Junior Toots: Press
"Lighting up the night in no small fashion was Junior Toots, backed by the Fyah Squad Band, a traditional reggae 4-piece. True to their name, their riddems were locked tight, allowing Junior Toots to shine. 20 minutes into his set, we had seen three totally different looks from Toots, embodying ska, dancehall, & straight up roots reggae. Junior Toots commanded the stage, dancing and gyrating fiercely, truly connecting with the audience, as seen by the energetic call and response. By the time he got to Physically Spiritually from his new album, ‘A Little Bit Of Love’, Toots was on fire, working every corner of the stage, his voice well warmed, yet raw, real. Junior Toots was joined on stage by Sol Atash, who sings back up on Seek The Truth in Farsi, which brought a different element to the show that was welcomed by all. All in all, Junior Toots wowed & amazed the crowd & myself. We chanted for an encore, which unfortunately never came, but left us all wanting more, & I’m gonna get some."
As the son of ska and roots reggae legend Toots Hibbert (of Toots and the Maytals,) Clayton "Junior Toots" Hibbert has had some mighty shoes to fill as a musician, but he also had a great teacher. And now that he's turned 40, after a lifetime immersed in music, he's almost an elder himself. At least that's the feeling one gets chatting with him about his recent fourth album A Little Bit of Love, independently released on his own Crown of Fire records.
Like many foundational reggae artists, Toots senior began a musical dynasty. His children are almost all musicians who grew up touring and performing with him onstage. Like his dad, Junior Toots likes the uptempo end of reggae and stays committed to positivity as a solo artist. In our conversation, he told us all about his new album plus what he learned from his "ska father" pops.
Son of Jamaican music legend Toots Hibbert, Clayton "Junior Toots" Hibbert understandably has music coursing through his veins and proves it with this impressive album. Vocally, the similarities between father and son are not always as obvious as might be expected. The younger Hibbert has some of the same soul/gospel inflections as his dad, and the way he soars on the high notes and accentuates certain words and phrases with scatty spontaneity shows a direct line as well. But he also has enough of his own style (perhaps reflective of his having been born in Jamaica but residing in the U.S. since his teens) to keep things original, and the family ties are not as sonically apparent as those of some other notable reggae offspring. Plus, it's worth mentioning that cover versions of songs made famous by the non-Junior Toots are nowhere to be found. A Little Bit of Love is mostly roots with a couple of dancehall asides, and Junior handles both with consciousness and style. Reggae's ancestral foundations get their due on "Ready to Come Over," "Ethiopian From Birth" and "If Africa is Not Free," and the unity-minded perspectives of "Physically Spiritually," "Only Love" and "Let's Get Together" likewise show this emerging artist's heart to be in the right place. Produced by Junior, Fabian Cooke, Aston "Familyman" Barrett and Junior's brother Hopeton Hibbert, and with sharply laid riddims that match the strength of the vocals, A Little Bit of Love is a sizable helping of reggae goodness.
"When you’re the son of Toots Hibbert (Toots and The Maytals), it’s guaranteed the reggae genetics will be passed along. Clayton Hibbert, a.k.a. Junior Toots, is a perfect example—although he has the reggae gene, he stepped out of his father’s shadow, creating his own style and energy, combining the sounds of roots reggae, hip-hop, ska, dancehall and R&B. For his fourth album, A Little Bit of Love, a Kickstarter Project was put together to raise funds for production. The goal was exceeded and the result is straightforward reggae. Tracks like “Call On Jah” and “Physically Spiritually” stay true to roots reggae and the message of Rastafari while “Puss and Dog” and “I Believe In You” have a hip-hop modern twist, showing Junior Toots’ diversity. The highlight, “Seek The Truth,” featuring Sol Atash, is so smooth, it's a shame the track clocks in at just under three minutes."
"Junior Toots moved onto the stage with the energy of a lion, starting off with Solid As a Rock and kept the crowd moving all night. Backing him as they did Rocker T was The Fyah Squad Band, who played to perfection, with bluesy guitar solos and a rhythm section as steady as it was precise. Taking advantage of the proximity of the crowd Toots invited on stage a few queens throughout the night, respectfully dancing with them. Toots' diversity was shown moving from grooving rocksteady jams to full on dancehall, and even a song featuring Sol Atash singing in Farsi. Truly genuine, he even announced the birthday of one of the crowd members (Tara). Rocker T joined Junior Toots onstage for an encore song, sending the crowd home in higher spirits in the perfect climax to an irie night. 'A Little Bit of Love' Junior Toots' new album, is as full of soul and diversity as his performance was. From rocksteady to dancehall Toot's delivers a truly enjoyable and uplifting audio experience."
Junior Toots, son of the legendary Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals, has joined his father in greatness as a powerful reggae artist in his debut album "A Little Bit of Love," on which he shares his love of the music with us. This is beautiful, heartbeat reggae. He has dubbed his sound "Original Roots" and those of you who are connoisseurs of reggae music will definitely feel it!
Track 4, "Seek The Truth," featuring Sol Atash, is a monster hit! The blend of the dual is perfect and the sound and rhythms are just pure winners. The band is very strong and the sound is traditional reggae with some modern overtones here and there, keeping the music new, yet traditional. Track 6, "Ethiopian From Birth," connects you with the love and heart of this artist. Still joined to the world spiritually (like the real people of the world), this artist takes you to your roots on this very well done and written jam that is nothing short of excellent and is most certainly my kind of reggae. Roots Jah Rastafari forever!!
The music maker has arrived, and from what I hear on this CD, he is strong. His music is conscious like the masters before him. Religious connections on the spiritual plane -- that is where reggae music is supposed to deliver you to and Junior Toots does. On track 7, "Puss and Dog" he gives you all he has from within. The only thing that could be more pleasing would be seeing him perform this live. I could feel his passion coming through the speakers, calling me in a primal voice, hollering: "Calling your very soul out! Come on, come on with me to the roots of the earth!" Showcasing his ability to sing on track 8, Toots really delivers with a strong, masculine voice that has the stoic teachings of our fathers and a very good quality to it. Let me say again that Toots is a very good singer!. His sound will make you move and the CD keeps getting bigger and bigger as you listen. The very uplifting track 9, "I believe In You" builds and is that new reggae sound of today done in a responsible way. This artist is right on track to impact the minds of the youth like we need them to be, awakening and empowering them.
I really like the blend of the traditional with the new sound that Junior Toots brings to the table on this CD. The words of his music are always deep.and the music is traditional of his Original Roots with fresh, upbeat rhythms! I really liked the CD because you can feel the same link to the music that put reggae on the map for Marley, Burning Spear, Toots and many others. It's all here! This a class act and a CD for all fans of music and especially reggae music at its best! I highly recommend Junior Toots "A Little Bit Of Love."
" ...the "love" he's professing is the universal love for all mankind, born from the blessings Jah provide. He's already blessed Junior with excellent reggae genetics, being that he's the son of reggae legend Toots Hibbert, who you may know best from Toots and the Maytals...
As for me, myself, I and I, there's no doubt to me that Junior's heritage more than makes up for his distance from Jamaica when you listen to him croon his tune. "Physically Spiritually" is classic rasta roots reggae at its finest, singing about how all of mankind shares a common brotherhood. "We have got to be strong like the mountains/and blow like the breeze/keep a steadfast meditation/and keep your mind at ease/forget about when they said nothing good would ever happen." Preach on dread. "Puss and Dog" is a more jamming affair, one which for reasons I can't fathom reminds me of No Doubt - although there can be no doubt Toots is teaching...
Toots is full of lessons and love throughout the 14 tracks of this album. Some songs are incredibly self-explanatory before listening - you don't have to ponder what "If Africa Is Not Free" about for long. The same goes for the spiritual cry of "Call On Jah," the heritage pride of "Ethiopian From Birth" or the wisdom manifested on "Seek the Truth" featuring Sol Atash.
With a strong musical backing of production from Fabian Cooke, Aston Barrett and Toots' own brother Hopeton Hibbert, "A Little Bit of Love" rises above like a puff of friendly herbal smoke drifting in the island breeze. Toots professes in his bio that moving to the United States changed him into an entirely different person, but it seems to me after hearing his CD that Toots evolved as he needed to while not losing his reggae roots one bit."
"Bambu Station from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands headlined the show. Another big name who played yesterday's event is Junior Toots, whose father, Toots Hibbert, is the frontman for the seminal Jamaican reggae band Toots and the Maytals. "I'm lovin' it," Junior Toots said backstage after his performance. "I've never been to Hawaii, so I wanted to come out to see what this place is like and spread the message of love. It's been a great experience, so far, and the Hawaiian people are great." Singer Irae Divine made her second appearance at the event, and describes it as "a blessing." Puna musician Jack Miller made a pilgrimage to Jamaica in the 1970s and played with numerous reggae stars including Sly & Robbie, The Mighty Diamonds and members of Third World and The Wailers. "That they can bring this quality of musicians for a free show, that's just amazing," he said. "These are some of the top touring reggae bands that are out there right now. "
"On the opening track “Ready to Come Over,” you’ll notice right away that Junior’s voice has a smooth croon very similar to his father’s. His real vocal abilities, however, come through as the album continues, most notably on “Puss and Dog,” where the gritty, grunting vocalization comes into full swing and really gives the song its energy. The feeling is replicated again in “If Africa Is Free Not Free.” Toots’ sincerity is echoed in his voice, and once again carries the tune. What really matters, to me at least, is that Junior Toots is sincere is in his delivery and that he does it well. This proves to be no real trouble for Junior―whether high-energy singing or smooth crooning, his voice conveys nothing but sincerity. The energy of this augmented instrumentation, combined with Junior Toots’ already-magnificent voice, could really draw a crowd. And with the talent Toots possesses already, he definitely deserves it."
"'A Little Bit of Love' was carried out partly as a Kickstarter project, where Junior Toots aimed for raising $2,800 to master and physically produce the album. The project obviously went fine and he managed to exceed his goal with almost $1,000. And 'A Little Bit of Love' will officially be released in March but is already available in some stores."
Last but not the least here on today's Sound Travels is a crucial cut from the son of Toots Hibbert of Toots and The Maytals fame. Although Junior Toots should be the tip off, it's the sweetness of his song that will remind you of his very famous father. And on the quite excellent A Little Bit Of Love, Junior Toots does a roots ting quite effortlessly, sounding like a veteran on what I beleave is his second international release. Letting the world know that the legacy is strong...
"Toots and the Maytals were one of those reggae bands that got so deep inside your head that you started growing dreads. This week, Junior Toots—whose trademark voice channels that of his father, Toots—returns to Moe’s Alley for a show that’s all his own. Having stepped out of his father’s shadow long ago, Junior has perfected his own reggae/rap/hip-hop/ska/R&B mash-up. But his latest effort, A Little Bit of Love, hits on all of Toots’ favorite subjects: respecting people, no matter the color of their skin, religious beliefs, or gender, and fostering a healthy lifestyle."
"In keeping with the Reggae tradition, A Little Bit of Love is conscious both lyrically and sonically. Take the track “Puss and Dog” an up-tempo Ska track that talks about staying skillful as a cat, so “you do not end up in the dog house,” quips Junior. “If trouble comes your way, sometimes you have to turn away to preserve the peace.” On “Physically Spiritually,” Junior sings about the interconnectedness of all humans, no matter what race, color, creed, or religious denomination. “We need to encourage each other to do well and to stay healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually,” explains Junior Toots."
Real reggae only comes from Jamaica. Don't get me wrong, the music that ends up making it's way to far-off places like the U.S. or the U.K. is swell, but unless the artist was born, raised, and/or cut his teeth in the homeland in or around Kingston, it's cool but it's not the genuine deal. I enjoy Hawaiian reggae and the American bands that I've heard throughout my career as a second-rate rock journalist, but when I listen to cuts from dudes like Peter Tosh, Junior Murvin or from groups like Burning Spear...it's like comparing light sockets to lightning bolts.
That's not to bash other artists who aren't blessed enough to be performing anywhere near the city of Kingston. Hey, if you are rockin' roots reggae as hard as you can somewhere out of a smokey bar in Tokyo, Japan, go for it. But reggae, like punk music, demands that it either have an air of authenticity, or be heir to some real authenticity, otherwise anyone listening to the genre can tell instantly that it's garbage. If you hear bad reggae, it's probably the jingle to an obnoxious ad campaign, and that's not music...that's Babylon, man.
It does not get more OG reggae than Junior Toots, who had named his own style "original roots." The artist knows all about the term because he was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, and his father is no one else than the legendary Toots Hibbert of the band Toots and the Maytals. If you didn't know that the father of Junior Toots is responsible for the name of the genre (1968's Do the Reggay by Toots and the Maytals made the term so popular it became permanent), now you do.
Junior Toots has walked well in the footsteps of his elders. One of his early albums, Reggae Got Soul, is a far more sophisticated, far more sublime work of reflexive skill than you'd expect from some young dude who hasn't had enough life experience to be that good just yet. You can tell that the man didn't just hear the conversation, music and teachings of the older artists that undoubtedly affected his early interest in music...he listened, too.
The lineage of reggae goes back all the way to Africa. If you listen, too, you can hear the same rhythms, melodies and up-tempo beats you'd find in modern American rock and roll, including artists that took ska and ran with it like The Police or Operation Ivy (ok, Op Ivy is more ska-core than anything else, but you get my point). Junior Toots has got something sweet with his own original roots sound, which is a smooth yet sophisticated composition of roots-reggae, ska and dancehall.
Any great artist takes the music around him and makes it his (or her) own, whether it's a fundamental tweak, a stylistic interpretation, or some other unique characteristic. You know what I mean...AC/DC and the Rolling Stones are both rock and roll bands, but when you compare them to each other the differences are obvious. Led Zeppelin is technically rock and roll, too, but they went to places other bands that call themselves rock and roll have never gone.
While Toots has a personal charisma that shines through his sound and underlines its uniqueness, he still knows what makes reggae good. His father, Toots Hibbert, spent a lot of time with his son while recording music with his band in Kingston, and the influence was a positive one. “I went to rehearsals and studio recording sessions when I was really young," he says. "I also recorded some music with him at an early age so the music is in my blood.”
Junior Toots demonstrates this sanguine sonic connection all throughout his new album, A Little Bit of Love. The album is certainly worth touring over. His personal combination of philosophy and reggae are on perfect display here, with tracks like "Puss and Dog," a quietly clever song about both being as fast and wise as a cat, so you don't end up in jail. Part of that strategy also involves keeping the peace by knowing when to run, something any street player can understand.
Another track, "Physically Spiritually," is a pure message of togetherness the world needs to hear, more. A sweet song, it preaches the wonder of diversity and the miracle of unity. “We need to encourage each other to do well and to stay healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually,” Toots says. Love is a big feature of reggae, and it's always cool to have something positive to play for the party.
You can tell from his songs and interviews that Junior Toots is an artist influenced as much by his benevolence as he is by the desire to make a living playing reggae. He likes to create what he calls, "conscious music." “When I say conscious music, I mean my lyrics are aware of the needs of everyone: The need to be connected to nature and to other cultures besides your own," Toots says. "I hope my music encourages people to put away their egos and make intentions to heal, to love, and to care. Conscious means to come together.”
"Following in his father's footsteps & reggae roots, son of legendary Reggae singer "Toots Hibbert," of 'Toots & the Maytals,' Junior Toots brings his own style & energy to the new release. Of the new album Junior Toots says, "Reggae music & the music business in general was impacted by the recession. So I was inspired more than ever to reincarnate the spirit & the feeling of good Reggae music & up-tempo Ska & to include lots of crowd participation at live performances. Also, my father's contribution to Reggae music has been a great inspiration. My children are my greatest inspiration for me because I want to be an inspiration for them & for the next generation of Hibberts."The new album A Little Bit of Love 'sets into motion the hopeful message so many are searching for & delivers this positive light w/ high tempo, conscious, roots Reggae, Ska all together in one package. The music of Junior Toots makes you want to dance, move, be aware, think, & do well for others at the same time. "
SIERRA NEVADA WORLD MUSIC FEST: Roots, Culture and Reggae!
............On Saturday the 7th Street Showcase kicked off the Village Stage, bringing out Jr. Toots (the son of legendary Toots Hibbert from Maytals fame), Irae Divine, Guyana-born Arkaingelle, Puerto Rico's Malika Madremama, Empress Isheba, Binghi Ghost, and Itaweh, all backed by NorCal's finest Reggae band, the 7th Street Band. This showcase mashed it up!!...........
............Next up, Toots and the Maytals brought forward more classic Roots Rocksteady music. Opening was his daughter,Leba Hibbert, whose soulfull voice emulates the rich soulful tone of herfather. Leba has been the foundation ofToots and the Maytals backing vocals for many years. Another shining moment inthe set was when his son, Berkeley based “Junior Toots”, performed “54-46” onstage together, father and son. What aclassic combination!! “Junior” has thesame style and grace of his father, and when you see him live it will give youchills as he has the same rough cut edge on his voice that “Toots” has. The love continues in the new generation! A true family affair!
"Reggae Got Soul, and so does Junior Toots. For those who have been watching this talent evolve, this is a testament to musical maturity. As an artists his skills as a writer, singer, and performer have only improved over time. Reggae Got Soul is proof that Junior Toots is honing his skills, but he is yet to reach his full potential, a listener’s joy that is sure to come. Tracks such as “Up Ye Mighty Race,” “Jah is the King of Host,” and “Jah bless the World,” stay true to reggae and the message of Rastafari, while on songs such as “Make A Move,” and “Look How You’re Round” he adds some R&B and Reggaeton flavors that demonstrate his diversity of influence. This album well demonstrates that Junior Toots will not allow himself to be boxed into one genre or style of music. Junior Toots may be the son of reggae living legend Toots Hibbert but this album shows that he is on his own musical journey and not riding any coat tails. "
NOV. 1, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Clayton “Jr. Toots,” Hibbert, son of reggae legend Frederick “Toots” Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals, is proud to announce his fall tour in support of his latest CD, “Reggae Got Soul.” Jr. Toots’ northern California tour, with Irae Divine & The 7th St. Band, kicks off at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, on Thursday, Nov. 4. His dates include:
Nov. 4th - 9 p.m, Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz - (831) 479-1854.
Nov. 13th - Pier 23 on the Embarcadero, San Francisco, (415) 362-5125.
Nov. 19th - Caspar Inn, 14957 Caspar Rd., Caspar, CA, (707) 964-5565.
Jr. Toots’ Nov. 13 performance is a fundraiser for drummer/vocalist Wadi Gad, who is currently facing deportation form the U.S. Gad produced the track “Keep Jah by Your Side” on “Reggae Got Soul.”
For Information, go to:
ARTIST: Junior Toots FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TITLE: Reggae Got Soul
LABEL: Crown of Fire Records
CONTACT: Royal Management
JUNIOR TOOTS RELEASES NEXT GENERATION REGGAE CD “REGGAE GOT SOUL”
Next generation reggae artist Junior Toots releases his innovative CD “Reggae Got Soul” available for purchase on the band's site www.JuniorToots.com and www.amazon.com, www.cdbaby.com. This 2010 release on Crown of Fire Records is Junior Toots' third album continuing the reggae dynasty that extends to his father Toots Hibbert from the reggae legends Toots and the Maytals.
Junior Toots not only extends the legacy of reggae innovation, but his music is much more true to Rastafari and has an updated political relevancy for the 21st century. Yes, this album has some of the most interesting sonic combinations of music, mixing traditional horn arrangements and rhythms with a more modern twist. Junior Toots is not afraid to try unusual sounds, vocals, and instrumentations to communicate the message of love and peace in his music. The free use of samples, vocal effects, drum machines, loops and techno-inspired beats makes radical use of the reggae sound in the best traditions of Lee “Scratch” Perry and Bill Laswell's sonic dub. This is not the reggae you may be used to listening too, but it is with a sound more DJ-like electronic quality that is a familiar yet unique sonic journey. Several of the tracks also feature the Reggaeton sound which is a combination of reggae, hip hop and latin styles popular in many Carribean dance halls.
On the track “Herbsman,” Junior Toots sings “Officer, officer/ why don't you ease off the pressure... herbsman, herbsman/you better give up your connection/ herbsman, herbsman/ there will be no negotiation...” This is just a sample of his more politically inspired songs in the spirit of Burning Spear, Third World and Bob Marley. The title track to “Reggae Got Soul” is a not-so-faithful cover of the original Toots and the Maytal's tune with a new twist on its sonic boundaries. You may know the lyrics and the song, but you have never heard it this way before, when you find yourself singing along.
With an inspired live show, you don't want to miss Junior Toots' next performance in support of his latest release “Reggae Got Soul” on the Crown of Fire label. Check out Junior Toots' website for the latest tour information, downloads and other fan items at www.JuniorToots.com or at his MySpace page.
For management and booking contact Royal Management at (707) 234-7307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.