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by yossi July 27, 2009

NEW YORK (Billboard) – After numerous delays, Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu’s third studio album, “Light,” is scheduled to be released August 25th. The 13-song set was recorded in numerous locations, including Jamaica, New York, Los Angeles and Virginia, over the past year. It features collaborations with numerous artists and producers, among them prolific reggae rhythm team Sly & Robbie, Stephen McGregor, David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Sublime) and members of Fishbone. Matisyahu said the record was finished more than a year ago, but touring duties and personnel changes at Epic Records led to the decision to put it on hold. “A new president got hired at Epic Records — Amanda Ghost. She listened to it and wasn’t really feeling the single,” Matisyahu told “I went back in, met with a couple of producers, and made two more songs for the record.” Those last sessions yielded the tracks “For You” and “One Day,” the latter of which will be the lead single. “Light” retains the reggae/dub feel that Matisyahu is known for, but on several songs he explores new territory. “It kind of just happened,” he said of the varied styles on “Light.” “The more I’ve been involved in music, the more I’ve been able to say I like this kind of guitar sound, this kind of production. So, I didn’t feel constricted by anything.” On cuts such as the roots-oriented “Thunder” and the folk-tinged “Silence,” Matisyahu abandons the rap-style vocal approach for melodic singing. “A person’s voice has a natural tendency to it — you listen to different artists, you listen to different people, and you start to subconsciously mold your voice to how you like it,” he said. “I spent all this time listening to Bob Marley, a lot of dance hall — and when I started writing raps and rhymes, it started coming out sounding like a version of those artists. I spent the last four years seriously working on my voice: taking lessons and trying to rediscover my natural voice.” Matisyahu is at the beginning of a summer tour that extends through mid-July. He’s co-headlining with Les Claypool and is slated to co-headline four gigs with Chicago jam band Umphrey’s McGee. Hip-hop artist K’Naan will provide support on eight gigs. It was a break from touring, Matisyahu said, that helped in the creation of “Light.” “The last year, I spent more time at home than I have in the last five years,” he said. “There was something on this record that was more about staying stationary — not running around and just getting into myself, a more introverted place.” (Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)


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