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Earlier this decade, reggae was getting a fair amount of attention in the US and UK thanks to rap producers, rap/r’n’b stations, and alt-weekly critics giving love to dancehall. While those audiences may not be paying that much attention now, Jamaican singers and rappers are still keeping as busy as ever. Tarrus Riley is in town tonight, Sunday, at the Crossroads, and next Sunday a number of roots and dancehall reggae performers will be in DC at the City Center (the old DC Convention Center parking lot). Tarrus Riley, the son of vocalist Jimmy Riley, does not chat in a speedy dancehall style, but his beats and r’n’b friendly vocals are worthy of crossover attention (see this video). He is a soulful crooner who mixes romantic (see this video also) and cultural concerns in his lyrics and yet retains Caribbean street cred. His voice is impressive enough that it does not matter what he is warbling about, although the non-raunchy phrasing he uses may help him with some. Regarding tonight’s gig, he once did not come onstage at the Crossroads until nearly 2 a.m., but the club is promising an early show this evening.
Tarrus Riley, sax player/producer Dean Fraser, singer Duane Stephenson at 7 Sunday August 23 at the Crossroads, 4103 Baltimore Ave., Bladensburg, MD (301) 927-1056