Eight-time Grammy Award winner Stephen Marley has announced the release of his fifth solo album, Old Soul, set to drop on September 15, 2023, via Tuff Gong Collective/UMe/Ghetto Youths International.
The announcement comes with the release of the new single Cool As The Breeze, which is now available for streaming alongside the already-released title track, Old Soul.
Old Soul marks Marley’s first full-length project since his fourth studio album Revelation Pt. 2 – The Fruit of Life (2016).
He has won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album three times as a solo artist with Mind Control (2007), Mind Control Acoustic (2008), and Revelation Pt. 1 – The Root of Life (2011).
Stephen also won the Best Reggae Album Grammy twice as a producer of younger brother Damian Marley’s Halfway Tree and Welcome to Jamrock albums, and a further three times as a member of his older brother Ziggy Marley’s group Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers.
According to a release, Old Soul was recorded during nightly jam sessions held in a converted garage on a remote family farm in the Florida countryside, where Marley set up a new studio during the COVID lockdown.
With a stripped-down ensemble of binghi drums, bass, acoustic guitar, and flute, Marley played a range of music, from original compositions and reggae rarities to classics by Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and The Beatles.
The album explores a diverse musical palette, spanning various cultures and genres and special guests.
“You have to be true to yourself,” Marley said of the selections. “I refuse to be put into any category. I am inspired by everything. So if I feel like I want to play some jazz music, I will go play some jazz music. Who dig it, dig it.”
Stephen and his elder brother Ziggy collaborate on There’s A Reward, a heartfelt tribute to Joe Higgs, the mentor of young Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer. Meanwhile, Stephen’s younger brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley features on Cast The First Stone, a powerful, thought-provoking tune set to an ominous groove reminiscent of a lost spaghetti Western soundtrack.
The release noted that other standout tracks include the ska-flavored Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem), featuring Buju Banton, a Lee “Scratch” Perry composition made famous by Junior Byles, and Standing In Love, a beautiful ballad featuring Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid that hearkens back to reggae’s sweet rocksteady era.
Eric Clapton lends his guitar skills to an acoustified version of Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff, and the album closes with Winding Roads, featuring Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir and surfer/singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, recorded at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios with his Wolf Bros band, including Don Was and Dead & Company members Jeff Chimenti and Jay Lane.
“We definitely did want some different sounds,” Stephen added. “We never want to come with the same ray ray ray. We try to make some of them something you can’t really identify. Ah just music.”
“Old Soul” Tracklist:
- Don’t You Believe
- Cool As The Breeze
- Cast The First Stone – Feat. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
- Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem) – Feat. Buju Banton
- Don’t Let Me Down
- Georgia On My Mind
- Let The Children Play
- Old Soul
- There’s A Reward – Feat. Ziggy Marley
- This Time
- These Foolish Things (Reminds Me Of You)
- I Shot The Sheriff – Feat. Eric Clapton
- Standing In Love – Feat. Slightly Stoopid
- Winding Roads – Feat. Jack Johnson and Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros.
In celebration of the new album, Stephen Marley will embark on the “Old Soul Tour Unplugged 2023,” running from September 8 to October 22, with special guest reggae singer-songwriter Mike Love opening on select shows.
The tour will kick off at The Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN, and will make stops in cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
Old Soul Tour Unplugged – Fall 2023 Dates
- Fri Sep 8 – Indianapolis, IN: The Vogue Theatre
- Sat Sep 9 – Mundelein, IL: Miracle in Mundelein
- Sun Sep 10 – Minneapolis, MN: First Avenue
- Mon Sep 11 – Fargo, ND: Outdoors at Fargo Brewing
- Thu Sep 14 – Seattle, WA: The Showbox
- Sat Sep 16 – Vancouver, BC: Vogue Theatre
- Sun Sep 17 – Victoria, BC: Rifflandia Festival
- Tue Sep 19 – Bend, OR: Midtown Ballroom
- Thu Sep 21 – San Francisco, CA: The Fillmore
- Fri Sep 22 – Santa Cruz, CA: Catalyst Club
- Sat Sep 23 – Ventura, CA: Ventura Music Hall
- Sun Sep 24 – Los Angeles, CA: The Roxy Theatre
- Mon Sep 25 – Solana Beach, CA: Belly Up Tavern
- Thu Oct 12 – Beverly, MA: Cabot Theatre *
- Fri Oct 13 – Plymouth, NH: The Flying Monkey *
- Sun Oct 15 – Glenside, PA: Keswick Theatre *
- Tue Oct 17 – Englewood, NJ: Bergen PAC *
- Wed Oct 18 – Silver Spring, MD: The Fillmore *
- Fri Oct 20 – Norfolk, VA: NorVa *
- Sat Oct 21 – Columbia, SC: The Senate *
- Sun Oct 22 – Atlanta, GA: Center Stage *
* with Mike Love