Introducing the multi-genre recording and performing artist Papa Rosko, who will be releasing his self-titled debut album on October 16, 2020. Papa Rosko pulls together a wide spectrum of genres on his debut album, fusing elements of rock, pop, alternative, Latin, and country music into a seamless reggae sound.
The self-titled album was recorded over the course of two and half years between studios in South Florida and Kingston, Jamaica. The results are an impressive album filled with original songs and a pair of country-reggae fusion covers featuring reggae and dancehall legends. The album kicks off with Papa Rosko’s take on the classic Johnny Cash song “Folsom Prison Blues,” featuring Toots Hibbert of Toots & the Maytals as special guest vocalist (Toots famously wrote his own prison song “54-46 That’s My Number,” which gets a shout out at the end of the song here.) Another cover on the album is of the timeless song “When You Say Nothing At All,” featuring Jamaican dancehall star Gyptian as guest vocalist. The song has been an international hit for three different artists (Keith Whitley, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Ronan Keating) spanning three different decades. The iconic tune has always been done as a slow love ballad, but Papa Rosko brings his unique style to it, picking up the tempo and immersing it in an island vibe. Add in Gyptian’s vocal stylings and this song is poised for prevalence into a new decade. The forthcoming music video fully encapsulates the uplifting vibe with Gyptian playing a starring role.
Third World lead vocalist AJ Brown is featured on the cover of Third World’s beautiful, hopeful song “You’re Not the Only One.” Tracks were recorded remotely in home studios during the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown. AJ and Third World were fully behind the project due to the positivity of the accompanying video as Papa Rosko tried to provide hope and comfort to those home alone during the lockdown.
South Florida based Papa Rosko founded and fronted the band Voodoo Possum, based in Nashville, TN, playing country covers reggae-style in the honky-tonks and BBQ joints of Music City, in dive bars and music festivals in South Florida, and even the Austin Reggae Festival, where they shared the stage with Bunny Wailer, The Skatalites, and Katchafire. While this mash-up of styles is a rarity, there is actually a long history of Jamaicans’ love of country music, dating back to the ‘60s, and some dancehall artists, including Beenie Man, had hit singles in the 90s that were essentially country songs. While he enjoyed the quirkiness of playing country-reggae fusion, Papa Rosko was getting stage time and finding the right sound and players for his true passion: writing, composing, recording, and performing meaningful original songs in multiple genres that connect with the broadest of audiences.
On the album, Papa Rosko showcases his diverse range of original compositions, all with narratives that speak to the times. For example, “Tranquilo’s” Latin elements and irresistibly catchy hook make it standout. Is he singing about a woman or marijuana? You be the judge. “1984” has no shortage of thrilling moments either. According to Papa Rosko, the track was inspired by the classic George Orwell novel. “The song is focused on how close we are, and how much closer we are getting, to the dystopian reality of 1984. It’s just coming several decades later, but it’s coming. Big Brother is watching us.” On “NooZies” the message is aimed at the self-important, lazy, profit-driven news media, which Papa Rosko sums up as, “Don Henley’s ‘Dirty Laundry’ if 311 wrote and performed it (and added a hot horn section).”
On his debut album, Papa Rosko delivers a heartfelt genre-bending body of work, strongly rooted in reggae, that is timely and relevant. Papa Rosko is out on October 16th. Pre-save and order here: http://paparosko.com/store.html