Interview with Producers Doc Holiday, Bill Reid and from the band Country Reggae “Drummie Zeb”)

Interview with Producers Doc Holiday, Bill Reid and from the band Country Reggae “Drummie Zeb”)
 
  1. Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about COUNTRY REGGAE for the first time. How would you describe the music to someone who has never seen or heard it before?
(BILL REID) Country Reggae is new to fans all across the world. Everyone knows “country” and “reggae”, but no one has every really put the two music styles together in one song. It was Doc Holiday, a well know country producer, who was able to blend the rhythm of reggae with the familiar melody of country music. So the result of blending these two music sounds is country music with steel guitars, banjo, and fiddle all over the top of a “feel good” reggae groove.  Country Reggae is all about up-tempo fun, dance filled melodies with sing along hooks.
  1. How was the last year for you? What were the highlights?
(DOC HOLIDAY) This past year we have been working on finishing the record “Country Reggae”. It has been a long involved process as we have spent a lot of time getting several famous vocalists on many of the songs as well as we used different well-known country and reggae musicians. The result is 12 songs that sound familiar yet different, as every singer gives a different style to each song. The highlight was seeing all these famous musicians playing these songs, for the first time, when we recorded it in Nashville Tennessee, during the flood there last year (2010). It was a wild experience.
  1. What’s your latest CD and how’s it doing?
   (DRUMMIE ZEB) Country Reggae is our first CD and it has just been released worldwide. The initial reaction from both fans and radio has been phenomenal.
  1. How did you choose the title for The CD, is there a story behind it?
(DRUMMIE ZEB) The story behind Country Reggae is that I have toured with Bob Marley’s band The Wailers, for the past 10 years. The Wailers have played all over the world with Europe being one of best markets for the band. Three years ago, we recorded a song called “Heaven” with Kenny Chesney, which went to number one in America on the country music charts. After a rehearsal for the Country Music Awards (CMA), I jammed with Kenny in a small club in Nashville called Tootsies and after that, Kenny asked me to join his band. I played and toured with Kenny for two years and it was then I realized that both country and reggae fans love to dance. With encouragement from Kenny, he told me that I should go out and record a Country Reggae record which, of course, I did, with a lot of help from many talented people. We choose the title Country Reggae because we want people to know that our music is the blend of country music with the dance groove of Bob Marley’s ‘One Drop Beat’.
  1. Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
(DRUMMIE ZEB)  I co-wrote 2 of the songs and several other well-known country music songwriters contributed songs as well. We originally recorded 18 songs, but we decided to hold 6 songs back for the next album. Doc Holiday, because he has over 60 years in the record business, helped select the songs that best reflect the sound of Country Reggae.  In fact, he (Doc Holiday) and his writing partner Janet Palazzo wrote 8 of the songs on the CD. They are a great song writing team.
  1. Please tell us about the songs on your album.
( BILL REID) Most of the songs on the CD really demonstrate the groove of reggae while still being country. There are 9 original songs and 3 covers. The first cover is Marley’s song ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ which holds true to the reggae drum and bass of the original song, but we added a fiddle by legendary Doug Kershaw and pedal steel guitar which gives the song a real country flavor. The second cover is Mel McDaniel’s big country hit ‘ Baby’s Got Blue Jeans On’ which features former Wailer’s lead singer and million selling singer with DJ Bob Sinclair, Gary Pine. We wanted Mel’s song to still be country, but Gary’s voice gives it a whole fresh look. The last cover is a Leon Russell’s song ‘Back to the Island’ which features country singer Kyle Davis. We wanted to have a slow dance song on the CD, so this is it.
The original songs, not in any particular order, are ‘Ole Mexico’, which is about how music brings everyone together despite skin color. ‘Sand In My Shoes’ is a song about a country boy leaving the farm behind for the sandy beaches of Jamaica. ‘ Chained To The Memory’ is a love song. ‘Thunder On The Mountain’ is a bluegrass song about my story behind getting Country Reggae together. ‘Jamaica’ is about leaving your troubles behind and finding fun in Jamaica. ‘Only Been A Few’ is a love song and ‘Put On the Breaks’ is about the fact that fathers don’t like to see their daughters grow up. ‘Just Dance’ is our line dance song and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a fantasy love song.
  1. What’s the difference between your last CD and the current one?
(DRUMMIE ZEB) This is my first country reggae CD but it will not be my last.
  1. The current single from the album COUNTRY REGGAE titled “PUT ON THE BRAKES”  is being played by radio. What do you think is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
( DOC HOLIDAY) We released ‘Put on the Brakes’ featuring Ricky Lynn Gregg in the fall of 2010 to a select few country stations to see how they liked it and as a test market. These stations loved ‘Brakes’ because country music fans could dance to it. Listeners told them they could feel the reggae groove, which is almost a Texas two-step and they said that the song was catchy.
       9.  What kinds of songs do you like to record or produce the most?
( BILL REID )We want to produce and record songs that get people up off their rear ends and onto the dance floor. We feel that there is just not enough dance songs in country music and Country Reggae is the answer.
10.  What’s your favorite song among all the songs you’ve recorded and what’s the story behind it?
(DRUMMIE ZEB) Man, I love all these songs but these are my favorites starting with ‘ Only Been a Few’ featuring Jeffrey Steele .We were impressed with the fact that he wanted to sing this song. Jeffrey is one of the biggest country music songwriters of all time with over 40 hits written by him and countless Grammys to his credit.  Yet, he liked the concept of Country Reggae and in particular these two songs, ‘Only Been a Few’ and ‘Changed To The Memory’ so much, that he wanted to sing them on the CD. Another favorite song is ‘ Alice In Wonderland’. This was a twenty-year-old song recorded after our producer, Doc Holiday, had spent a summer playing in a country band on a Caribbean cruise ship. I remember hearing this song as a demo when we were talking about doing this record ‘Country Reggae’ and it was the perfect country song with a sing along chorus, all on top of a reggae beat. A former guitarist, who toured with The Wailers, played the reggae guitar on this song. I would also like to mention I like ‘Just Dance’, which I co-wrote. We wanted to have a new line dance song and ‘ Just Dance’ was written for that reason. The duel vocals of country singer Dave Cynar and the reggae vocals of Gary Pine really make this song cook. We hope it becomes the first international Country Reggae line dance song.
     11. Who do you look up to musically and how deep do you music roots run?
( DRUMMIE ZEB) I have recorded with many amazing musicians in my life including The Wailers and Paul Simon, but the star I admire the most is, Kenny Chesney. Despite being the biggest star in country music, he is a real down to earth good guy who always treated me like a peer.  I cannot say enough good things about Kenny. He is the best and I am grateful for his help and friendship.
     12. As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recoding, touring, doing   interviews etc. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
  ( DRUMMIE ZEB ) Nothing beats playing music live. I have played drums my whole life and every time I play, I thank God for giving me the passion and energy to communicate great music
  to a live audience. Wait till you hear us live.
  1. Are you doing anything to take country music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?
( BILL REID ) Country Reggae is going to help bring fun and dancing back into country music. With what is going on in the world today, we think people everywhere will want to take a moment or two and have fun with music that moves their feet with songs, that are up tempo, catchy and that you can sing along to. Country Reggae is for music fans everywhere who want to dance and just have fun
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )
www.MySpace.com/ChristianLamitschka

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