Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 1:00 pm | Updated: 8:44 am, Sat Feb 11, 2012.
Rising Lion brings uplifting reggae message to Taos By Ariana Kramer The Taos News | 0 comments
The Florida-based group Rising Lion is known for an exuberant stage presence and bringing positive vibes and an uplifting message to audiences. The band, which performs at 8 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 11) at the KTAOS Solar Center, blends roots reggae, R&B, rock, blues, jazz, country and hip-hop sounds. They recently added a female vocalist and new members for greater knock-out capacity.
Now a six-piece band, the grooves are laid down by Danny Dred (lead vocals, guitar), Ras Dave-Bass (vocals), Carlo Mercieri (guitar), Dennis Belisle (keyboards, saxophone, back vocals), Julie Montgomery (vocals, keyboards, percussion) and Brent Finlen (drums).
Singer-songwriter Danny Dred says he picked up his first guitar at the age of 6. "Obviously, I couldn't play it back then," he laughed, "though I tried."
At the age of 11 he acquired his first electric guitar, and by high school was playing in neighborhood bands. When he was in his late teens, Dred discovered reggae music and artists like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. It was a transformative experience.
"At that age you're still searching for things. It seemed to me that what they had in their hearts and what they were saying was linked to me, and how I felt. There was no turning back after that," said Dred who remembers being particularly struck by the unique culture of these black musicians. "I saw all the commonalities ... I didn't know there was a name ... but I knew this is my culture."
Asked to clarify what about reggae music attracted his attention, Dred remarked, "The message is peace and love and unity and harmony. And the music is so to the point in saying that." He added, "It's simple and pure and real."
For the past 18 years, Rising Lion has toured the United States and abroad, a favorite at festivals and concert series such as The Legends of Rasta Reggae tour, The New England Reggae Fest, The Annual Bob Marley Reggae Festival, Mountain Town Stages Concert Series and the Golden Gate Park Reggae Festival.
The band has released three full length albums: "New Day" (1998/Ruff Stuff Records), "Don't Lose Yourself" (2001/RPH/Ruff Stuff Records), "American Dread" (2008/Lion Productions) and has appeared on several compilation albums with artists Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, George Clinton, Gov't Mule, Fats Waller, Lead Belly, Glenn Washington, Frankie Paul, Yami Bolo and many others.
Dred said that among the band's many influences, he also loves country music and reggae music because they both tell stories about common experiences.
"We see things and say things that are real to people," Dred noted. As a songwriter he draws from personal experiences or those of people close to him. The magic of this, Dred explained, is that the songs touch people, on a personal level. To illustrate, he shared a story of a song he wrote when he was going through his divorce. He said he was later approached by a man at one of his concerts who thanked him for that particular song, which he said helped him to make it through his own divorce. Stories like that are what makes music-making magical, and worthwhile, for Dred. He also believes music is a force for societal change.
"Music is like a soap box, or a catalyst for socio-economic change, for pushing ideas out," Dred commented. "I put the message out there."
His newest album due to be released this year is titled "Changes." Dred explained that the title refers both to personal changes he went through in his life, and the socio-economic climate of the country.
"The economics in the country started to fail, and people went through a lot of changes. This is really going to define who we are, and what we are. It's going to take everything we can muster to get out of this."
Dred wrote the song "Changes" to open up "horizons in my mind and abilities." Another song from the album, called "Feeling Irie" refers to feeling good.
"I wrote 'Feeling Irie' about a guy having a day off of work, and having a good time with that day. He hasn't had a day off for a long time, and he has some time for himself that he can explore. And he's having a great day."
Dred said he writes about serious issues, but also composes light-hearted songs.
"I know to write some light music, too. You don't have to have some big serious thing happening all the time - your mind, heart, spirit needs both."
But, whether serious or playful, Rising Lion's music is aimed to help others to soar.
"When you're given certain talents and intelligence you have to use it for the upliftment of people," Dred said. "I strongly believe in that. In every way that I can right now I'm trying to do that. Music is the vehicle."
Tickets are $5, free for children. KTAOS is located at 9 State Road 150, El Prado. For more information on Rising Lion's show, call the KTAOS Solar Center at (575) 758-5826.
© 2012 The Taos News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Arbiter Online: Rising Lion brings positive message to Boise
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Iron like a lion in Zion | VailDaily.com
Risin Lion brings reggae message to Canyons show this Saturday
MATT JAMES, Of the Record staf
Each year, Mountain Town Stages books at least one reggae group for its spring concert series, and 2006 is no exception. While two bluesmen John Lee Hooker Jr. and Coco Montoya opened the series, Rising Lion will continue the series, offering its Rastafari sounds on The Canyons stage this Saturday.
The group comes as a part of The Canyons Spring Concert Series, which is presented by The Canyons Resort and Mountain Town Stages. The only performers returning to Park City , Rising Lion is a veteran of at least one past Mountain Town show. That, however, was not too recently.
"It's been a while, maybe four our five years," said Danny Dred, the group's founder and frontman.
But Dred said the band is no stranger to the road and the West. Despite making its home in Florida , every year, the band heads out to the mountains and the West Coast for a road swing. This year, the group's first show will be at The Canyons.
Speaking to The Park Record at midday Monday, Dred was about to head off down the road to Utah .
"We've toured every year for 14 years," he said.
While band members have changed, and time has passed, Dred said Rising Lion which includes Dred on guitar, Don Belton behind the drums, Ras Dave on bass and Mark Jung at the keys remains dedicated to its music and spreading its Rasta message.
"Rasta is a thing that's in you," said Dred. "It's a feeling of one love and unity in your heart."
The Rasta movement, he added, is all about positive change and equality.
"Reggae," he noted, "is definitely the vehicle."
Rising Lion defines itself as dance oriented, conscious reggae with a fiery guitar.
Playing mostly originals, the band adds elements of funk, hip hop, blues and rock 'n' roll to its mix.
Growing up in Florida , Dred said he heard mostly pop songs growing up, until he got a bit older.
"I think [at] about 17, I discovered reggae and I discovered Jimi Hendrix," he said.
Those influences which launched him into his career are audible in Dred's songs, which depart from the standard reggae beat to move at a hip hop pace or a jazz tempo.
Dred said the band's cover songs also give a good example of how the group is willing to branch out. He said the songs range from Bob Dylan to the Allman Brothers.
"Our choice of cover tunes," he noted, "is very eclectic."
Dred also talked about the importance of the guitar to standard reggae, noting that Bob Marley always kept a blues guitar player in his band.
"There's a special relationship between reggae and the blues guitar," concluded Dred. "It's in the same spirit."
Ultimately, Rising Lion combines its rock influences, reggae sounds and spiritual messages into a complete package.
"We don't compromise the music or the message," said Dred.
In the coming months the band will release a new studio album, "American Dread," the group's first since 2001. And after the studio release, another project is on the horizon.
"We've been recording all the live shows we've played, "said Dred, "so when we get done with the studio album, we'll do a live one."
The group's show at The Canyons and the rest of their Western tour will only provide more material. And while Dred said that, coming from a state known for both its warmth and flatness, he's not too big of a skier, but he did say he was looking forward to the concert.
"Basically," he said, "people can expect to dance and have a good time."
Rising Lion will play in The Forum at The Canyons Resort on Saturday, April 1 from 3:15-4:45 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information about the event, visit www.mountaintownstages.com or www.thecanyons.com.
Published in the Vail Daily October 3, 2004
VAIL - If there's anything we all need more of in our daily routine, it's positive vibes.
And that's the specialty plate served up from New York City's reggae king, Rising Lion, who will play a free gig at 8150 Monday.
And you can't get more roots reggae than Danny Dred.
Dred, the songwriter behind Rising Lion, has been performing since 1992. Rising Lion has released two full-length albums, "New Day" and "Don't Lose Yourself," and a third will be on its way this winter.
Rising Lion's tunes, characteristically full of simplicity and good cheer, take on a new fold in the upcoming release. Dred's mother died in 2000. His grandmother, uncle and a series of other loved ones followed in close succession, and Dred's coping process has involved a cathartic sequence of songwriting endeavors.
"You have to deal with things from a positive outlook," said Dred. "You have to open your mind to some positive thoughts. This album is about some introspective things I went through, and about me coming to terms with my own mortality. It's part of life. You never get over things like that. You just have to deal with it. Writing songs is my way of dealing with it."
Rising Lion's dynamic stage presence has incorporated the new lineup of tunes and delivers the same strain of reggae ambiance that it always has.
"The bass is the foundation on stage; it's what carries reggae music," said Rising Lion bass player Denfield Fellix. "You've got to get involved and bring in the flavor. People react to what they see you do. Personally, no matter what kind of negativity is going on around me, I bring my positive vibes onto the stage."
Rising Lion plays mostly original root reggae tunes. However, the band's been known to throw a few covers into its live gigs.
"We go all along the white style," said keyboardist John Mark. "We'll cover Bob Dylan and Van Morrison along with our originals. We do reggae (renditions). We'll throw in some Allman Brothers and even some Elton John. We try to stay diverse. It's not just the same stuff as everyone else."
With positive energy permeating the atmosphere at Rising Lion shows, the music could get carried away, if it weren't for drummer Linden Aaron keeping the beat in check.
"I feed off of the crowd's energy," he said. "I'm the time keeper. If they get hyped, I get hyped. But, you want to control it. The atmosphere for the Rising Lion show is more cultural because we have a lot of cultural music. It's roots music. We don't sing a lot of love songs, we don't sing a lot of 'Shot up this guy last week.' Everything is positive vibes."
After throwing out positive vibes for 10 years, one might think that Rising Lion has reached a comfortable musical plateau. But, as Dred himself will tell you, the sound is still evolving.
"People can expect to step into an arena where there's a lot of conscious and positive vibes going on," he said. "It's a lot of conscious and positive lyrics over dance music. We try to blaze our own trail with our kind of music. Within the reggae boat we're rowing, there's some hip hop, some R&B ... Rising Lion might put a Hendrix solo into a reggae tune. Every time we play, someone tries to back something up."
Rising Lion performs at 10 p.m. Monday at 8150 in Vail Village.
Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or email@example.com .
Harvest for the world
Lion's share: Orlando-based reggae champ Rising Lion has seen his hard work pay off
By Mark Padgett
Published 9/27/01 in Orlando Weekly
The continued success of reggae artist Rising Lion proves that you don't have to strike a deal with the major-label devil to share your art with the world. Since 1992, the Orlando-born-and- raised singer-songwriter has been making a living writing, recording and performing his musical missives. His headstrong indie course, fueled by a worldwide-distribution deal, has pushed his CD sales beyond the 30,000 mark.
"There's a lot of politics, man, in the world, in business," says Rising Lion, 36. "When you put out an independent release, however hard you work to make it successful, that's how much success you'll get. It's the series of battles and tribulations that makes you who you are."
"Don't Lose Yourself," released Aug. 21 on RPH Productions, is Lion's latest -- a mostly roots-reggae effort sprinkled with hip-hop, pop and rock flavoring. The production and musicianship on the CD are top-notch, but Rising Lion really wants listeners to delve into his heady subject matter.
"My aim is to make socially conscious music that's positive and that people can dance to," Lion says. Music "that goes over the boundaries, as far as socio-economic class and cultural lines. ... I try to bring a lot of consciousness to things, like the landmine situation," he says, pointing to "Landmine" from "Don't Lose Yourself." He also talks up taboo topics such the legalization of cannabis.
"The big corporations don't want you to know that you can get cleaner, more efficient-burning fuel from an acre of hemp than you can from petroleum."
Amen. And despite the touchy subject matter, Rising Lion keeps things on the happier, curse-free end of the spectrum. He says, "What the world needs more now than anything is love and more positive vibes. We have enough negative things that are trying to tear us apart."
That includes the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Lion's second home, where he records his accessible Island grooves.
"It's a big reminder to us how grave an issue that is," he says, having been in NYC when the WTC was bombed in 1993. "People are dealing with the issues of loss. I guess I have a lot of stuff to write about for the next record."
To date, Rising Lion has completed three full-lengths ("Rise Up," "New Day" and the new one), appeared on a handful of compilations ("Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide 2000," "Reggae Platinum") and had a cut featured on the soundtrack for "Sex, Drugs and Democracy," a DVD retrospective on Amsterdam's lax drug laws and the resulting effects. He's also a road warrior, having played more than 100 shows with industry heavyweights Yellowman, The Wailers, Michael Rose, Ziggy Marley, Lauryn Hill, Santana, Burning Spear and Inner Circle.
When he's not on the road, Rising Lion keeps the local clubs hopping with Lion II, a stripped-down trio that plays mostly covers and few, if any, of his originals. The threesome's next outing is Oct. 5 and 6 at Toucan Willie's in Oviedo. No doubt, Rising Lion's star should rise significantly this year, given the acceptance of crossover reggae acts Shaggy, Beanie Man and Super Cat. (He's the one who helped Sugar Ray "Fly" to the top of the charts.)
by Jennifer Gelband Published in Boise Weekly on October 6, 2004
A-Weem-A-Way. The lion sleeps no more. These days the lion is awake, and his fierce roar sounds more like dancehall reggae than doo-wop. Who could sleep through Rising Lion's soul-lifting music? The guy's reputation for delivering roots-infused good vibes is rock solid thanks to 10 years of touring and two full-length albums, New Day and Don't Lose Yourself. My prediction: His cuss word-free messages of love and hope are going to catch on, challenging current skanky, dance music.
Round 'Here Sunday
At the Beach Waterpark
BY MIKE BREEN
published in City Beat
The Beach Waterpark continues its weekly Sunday afternoon Reggae parties with Brooklyn's Rising Lion, in the midst of a massive nine-month tour promoting their first release, New Day (Ruff Stuff).
While the band, led by Rasta Danny Lott, uses various outside elements besides Reggae, New Day isn't especially groundbreaking, but how many Reggae bands today are? The group does what it does exceptionally, combining the Roots, songwriting-concentrated elements of early Bob Marley and Peter Tosh with the groovin' aspects of Dancehall. Lyrically, Lott writes about socio-political issues and sends praise to Jah often, making the group a different breed of Dancehall, which is usually reliant on sexually-charged lyrics. Still, the group isn't a militant political group and, more than anything, their sound and words are more than anything a celebration of life and Reggae.
Published in Ink 19
In the true spirit of positive vibration comes Rising Lion, with music and a message that, if carried out, could make the world better for all of us.
I have found New Day to be one of the few releases that can be played day or night, regardless of mood or circumstance, and still bring a feeling of peace and happiness. There is no magical sound within, yet the musicians have crafted a beautiful group of songs which Rising Lion, aka Danny Dred, accompanies wonderfully. He has assembled a talented group of background vocalists and horn section to further enhance his group. I do not have much background on RL or his label Ruff Stuff, except I believe this to be his debut CD. I am eager to find out what other talent Ruff Stuff may be promoting. They certainly have a gem in New Day !
Not all of the tracks are "Three Little Birds" poppy -- RL has a few that are pure reggae: "Rastaman," "Lyah Woman," "Lion Band Sound," and "Who Feel" simply sound great and make ya move! He includes dubbed up versions of the latter two songs. The remaining tracks are pure and uplifting. I mean, there's not much left to say with titles like "Rise Up," "Peace N' Love," "Hope Life Treats You Well," etc. With all the crap in our society bombarding one's life at any given time, it's refreshing to have an escape, a temporary sanctuary, in music like this.
I hope Rising Lion will find you, and find you well. Let Jah guide. http://www.risinglion.com
Mount Helena Music Festival , 2002 6:00 pm
"Rise up" with Rising Lion, one of New York City's hottest and liveliest dance party reggae groups. Rising Lion combines melodic harmonies and crushing funky grooves blazing the trial of roots, rock reggae from the East Coast all the way to Helena, Montana. Rising Lion adds an exciting and energetic dimension of reggae sound to their music. "Don't Lose Yourself" is their most recent record. Lead singer, Danny Dred's soulful, honest lyrics with move you. Catch the vibe with Rising Lion.
Chicago - April 20, 2002
Rising Lion: Family Gathering, by Issa Kellly
When I look at the inside cover of Rising Lion's current release 'Don't Lose Yourself' (Ruff Stuff/RPH Productions 2001) I come to a deeper overstanding of founder Danny Dread's words to me, "We play a little of everything, because we play for everyone." The picture is of the Rising Lion family and spans every shade of the human spectrum and reminds me of my family. Their faces are full of happiness, love, acceptance and self-confidence (a core character trait deemed necessary for a happy life by Danny Dread).
On the cover Danny Dread is standing in the middle of high-tech Babylon with his acoustic guitar, which could be a metaphor for their music. Rising Lion's signature is a blending of different styles and a deep love of all music that results in an explosion of sound that is anchored in the complex simplicity of reggae.
Papa Danny Dread, lead vocals and guitar, is at the head of the Rising Lion table for tonight's family gathering at The Wild Hare. To his right is Jack Stein on Keyboards. Jack ably fills the shoes of MC, backing vocals and, at times, lead vocals. To his left is mellow and smooth moving bassist John Meadows. Covering his back and making my skirt flap from the breeze created by the bass drum speaker at my knees is Gil Whylly.
During the second half the band struggled through engineering problems, like reoccurring feedback that could have loosened some fillings. The lead vocals could have been pulled up more, as well. Songs from 'Don't Lose Yourself' were featured. 'Landmine' (first released on R.A.W. 2000 Compilation) was one of my favorites. It's compelling lyrics: "What's this I see? Another military atrocity. Another Babylon political philosophy. Their landmine a military strategy. I say murder in the first degree.....A silent soldier in the sand......It's another hypocrisy.......30,000 die.....Africa, Bosnia and South East Asia just to name a few." 'House of Dread' with John's slick bass line and Gil's riding high hat made it into my top five for the night. With the crowd dwindling and the clock hitting three the Nyabingi influenced 'Jah Keep Us' closed the show.
I stayed to speak with the band and was greeted with happy hearts and tired eyes. When I asked where they were playing tomorrow they said with big smiles, "The pool. We have a day off!" The band broke into a sweat and a reasoning session while loading the van and gave me the opportunity to see the respect they have for each other, their love for the message and the much needed humor that can make a long road tour seem short. "You don't have to love this, but please respect it. A fraction of the truth, so you can't reject it." are the lyrics from the title track 'Don't Lose Yourself.' Yes Idren, big respect. One love.
This article is livicated to Pam 'Motby' Meadows (no relation to John). Pam was a livicated reggae supporter from Austin, Texas. As the photographer and one of the webmasters for www.flamingocantina.com and webmaster for www.chindog.com she shared herself, her vision and love with the world. She passed on to Zion, with her two children Lacy and Brady, in an automobile accident in Austin the night of this show. She was a fine wordsmith, who I can only hope to emulate. Her wit, humor, photographer's eye and love for nature and humanity will be missed on this earth. Respect and peace Motby, thank you for your inspiration.
Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! - Luke 10:23
Published in the Vail Daily
February 22, 2004
BRECKENRIDGE - Rising Lion extends his influence in the jungle of reggae by roaring onto stage with a progressive sound.
"Our music is not afraid to be different," said guitarist and lead vocalist Rising Lion, aka Danny Dred. "We use whatever we need to get the sounds and the vibes we're trying to get, whether it's blues, jazz, rock, distortion guitar or a hip-hop beat. Reggae's the vehicle, but within the vehicle there are all these genres that come out."
Dred divides his time between New York and Florida, playing with Jah Daniel on keyboards, Don Belton on drums and Ras Dave on bass.
Rising Lion alternates between more strict roots and an upbeat style that incorporates ska, dancehall, dub, rhythm-and-blues and whatever genre contributes to the sound. Dred's main influences include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix.
But more important than the range of styles Rising Lion incorporates is the message behind the beat.
"We're always writing conscious tunes and positive lyrics about social issues," Dred said. "I see reggae as very spiritual music. It brings a lot of socioeconomic categories - as well as cultures - together. Everyone's dancing and feeling the vibes without any fighting or disagreeing. We try to bring music people need to hear and issues people need to be aware of."
His debut album in 1998, "New Day," infused hip-hop and reggae with positive lyrics, and "Don't Lose Yourself," released in 2001, featured socially conscious lyrics and roots-reggae.
Last winter, he took a break from his usual touring schedule. The time off made him think about the importance of using music for a positive cause.
His next album, planned for release this year, will have a more introspective feel.
Dred lost his mother and grandmother recently, which brought up issues of bereavement and mortality. One of the songs, "I Am Going," talks about going to a better place after death, and "Time Is Marching On" is about bereavement. "I See the Light" shows how a person can change his perspective on life.
"(This album) came from a more experienced place," he said.
Rising Lion plays tonight starting about 10 p.m. at Sherpa & Yeti's in Breckenridge.