Ziggy Marley in town Wednesday for Free Summer Concert Series show
August 4, 2015
Steamboat Springs — Music is not a career for Ziggy Marley, it’s his life — a life that has led him to spend more than two decades forging his own path through reggae music.
With the release of his newest album "Fly Rasta," Ziggy has embarked on a national tour that pushes boundaries while also showcasing his distinctive reggae sound, which is infused with elements of psychedelica, rock, funk, soul and pop.
"I try not to limit myself to any genres in terms of what I feel can be put into what I do," Marley said over the phone during a break from his tour. "I find that keeps me interesting and interested in the music and that open-mindedness makes me want to explore, to incorporate different elements that pushes the music forward or pushes it in a different direction to not just be living in the past."
Possibly one of the biggest names in the Free Summer Concert Series lineup, the seven-time Grammy winner, philanthropist, singer, songwriter and producer will take the Howelsen Amphitheater stage later Wednesday evening. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
"The music is so positive, uplifting and powerful, it's hard not to enjoy yourself," said Brian Alpart, also known as DJ Also Starring who will open for Ziggy. "I think his music is different than his father's even though it's absolutely inspired by it, but being a reggae fan you can hear the difference. With Bob's songs you can hear and feel those roots, but so many things have evolved from when Ziggy hit the stage. And yet he still passes on the same great vibes Bob intended."
The oldest of reggae legend Bob Marley's 11 children, Ziggy has released 15 albums — 11 with his siblings The Melody Makers and five as solo albums — to critical acclaim. At 10, Ziggy became immersed in music while sitting in on recording sessions with his father.
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The band Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers formed in 1979, and Ziggy and his siblings released over 11 albums with hit songs that garnered three Grammys. Ziggy has released several solo albums since 2003, including "Dragonfly," as well as his Grammy Award-winning song, "Love Is My Religion," "Family Time," which won him his fifth career Grammy, and the Grammy-nominated song "Wild and Free."
Ziggy is also a major supporter of a wide range of charitable causes such as Little Kids Rock, Amnesty International and U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a nonprofit organization he founded that benefits efforts in Jamaica, Ethiopia and other developing nations.
Despite his long list of accomplishments, the greatest in Marley's estimation has nothing to do with international acclaim or award-winning titles.
"Understanding love and how it reflects in the music, because love is the key," he said. "It’s everything. Love is the message, love is my religion, that’s why I’m here."
Having Ziggy Marley as part of the Free Summer Concert Series line-up raises the bar for quality acts that come to town with the series, said Coleman Cook, Free Summer Concert Series board president.
"This is along the lines of what we as a board are trying to achieve bringing higher level acts to town," Cook said. "We want to continue to take it to new levels with higher quality acts while also sparking interest in up-and-coming acts."
Although most concerts typically fall on Fridays and Saturdays, Cook said the caliber of musicianship and name recognition that comes with someone like Ziggy Marley justifies a weekday show similar to the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show, which occurred on a Thursday night in 2011.
"Reggae to me is about having fun, enjoying the summertime outside, having a good time," Cook said. "That epitomizes the Free Summer Concert Series and is a great way to tie in everything we are about. I think people young and old will enjoy the show he will put on. I, personally, am so excited."
Reggae music, with its underlying messages and culture that dates back to Jamaica in the late 1960s, is part of who Ziggy is and is inspiration that propels his music forward.
"Reggae music is consciousness of the world, that is the reputation we have, that is who we are," he said. "The challenge with moving in a different direction is that some just want what has been, not what could be. Reggae is pushing boundaries; it's not the same old thing anymore."
Never at rest, Ziggy said music is a constant learning process that requires openness and acceptance of something new, but he added that it’s also important to always stay grounded.
"I've learned from my experiences and I am exploring my own universe, asking myself what do I see, what do I want and if I am satisfied and how can I continue to stay true to what is inside of me," Ziggy said. "It's a work in progress. You may get closer and closer everyday but you never stop learning. It's all about learning and the journey and finding what does that journey really teach you."