Corey Harris – Zion Crossroads release + interview

Corey Harris

Corey Harris has recently released his latest album, ‘Zion Crossroads’ on Telarc Records. The CD is a “celebration of roots reggae, Ras Tafari, Ethiopia, and the African continent” and has received many accolades for being one of the best reggae albums of the year.

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Corey Harris released his debut solo acoustic album, ‘Between Midnight and Day’ in 1995 on Alligator Records. His debut was a delta blues style which was well received and soon after, he had an opening slot on tour with Natalie Merchant.

Since then Corey has continued to explore his musical roots, releasing more albums which included a move to Rounder Records for his 2002 release, ‘Downhome Sophisticate’, an album that “added layers of African and Latin music” – and he’s played genres ranging from funk to R&B, roots, reggae and hip-hop. Harris has toured in Guinea and Mali, West Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

In 2003, Corey Harris appeared in the Martin Scorsese documentary, Feel Like Going Home, an installment in the blues series that aired on PBS. In the film, Harris explores African-American blues on a journey that begins in the Mississippi delta and eventually takes him to Mali, where he discovers still more layers of African music to add to his repertoire.

Now with his 2007 release, ‘Zion Crossroads’, Corey has found his niche once again with an outstanding reggae release and is currently on tour in the US including upcoming shows in France and Australia. With his busy schedule, he’s taken the time out to answer some questions for Band Weblogs.

Corey Harris interview with BandWeblogs.com
Compiled by: Dave Tommo

Dave Tommo: Hi Corey. I’m listening to your ‘Zion Crossroads’ album and I love it. It’s my favourite type of reggae music. I read that you started out playing the blues. What made you cross over to reggae?

Corey Harris: Thank you. I don’t think of crossing over…Reggae and Blues are the same root, different branches. What made me cross over to Reggae? Living and travelling in Africa, knowing Selassie, Garvey, The Writings of Walter Rodney.

You play brilliant old school reggae, who are your biggest reggae influences?

Joseph Hill, Burning Spear, Sylford Walker, Augustus Pablo, The Gladiators.

I love your song, “Sweatshop”. What advice would you give to people who are shopping for clothes?

Try and be conscious in your purchases.

Who are your biggest blues influences?

Son House, Charley Patton.

What is your favourite type of relaxation?

Meditation, Bible Verses.

Do you cook? If so, can you tell us a meal that you like to cook up when at home?

–Raw papaya smoothie with ice, peanut butter, soy milk, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg
–Rice with yellow lentils and thyme
–Lightly steamed pumpkin, bok choy, carrot, onion, garlic with bragg liquid aminos and Mrs. Dash to taste
–Salad with walnuts, Blood Oranges, sprouts, avocado, Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar

Do you always gig with the same musicians?

Yes, same crew.

What other reggae bands have you played with or supported?

None. Have opened up for Burning Spear and Wailers.

How do you like playing in the UK and do you have plans to tour here in the future?

I would very much like to play the UK, but have not had any invitations yet to play there. I am ready to go.

What album are you listening to at present?

Utterance by Tuff Lion.

What album would you suggest for a first time reggae fan to listen to?

Any Trojan Reggae Compilation is a good start.

If aliens landed and said “take me to your leader”, who would you introduce them to?

I-Self!

What is the best thing about being alive?

Love and creation.

Where was your best gig and why?

The best gig is the next one…

For more information about Corey Harris, tour dates and to purchase his CDs, go to:

Corey Harris on Myspace