Bunny Wailer Crosses Cultures On New Album
Reggae icon Bunny Wailer says his next studio record will find him dabbling in more mainstreams sounds and styles, and embracing the popular music of America and England.Reggae icon Bunny Wailer says his next studio record will find him dabbling in more mainstreams sounds and styles, and embracing the popular music of America and England.
"I'm taking time out in this album to play other musical cultures, like hip-hop, R&B, rap, you name it," the 59-year-old Wailer tells Billboard.com, noting that his self-described "crossover" album will be titled "Cross Culture."
"I've been acquainted with America's music and British music over the years, and I've been absorbing, listening, learning and accepting those things people playing [that] music would accept from being acquainted to reggae," he continues. "Because as you know, there's a lot of other artists who take time out to play reggae music."
Among the songs to be included on the disc is a cover of the Sly & the Family Stone classic "Family Affair," an interesting choice, as Wailer opened for the group in the early '70s while still a member of the Wailers. "Cross Culture" will be released on his own Solomonic label and licensed for international release and distribution.
With the passing of Bob Marley of cancer in 1981 and the slaying of Peter Tosh in 1987, Wailer is the only living original member of the Wailers, Jamaica's greatest reggae group. Since leaving the band in 1974, he has continually recorded but only made sporadic live appearances.
Despite leaving Marley and company as the Wailers were on the cusp of an international breakthrough, Wailer, born Bunny Livingston, remained friends with his bandmates, with whom he shares relatives.
Earlier this summer, he made the unexpected announcement that he would join Marley's sons Ziggy and Stephen for a brief tour of the U.S., which kicks off Aug. 6 at the annual Reggae on the River festival in Piercy, Calif.
Of the decision, Wailer says, "It was something that was destined to be. I had to accept life for what it's worth. And I think at this time, it's worth the trip of going together with sons and family, and the nephews. That's something that was destined to be by the will of the most high. We don't make plans, we fall into plans."