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June 1 to June 7, 2017

LOCAL MUSIC SPOTLIGHT

www.coachellavalleyweekly.com

BY JACK ST. CLAIR

EASY WAY OUT (RECORD DROPS JUNE 2) JIMI FITZ NO

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BY ESTHER SANCHEZ

ZIGGY MARLEY LEGACY AND ICON PERFORMING IN THE DESERT

Photo By George Duchannes

imi Fitz returns with his new album No Easy Way Out, following his solid 2014 self-titled album. The new record offers up 8 tracks – 7 studio recordings and 1 live recording with the band Penny University. This collection delves more into the rock side than his previous record. Opening the record is the title track “No Easy Way Out”. It is an enticing mid-tempo rock song that catches steam at the chorus as Fitz sings the memorable hook “There’s no easy way out.” Fitz sings about how life isn’t always easy, but looking within yourself to stay positive is the best way to deal with what is thrown your way. It’s a perfect opener and the song that sticks with you the most. The following track, “Money,” evokes a bit of AC/DC with its opening salvo of distorted chords. Fitz warns about the trappings that love of money can bring. Bringing the sizzle and crunch to the track is Patrick Dean Bostrom, lead guitarist for the legendary Salton Sea punk band, Throw Rag. Along with his guitar playing, Bostrom also contributes high pitched backing vocals that work nicely in juxtaposition to Fitz’s deep baritone. The record offers some diversity, especially with the fourth track. The sound of a choir opens, “Who Are We.” With piano playing the lead instrument, harmonizing guitar parts and layered vocals, the song is reminiscent of something you might hear in Queen’s music. Of course Fitz’s voice is

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completely opposite that of Freddie Mercury. In this track Fitz’s trademark delivery is even more spoken than sung. In truth, this is really a gospel song. Certainly the vocals create that feeling, but Fitz’s words are like that of a preacher, reminding and inspiring us about the people we are and the people we could be. The diversity continues with “As Long As I’m With You” and “Worry”. These are both much different from the earlier tracks. “As Long As I’m With You” might just be a love song to his wife and co-writer, Wendy. But the music itself is intriguing and trippy. “Worry” is an acoustic based song that speaks of the most common problem with humanity – worry. “Worry. Worry. It’s a terrible thing. Has no place in a life worth living.” Regardless of your opinion on Fitz’s music, the words here are spot on. So much of the human condition revolves around fear and worry. And it can be stifling. After the title track, this is the most memorable. The album finishes with “Citizens of the Universe,” a live take with Penny University. The composition, harmonies and lyrics evoke the feeling of a few decades ago, perhaps the late 60’s or early 70’s. It is a beautiful song that reminds us we are all part of this one existence. Recorded at 17th Street Studios, in Costa Mesa, CA, this record is polished and solid. The songwriting, engineering and production from Fitz’s collaborator – Lewis Richards – and his wife, Wendy, are apparent throughout. There are many things that are appealing about Jimi Fitz’s music, but none so much as his voice. Fitz has been making music and spearheading radio shows since the 1980’s. His voice is the reason. The deep tenor of his delivery can be mesmerizing. Fitz has had much success with his annual fall show at the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, CA. Part of that is delivering music that has a bit of an edge to it, without turning a listener off. The lyrics to his songs are simple, poignant and without pretension. He doesn’t have to paint an abstract idea to his listeners. He is giving you his thoughts in straight forward terms. To check out this record, and more music from Jimi Fitz, go to www.jimifitz.com

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n Friday, June 16th Coachella Valley lovers of reggae music will be blessed with the return of the incomparable Ziggy Marley. As the son of a legend and himself being one of the most successful reggae artists of all time, Marley has spent his entire life in and around music, but he is no one-trick pony. On the contrary, the 8 time Grammy Award winner has kept himself busy by expressing his creativity through a multitude of mediums in recent years and has been finding success at every turn. CV Weekly: In 2011 you started doing a lot of writing. You recorded a children’s album and wrote the children’s book, ‘I Love You Too.’ What inspired you to focus on kids? Marley: “I thought about this a lot. I always want to make music that spreads positivity and love and with children, they have very open minds. They are the most open-minded beings and are not yet affected by the negativity of the world and are very receptive to lots of ideas and philosophies. I figured the best way to affect the world is to reach out to the younger generations with positive ideas.” CV Weekly: Around the same time you were writing the children’s book, you also put out a really cool graphic novel called Marijuana Man. Have you always been into comics, graphic novels, etcetera? Marley: “It wasn’t new to me. I have always loved the creativity that goes into this art form. I really enjoy reading them and being a part of it all.” CV Weekly: I just recently learned about your health food company, Ziggy Marley Organics. I enjoyed the motto which was what I assume is a quote from you, ‘I don’t want to put anything into my body that’s

Photo By Gregory Bojorquez

not natural, that wasn’t created by nature, because we are a part of nature.’ Marley: “The business part of it is all fine but like everything else I try to do, it is about spreading the message that I want to send. It is the message that goes with the entrepreneurial endeavor that is key. It’s important to me that whatever way I am branching out, be it with Ziggy Marley Organics or Marijuana Man, or whatever the venture may be, that the message is key because it’s not just about making money. It’s about having different ears listening to what we have to say. The multiple endeavors give us a chance to reach a wider audience.” CV Weekly: You have been in the music business for over 30 years. If you can go back in time and give advice to your younger self about the music business, what would you say? Marley: “I think I would tell myself to live in the moment more because a lot of it is kinda blurry.” You can pick up tickets to see Ziggy Marley live in concert at Spotlight29.com or at the Casino box office. ziggymarley.com

Coachella Valley Weekly - June 1 to June 7, 2017 Vol. 6 No. 11  

Coachella Valley Weekly - June 1 to June 7, 2017 Vol. 6 No. 11

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