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Levy releases first single in 15 years ... plans acoustic album

Published:Sunday | October 6, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Barrington Levy, a perennial Jamaican crowd favourite.

Despite Barrington Levy's enduring presence on record (his collaborations with hip-hop artistes such as Shyne are standouts) and on stage (his International Night 1 performance on this year's Reggae Sumfest was one of the festival's highlights), his new song with Vegas is his first single in 15 years.

The previous one was Living Dangerously, with Bounty Killer. Ironically, the September 2013 release, Love the Way She Love, is with Vegas - with whom Bounty Killer is currently embroiled in a Twitter dispute.

Produced by Levy's Black Roses Entertainment, the uptempo song is accompanied by a party-themed music video, which is also credited to Black Roses. Levy said while there is some promotion being done in Jamaica, the push is "mostly outside Jamaica. My (recent) trip across America was based on promoting the single".

Not releasing a single in 15 years does not mean that the man dubbed by some as the 'Mellow Canary' for his clear, piercing tone and who is known for the near yodel he does live and on record in Here I Come (often called Broader than Broadway). Releasing the material, however, was another matter.

However, Levy seems to take the view that staying away is not a permanent option. So, releasing Love the Way You Love is a matter of re-engaging with his only professional pursuit.

"This is what I do. I don't know nothing else," he said.

Plus, there is the matter of absence creating demand.

"I don't like to be too much in people's face."

Still, there is no shortage of demand for Levy to perform. "I have been touring on what I have so far. I am not a greedy person," he said.

"It keep the family together and keep me alive - pays the bills, sends the kids to school," he said.

Choosing Vegas to collaborate with resulted from more than one factor.

"I like Vegas' style. Not that everything Vegas sing, I am going to tell you I am down with it, but the fact that Vegas can admire the older folks, him come into the business come see and can actually go on stage and talk about it," Levy said, noting that Vegas often mentions him in his interviews.

There are other collaborations as well, as Levy is working on an acoustic album.

"I am looking forward to it and it sounds really, really great. It is a combination of previously released and new material, Levy saying "I am looking at a 14-track album".

He is going for guitar and voice only, the guitarists including Patrice (whose vocals are also on the album) and Monty (a member of C-Sharp Band), who Levy said is working on a number of songs on the album. Among the new tracks are Things Friend and Life Is Great (done with Patrice); the reworked songs include Prison Oval Rock and Black Roses.

"It is a wicked album," Levy said, emphasising, "I am not a narrow-minded artiste." Plus the acoustic sound is not new to Levy, as Vice-Versa Love and Vibes Is Right are somewhat in that vein.

- M.C.