Next Gig: Friday (September 17), 7:30pm, Castle Theater, MACC, $20/$25/$30
New Album: The Green (2010)
Essential Tracks: “What Will Be Will Be,” “Never,” “Trod The Hard Road,” “Rootsie Roots”
Online: The Green Band on Facebook; www.myspace.com/thegreen808
@thegreenband on Twitter
Go ahead — judge The Green by its cover. Amidst the piles of often insipid discs that cross our editorial desks, The Green’s 2010 self-titled debut shines like the Honolulu city lights that decorate it (with an original illustration by artist — and childhood friend of the group — Kamea Hadar). But where other artists’ albums may mislead with fortunate design (although on occasions all too few and far between), this band’s brand of local reggae does not disappoint, and further still is an exciting indication as to how they might grow.
This 13-track, all-original record may have just dropped in early February, but fans are by no means green (sorry… there will be a few) to the foursome behind the music; comprised of Ikaika Antone (keys, vocals), JP Kennedy (guitar, bass, vocals), Caleb Keolanui (lead vocals) and Zion Thompson (guitar, percussion, vocals). The proverbial seeds for The Green were planted years ago, with well known endeavors like Stir Crazy, THC and Humble Soul (with Antone and Thompson), as well as The Next Generation (with all but Thompson, who himself recently toured California with Mystic Roots); but have found a sound balance with their current configuration.
“The cool thing about our band is that we’re all very different,” says Kennedy. “We’re all very similar in a lot of ways, but (ultimately) we’re all very different — and that’s what I think makes us unique.”
Their sold out shows and radio wave-takeover are evidence of their quality sound — true to roots, though not afraid of rock riffs and shades of soul — that more than gives hope to a Jawaiian genre that is often stale and incestuous-sounding.
“We’re working hard,” Kennedy says. “We have a lot of new music, actually, that we’re kind of forced to hold back,” he adds of not wanting to put out too much too quickly. “We might release a single, or two or three tracks in December.” Maui audiences will have the opportunity to preview some of this new music at the band’s MACC concert on Friday September 17 — their first Valley Isle show in over seven months, says Kennedy (and not since prior to their album’s release).
“We have a few tracks that we’ve been practicing, and we’d like to see how the crowd likes (them),” Kenndey says, before adding with a small chuckle, “well, we like
to play them.”
As for where this overgrowth of material comes from, Kennedy says “we all have a pretty healthy library of (original) music,” with each member partaking in the songwriting process, “but Caleb is kind of going on a rampage right now.” Keolanui — Kennedy’s cousin, who he says despite his lead vocal position, can sometimes be shy (and as a little-known factoid, goes by the nickname “Sniggs”) — is The Green’s youngest member, having just turned 21 years old, and has been “showing up” the rest of the band with his voracity for songcraft. “There’s a lot that’s going to be coming from Caleb in the next couple years, for sure.”
As for the band as a whole, “we definitely want to take our production to the next level,” Kennedy says. Despite their various successes, he remains humbly forward-looking by saying “we’re focused on getting the best sound, and are pretty confident about what we’re going to have in the future.” And it’s all systems go future that’s bright indeed.