles since our last album, but our new album “Changes” will be coming out within the next year. We are pretty much done with all the songs, 10 songs and two dubs. The dubs allow you to take closer look into the song. Fewer lyrics and more music allows you to look at how the songs are constructed with each different piece of the instrumental coming together in harmony.

Do you have a favorite song or song that has special meaning to from the last album?
“Feeling Irie” because who doesn’t want to feel Irie? The lyrics are telling of taking a day off from the usual push and just feeling awesome.

Have you been to Big Sky country before?
We go to Bozeman a couple times a year. I have been to Big Sky twice. We have played there maybe once in summer and once in the winter. Stoked to be back again, Montana is super cool.

How to do you think American reggae has evolved over the years and where do you think its going?
It depends on what band you are looking at. We are from the east coast so we have a lot of Jamaican influence. One thing that makes Rising Lion unique is our ability to mix other styles of music, US hip hop, jazz blues and country, into our music without loosing the authenticity of the reggae vibe.

Look for Rising Lion Wednesday, July 25 at Choppers in The Big Sky Town Center. Show starts around 9 p.m. so show up early to get your tickets.

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