The Wailers stay connected

Reggae band to perform classic album today at Ski Jam

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Schedule

Ski Jam:

- The Wailers perform "Exodus," w/ Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights

When: 7 p.m. today

Cost: $20

- South Austin Jug Band, w/ The Greencards

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Cost: $15

- Sam Bush, w/ Todd Snider and Band of Heathens

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Cost: $20

Ski Jam concerts are at the Steamboat Music Festival Tent in the Knoll Parking Lot. Tickets are available locally at All That Jazz music store at 601 Lincoln Ave. Call 879-4422. Tickets also are available online at www.skijam.net, or through Steamboat Central Reservations at www.steamboat.com... or 879-0740.

Bud Light Rocks the 'Boat:

The Steamboat Ski Area has announced the lineup for 2009's Bud Light Rocks the Boat free winter concert series. All concerts are free and are at the Gondola Square base area. Shows start at 3 p.m., except for a 7 p.m. performance by Citizen Cope.

- March 7: Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band (funky dance music from Asheville, N.C.)

- March 14: The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band (alternative blues from Indiana)

- March 21: John Brown's Body (reggae and electronica from Cambridge, Mass.)

- March 26: Citizen Cope (a hip-hop-influenced pop and rock act from Brooklyn, N.Y.)

- April 4: Ryan Shaw (a soul singer from Brooklyn, N.Y.)

- April 12: Ozomatli (a hip-hop- and funk-influenced Latin dance band from Los Angeles)

— The Wailers lead singer Elan Atias has trouble choosing his favorite song off of "Exodus," the 1977 Bob Marley & the Wailers album that defines the group's sound and has influenced bands from all genres for three decades.

"I love all the songs. There's no one favorite song of The Wailers that I have," Atias said in a phone interview last week. "But from that album, I have favorites every week. Sometimes I really love 'The Heathen' and 'Turn Your Lights Down Low.' One week, I'll really love 'Exodus' or 'So Much Things to Say' or 'Guiltiness.' It all depends on what I'm going through, what I'm feeling."

The Wailers perform "Exodus" in full tonight as part of the sixth annual Ski Jam music festival. The show starts at 7 p.m. with Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights opening. Tickets are $20 and are available at All That Jazz or online.

Atias, who took over vocal responsibilities for The Wailers for a few years in the late 1990s and is back with the band after a solo stint, said the lyrics on "Exodus" stand through time because they relate to most people. Building on the album's lasting appeal, Atias said it's important to The Wailers to keep creating new sounds.

"Every year, there's a new feeling, a new day, a new time. You've got to let out what you're feeling and put it down as an artist and create - as much as the old stuff is timeless," he said. Atias and The Wailers have been working on a new record combining unreleased, decades-old instrumentals with vocals by current artists. Releasing new music - paired with humanitarian ventures - is part of The Wailers' effort to remain a positive force in the performance world.

"This group is on a mystical level, a spiritual level : it's a big message in what it does for people," Atias said. "The movement of a message is super-important."

Lately, the message Atias and The Wailers have been moving is a fight against hunger through an organization called I Went Hungry. The group asks artists to give up part of their backstage riders, or requested pre-show food and amenities, and donate the money saved to the United Nations World Food Programme. Atias said The Wailers take advantage of the stage they're put on.

"You can use your fame, and you can use your stage to promote and get people aware of serious issues, to maybe get people to help the ones who are less fortunate than we are, because we're all connected in every way," he said.

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