'New Kingston' on the move

Published: Tuesday | April 7, 2009

New Kingston band members (from left) Leighton, Steve, Courtney and Tahir. - Contributed

Reggae band New Kingston was in New Kingston recently, performing at Christopher's Jazz Café. During their eight-day trip to Jamaica, the 'Jamerican' band also performed at Weekenz, as they warmed up for a West Coast tour of the USA. The four-member band of Leighton, Courtney, Steve and Tahir - all brothers - are managed by father, Courtney Panton, and coins its sound 'reggae crossover'.

The band members' age ranges from 19-26 years old and they are based in New York where two of the members were born.

Courtney Jr spoke with The Gleaner about the band's identity and upcoming performances.

You're currently working on your second album. How is this one different from your first, Mankind?

The number one thing is the first album, the guitarist (Steve) was the lead singer. The second album is a variety of all of us singing. The first album was also more laid-back, easy listening. This album is more uptempo and more variety.

Why is that?

Just the growth of us and to appeal to our age-range, as well as to older people.

How was the reception in Jamaica?

It was great.

What has the band been up to since it left Jamaica last week?

Currently we're rehearsing for our West Coast tour which starts April 14. We're touring with Collie Budz and then we're going to Hawaii after that.

You're actually Collie Budz' backing band, correct?

Yes. We support Collie Budz and he allows us to open and do our act. He carried us to Europe twice.

What was the response there?

It was very great. When we went there nobody knew our music at all and by the last week of the tour, there were people who followed the tour for New Kingston and people were singing our songs. We've never experienced that before and it was a wonderful experience.

How did the band name come about?

Our father, Courtney Panton, his group was originally called Kingston, so now we are the new generation; the new Kingston.

What are the pros and cons of being in a band with your three brothers?

(Laughs) Everybody has their own idiosyncrasies but the most important thing is coming together as a business and respecting one another. When it comes time to work, all the play and fun is put aside. Outside of that, there's still a lot of jokes and argument but we keep it civil because its still family at the end of the day.

Is there a special camaraderie because you're all brothers?

Not really. It's just because we have our father who sets the discipline and the foundation for us.

How would you describe your sound?

Reggae crossover. We have a blend of everything so we call it reggae crossover.

Which bands influence New Kingston?

We like Earth, Wind and Fire because the sound they have when they play together live is just a great sound. Third World as well because their music is great.

- LeVaughn Flynn