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Ras Alan: News

Ras Alan & The Lions to commemorate the 1997 Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide Conference in Asheville, NC


By the time Appalachian Reggae innovator Ras Alan and his label Red Pepper Records hosted the 1997 Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide conference and showcase in Asheville, NC, he and his band, The Lions, had already released two full length albums, performed at the Wichita World Reggae Festival and the Utah State Fairpark, headlined at Freemont Street Reggae and Blues (Las Vegas' first downtown live music club) and set the standard for quality, original, Rastafari-inspired American reggae and reggabilly roots music.

Now, 20 years later, join Ras Alan & The Lions as they Give Thanks for the early days, play homage to the many Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide and continue to bring forward live, high quality, conscious dance music to the stage at the Salvage Station, by the river in lovely Asheville, NC on Saturday evening, September 23, 2017 at 9pm. Bring your friends, neighbors and dancing shoes. Come hear the Lions roar! Respect!


Tour dates soon to be announced! - August 15, 2016


New Album set for 2016 Release! - January 22, 2016

Ras Alan spent much of 2015 in the recording studio, and the fruits of that labor will soon be available to all our family, friends and fans. The theme of Love runs all through the record, with 13 new, original tunes exploring that I-niversal of all human emotions. The album is slated for a Spring arrival, just in time for you organic farmers and ecstatic dancers to thump a loving soundtrack across the homestead, or bump the boombox in the barn or crank the woofers in the old truck! (...And we hear there's even more music coming on this album's heels. Yea man!)


The Overtakers Live from Negril, Jamaica - August 23, 2015

The Overtakers from Negril, Jamaica, have an Asheville Music Hall date just added to their current US tour. Come check the real mento and reggae from our friends Ruth, Ruben and Leroy on Friday, September 4. I'll also be performing new original material, and the Pond Brothers are bringing the vibes as well. Opening DJ sets by I-Lou and Red Iya. Yes man!

The Overtakers have fallen on hardship as the Jamaican Government has finally reclaimed the land they have lived on for many many years near the TEXACO station in Negril. They have been granted a new piece of land further from Negril and they must rebuild. All funds raised will go to The Overtakers and rebuilding for their family.

Ras Alan & The Lions Headline Saturday Sept 6, 2014 at the Backwoods Music Festival - September 6, 2014

Back Roads Music Festival, in cooperation with Visit Wise County Tourism Productions, is pleased to announce the outdoor music event of this year: THE BACK ROADS MUSIC FESTIVAL, enlivening the mountains Friday and Saturday September 5th & 6th 2014. Location for the event will be the Wise County Fair Grounds in Wise, VA Featured will be over 21 local, regional, and national bands including: Ras Alan & the Lions, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, Scott Miller w/ Rayna Gellert and Bryn Davies, Nick Stump, BonePony, Brett Ratliff & the Giant Rooster Side Show, Mike Williams (founder of B F Deal Records from Austin Texas), Brandon Maggard, If Birds Could Fly, Foddershock, Craig Street Ramblers, Parts Department, Katie Did-it, Nobody Famous, Ron Short, Gene Cole, Tadcaster, Neal Spears and Unit 31, and T-Bone. Master of Ceremonies is the world renowned poet and radio personality Wiley Quixote aka Jim Webb! Appalachian folksinger Ras Alan mixes old-time and bluegrass music with reggae! Equal parts Doc Watson and Bob Marley, The Carter Family and Burning Spear, Ras Alan has blending old time Appalachian music with reggae rhythms and Rastafari spirit for over 20 years. His self-styled “reggabilly” has won Alan wide acclaim; he has toured Jamaica numerous times with his band, The Lions, has been profiled on programs on both CMT and PBS, was a featured performer at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival during their Year of Appalachia, and three of his albums are now permanently housed in the Smithsonian Archives. Scott Miller once said “Growing up, my family was isolated just by mere location. Turns out that doesn’t insulate you from any of the troubles all of us have…". Steve Earle has declared Miller a “world class” songwriter - signing him and his former band The V-Roys to his record label ESquared and producing their two bedrock Americana albums. BIG BIG WORLD is the third release on Miller’s record label F.A.Y. Recordings. “I really was ahead of the curve by starting my own label years ago” said Scott. Weekend pass includes free camping with your car!!! (no pets, no glass bottles) Food vendors are available. Cost is $ 50.00 if purchased before Sept 1 st. If purchased at gate $60.00. Both prices include parking and camping for the weekend. Limited RV access for additional cost. Larry Cordle and Mike Williams will be conducting singer/songwriters workshop on Saturday! Please see website to sign up. Limited seating available for this event. Portion of proceeds from this event will go towards reprinting the 2 CD set of coal mining music including 68 pages of liner notes entitled THE MUSIC OF COAL ( ). For more information on the Back Roads Music Festival, and/or to purchase tickets & sign-up for workshops and see the complete line-up including videos of the bands please visit us at one of the following sites:,, . Food vendors are available. For questions or more information. Please contact Marlena Doka (606) 237-4482

Ras Alan & The Lions open Highland Brewing Company's Meadow Stage - April 14, 2014

The Asheville faithful showed up (about 1,100 of you!) for the first 2014 date in Highland Brewing Company's lovely Meadow Stage concert area on Friday, April 11, 2014. The weather was perfect, the smiles were abundant, the dancers had ample room to express their joy for Springtime and The Lions "roared" as one attendee commented. Giving Thanks for the fat bass tones of Dennis "Jah B" Berndt, Nethali "NeddyMon" Percival's full percussion flavorings and Nik Hope's thunderous one drop and ska drumkit. Ras Alan turned up the Strat and let those vintage amp tubes glow! Look for more of this high-energy music throughout the 2014 season! Respect

ORGANIC reviewed in Now & Then magazine - August 2, 2012

Now & Then, The Appalachian Magazine, Vol 28, No.1 just published by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Science @ ETSU includes this review of ORGANIC by Wayne Winkler. "Where is the common ground among Bob Marley and the Wailers and the Carter Family? As it turns out, that common ground is in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina. Ras Alan's newest release reflects the improvised "do it yourself" ethic that marks traditional life in both rural Appalachia and rural Jamaica. The songs are a celebration of life, nature, and roots, both musical and familial. From the opening guitar scratch of the title song to the crickets on the fadeout of "Days Gone By", ORGANIC continues Ras Alan's joyous exploration of the genre he created."

Folk! - May 26, 2012

Yes i met a old time country music player here last Thursday
who spoke well of Ras Alan whom he had met and heard play...he bigged up the bass player too...
He had met Ras Alan in Asheville NC area where they
played together on the same bill and they had met again at the Smithsonian where they again played…
at a 'folk' music event!!!!!


ORGANIC CD RELEASE - January 28, 2012

RAS ALAN, the I-fficial Appalachian Reggae Master, celebrates 2012 with the new Red Pepper Records release, ORGANIC!

ORGANIC full length CDs, T Shirts and stickers in stock! Official CD drop date FEBRUARY 22, 2012!


Ras Alan, dB and producer John Brown on WJHL - July 16, 2010

Ras Alan sings the summer hit "Organic" with his trusty sidekick(box) dB, and producer John Brown speaks about the Dogwood Park Concert Series 2010, free public concerts in the Ginny Kidwell Ampitheater in Greeneville, TN. Come one and all to free live music on a summer's night!

RAS ALAN & THE LIONS to perform in Boone, NC and Bristol, TN/VA - April 15, 2010

Red Pepper Records invites all friends, fans and family to two nights of live Appalachian reggae and reggabilly hits by the Blue Ridge mountains’ own Ras Alan & The Lions, appearing Friday, April 16, at The ReelHouse in Boone, NC ( and Saturday, April 17 at Machiavelli’s in Bristol, TN ( Specially priced CDs will be available at the shows. Doors at 9pm. Join your neighbors and welcome Springtime to Appalachia... Respect!

Hear more about Appalachian reggae with the band live on WASU fm 90.5 at 7pm EST in Boone, NC before the ReelHouse performance.

For more info please check , , , , or the new Face book fan page at .

MUSIC TAKES ANOTHER HIT! - January 26, 2010

Well friends, fans and dreadnecks, another stalwart of the southern Appalachian region's musical heritage and legacy has succumbed to the lure of "news and information programming". In their own words:

WETS-FM Adopts News/Information Programming

On Monday, February 1, WETS-FM (89.5 MHz) will undergo a significant transformation. The non-commercial public station licensed to East Tennessee State University will change its weekday programming to news and information.

Monday’s programming change will mean that classical and Americana music are no longer heard at 89.5 on weekdays, although Americana will be featured on weekend programs.

“We have examined programming options for WETS for more than two years,” said Wayne Winkler, station manager. “WETS has been a vital part of our community for 36 years, and we feel this change will best fulfill the mission of the university and of WETS-FM. We feel a new approach to programming is in the best interest of the station, its listeners, and its financial future.”

Man. Appalachia with no music. This is a travesty and I encourage everyone in the WETS listening region, as well as online, to let them hear from you. My response was:

I just heard the horrible news. News rules! Since Jack Tottle days I've been an avid listener to the intelligent presentation of the music of my home, Appalachia, and it's many variations. Phil Leonard probably singlehandedly educated this whole area on the variety and value of our local culture and musical legacy. In the 1980's, Wayne Winkler's Rock and Roll Over's multi-broadcast specials on Reggae circulated thru Appalachia on cassette for years. Mike Strickland has introduced the area to musicians from all over the globe inspired my the music from our front porches. George Hammond brought other music and musicians to my attention. And these DJs are all good people too!I played my own original music, David Grisman "New Acoustic" tunes and acoustic versions of Bob Marley songs in the WETS studio when it was in the old white house. Myself, as well as many carpenters, electricians, masons, painters, woodworkers and others in the trades, as well as every type of craftsman and artisan in western North Carolina and East Tennessee, have counted for years on the musical accompaniment of WETS for our countless creative projects. My own recorded music has played on the station many times and I've been blessed to bring many of the regions' talented musicians into the WETS studios as my bandmates for live broadcasts. Having a computer run a program and not having a live person in the broadcast booth to answer the phone after a particularly stirring or inspiring or intriging song is bad enough. And now this...

Appalachia with no music? NEVER!

1993-2010: 17 Years of Appalachian Reggae - January 15, 2010

It's amazing to realize the first "Appalachian Reggae" album was released 17 years ago! And the musical style itself was evolving for at least 10 years before that. Many folks in the southern Appalachian region had been listening to, collecting, trading and sharing the wonderful musical experience called "reggae" since the early 1970's. Some of the more adventurous and curious had been to the Caribbean and Jamaica to search out the source of the rhythms and poetry themselves, bringing home to the American mountains stories of dreadlocked families in the hills, all night dance parties in the streets, massive piles of wooden speaker boxes thumpin the latest reggae riddim and of course the clear, beautiful water, lush vegetation and the exuberant smiles of Jamaica's many-colored citizens.

Ras Alan was a musician, aspiring guitar builder, electrician and carpenter living and working in the Boone area in western North Carolina. After hearing numerous reggae cassette tapes at various jobsites, some collected on the beach in Negril, Jamaica, he heard about the grandaddy of all reggae festivals, Sunsplash, held at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay, Jamaica. In the spring of 1985, he sold a table saw, booked a flight (his first) and bought a ticket to the 5 day festival. When Ras Alan arrived on the tarmac at Sangster International Airport that hot August day, he picked up his backpack and asked how to get to Ironshore, where he'd be camping.

A minibus dropped him at the end of the small sand road, between a couple grazing goats and a Rasta selling coconuts, tossing the green-husked fruit in the air and swinging the machete, just once, to reveal a paper-thin membrane between the cool water inside and the humid density outside. "Fresh!"

And so began a 25 year experiential love affair between a regular, curious, mountain observer, traditional at heart and radical in thought, and the musical muse that would inspire songline, bassline and Lifeline.

Bele Chere 2009! - July 26, 2009

The smiling crowds loved it all... a few songs from each of the albums, the new material to be included on the album ORGANIC and the fresh, cooling rain for a few minutes in the middle of the set! Brother Bob thumped the gazillion watt thunderous basslines, Billy "Mismo Joe" Owens nailed the one drop drumlines and skittering high hats and Ras Alan pushed the output tubes of the vintage amps into "summer festival" territory. Ras Nethali joined in on congas and shakers on the closing numbers "Days Gone By" and "Jah Jah Lives", and the kids, teenagers, Grandmas, young folks, babies in carriages and the festival personel swung and swayed to the all original Appalachian Reggae.

Ras Alan was a featured artist on the Bele Chere live radio station, 880 the Revelution, and interviewed with Kim and Brian live in front of Pack Place. He spoke of the opportunities to meet and perform with his many reggae, Rasta and world musical influences, and how so many of them want to tour through southern Appalachia. "It's the vibes!" he said.

We noticed there were audience tapers in front of the sound booth for the Ras Alan & The Lions set. Can someone please send us a copy? We'd love to have it! Please email any inquiries to and thanks in advance for any leads...

Ras Alan Live on WSQL AM - March 3, 2009

Radio Host Spencer Jones welcomed Ras Alan to his "Jonesin' with Masterpeice Jones" live radio show on WSQL 1240 AM, Brevard, NC on Monday nite, March 2, 2009. Ras Alan performed one of his current hits, "Organic", for his youngest daughter, whose birthday was celebrated that day. (She and her siblings helped write the song!) He also performed versions of "Beauty & Love" and "Days Gone By", songs from the new album, currently in pre-production. Thanks again Spencer, and to Kyle for setting up the visit. Where are the white squirrels in Brevard anyway?

RAS ALAN’S Annual “Giving Thanks” Show - October 31, 2008

Greeneville, TN – Red Pepper Records and the Down Home are pleased to welcome Appalachian Reggae innovator Ras Alan and his annual “Giving Thanks” show on Saturday, November 8, 2008. Longtime musical partner Brother Bob Franklin will join Ras Alan on bass and vocals as they perform material from the upcoming ORGANIC album, Appalachian reggae hits and reggabilly favorites. Doors open at 6pm for dinner and the show is at 9pm. Tickets are $10. Bring your family, friends and neighbors!

Ras Alan and Brother Bob perform lively duo versions of the songs on ORGANIC. The title song, widely requested this festival season, is a family story, with front porch fiddlin’, grinnin’ children and garden waltzin’…”I forgot my shirt!” It’s about love, it’s about gardens, it’s about compost, it’s about the harvest, it’s about giving Thanks. Appalachian reggae dancehall at it’s best. You’ll be movin’ and groovin’- “Don’t panic… Organic!”

“Beauty & Love”, a joyful piece from the upcoming album, is refreshing optimism during trying times. Ras Alan’s verses tell a story of daily observation, while smiles fill the room as fans sing the chorus, sharing “beauty, and love, and positivity…”. Here’s where the furniture gets pushed aside for room to dance! The guitar, bass-line and drinkbox set the mood for the “talking blues” (BEAT magazine-L.A.) style vocal delivery, until the sweet mountain harmonies blend with the crowd singing again around the renowned Down Home stage.

A native of Burke County in western North Carolina, Ras Alan began his music career in earnest in 1979, leaving his small music shop and coffee house in Boone, NC for a guitar building apprenticeship outside Nashville, TN. After playing several “newgrass” shows on the West Coast, he moved home to the Blue Ridge mountains and performed in several “new acoustic” groups. Ras Alan began studying the Rasta rhythms of reggae music and by the mid 1980’s was in his first reggae inspired outfit, I-Land, a blend of highland and island sounds.

Ras Alan’s first trip to Jamaica in 1985 was to experience Reggae Sunsplash firsthand and feel for himself the similarities to his own Appalachian heritage. He began to meet and perform with many musicians from the Caribbean and Africa, picking up de riddims along the way. He travelled in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, listening to indigenous music wherever it could be heard. After
releasing an album of world beat jazz music in 1990, Voice of The Turtle, he explored the beaches and mountains of Jamaica by bicycle, sleeping in a tent, cooking the local foods on a kerosene camp stove and recording music on a solar-powered tape recorder. He biked and camped the island of Antigua next. Then, by crewing on a 31’ sailboat, Ras Alan visited Guadalupe, Martinique, Dominica and St. Lucia, learning from the island locals during the day and recording French-speaking Soca radio stations at night.

The original reggabilly rastaman, Ras Alan began assembling The Lions, his live electric and studio band, in 1991. The following year, Red Pepper Records, Ras Alan’s own label, distributed his first Appalachian reggae CD, NATIVE. The albums STONE INNA HURRICANE, LETTER FROM APPALACHIA and FOLKLIFE- LIVE AT THE SMITHSONIAN FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL followed, with a new cd, ORGANIC, due in 2009.

The Smithsonian Institution, Country Music Television, the Archives of
Appalachia at East Tennessee State University, PBS, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide, National Public Radio stations and internet radio worldwide all feature Ras Alan and his music in their programming. Ras Alan shares his “One HeartBeat- Appalachia to Zimbabwe” program for children at schools and events across the region.

Sing, dance, smile and “Give Thanks!” with Ras Alan and Brother Bob at the Down Home, 300 West Main Street, Johnson City, Tennessee on Saturday night, November 8, 2008. For more info call the Down Home at 423-929-9822 or, and check Ras Alan and his music at;;

RAS ALAN AT DOWN HOME “1993-2008: 15 Years of Appalachian Reggae” - January 17, 2008

Greeneville, TN Jan. 17, 2008- He celebrated Bob Marley’s TALKING BLUES reggae
release in Jamaica with Ziggy, Stephen, Julian and Rita Marley; he picked informal
gospel and swing tunes with American music icons Doc Watson and Jethro Burns; he
learned ancient tribal rhythms and melodies at the feet of African blues master Ali Farke
Toure. His original “reggabilly” songs and self-produced CDs have navigated the
Grammy@ process, enlivened the Archives of Appalachia and represent “Contemporary
Southern Appalachian Culture and Music” in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
DC. He’s been featured on Country Music Television, PBS and NPR stations nationwide.

He is a devoted father, architect, carpenter and organic gardener. He lives in the
mountains just hours from where he was born into a large, close-knit family and
continues to pick Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers tunes with his father and uncles at
various reunions and yearly gatherings. He plays a flat top guitar he built in 1980.

Red Pepper Records is pleased to present Ras Alan Childres and his “1993-2008:
15 Years of Appalachian Reggae” solo acoustic show Saturday, February 2, 2008 at the
Down Home, Johnson City, TN’s famed eclectic music room. Doors open at 6pm for
dinner and the show begins at 9pm. Several of Ras Alan’s CDs will be available for sale
at the performance.

“Regular songs about regular life… and a desire to do better.” Ras Alan’s music
reflects a life of observing and learning, trying and failing, and trying again. He teaches
”Respect” in his “One HeartBeat- Appalachia to Zimbabwe” children’s programs, shares
intimate “everyman” daily struggles in his songs and shines a flashlight-ray of Hope into
the future and our place in it.

Ras Alan’s first “Appalachian Reggae” CD was released on his own label in the
Spring of 1993. NATIVE met critic’s favor by its’ original take on storytelling to the
pulsing reggae beat, rather than a mere copying of style or mimicry of a popular
Caribbean accent and song form. STONE INNA HURRICANE, a live album recorded on
the road during 1995-1996, was released on CD in 1997 and quickly sold out due to its’
going straight to radio in markets that “got” the stories, rhythm and message.

In 2002, the more “pop” music elements of LETTER FROM APPALACHIA found
Ras Alan’s greatest audience listening and dancing to his stories framed by thicker
production and studio artistry: simple and decorative at the same time.

The Smithsonian Institution and the research committees for the “Year of
Appalachia” found what they were looking for in Ras Alan’s music and narrative. He was
invited to perform 10 shows on the National Mall in Washington, DC for the 37th
Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the subsequent “Smithsonian to the Mountains Tour”,
working alongside the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, based in Bristol TN/VA.
Ras Alan’s 2006 CD FOLKLIFE gathers his honest live performances in Washington,
heard by thousands of the 1.5 million visitors and condenses the huge experience into an
hour long tincture of homestyle ingenuity and front porch celebration.

Ras Alan has recently performed in festivals and stage shows in Jamaica and the
United States with popular bands and creative musicians including The Avett Brothers,
Michael Franti and Spearhead, Steel Pulse, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Toubab Krewe,
Steep Canyon Rangers, Uncle Earl, the everybodyfields, The Waybacks, Keller Williams,
The Grascals, Rhonda Vincent, The Seldom Scene and many others. Currently Ras Alan
is “pleasantly involved” in preproduction of a studio album of new material.

2008 represents the 15th year of Ras Alan’s “Appalachian Reggae” and his original
reggabilly tunes will be featured alongside anecdotes, stories and instruments gathered
along his musical odyssey, weaving mountain cultural traditions with global rhythmic

Come join your friends and neighbors on Saturday, February 2, at 9pm for a glimpse
into a musical seeker’s life, a poet’s warehouse and a regular guy with an irregular beat.

The Down Home is located at 300 West Main Street in Johnson City, TN. Tickets are
$10 at the door. The phone number is 423-929-9822. For more info on Ras Alan and his
music, please check,, and

Ras Alan is currently booking through Red Pepper Records at 423-330-8834,
PO Box 33, Greeneville, TN, 37744 or

Give Thanks for another successful season! - December 19, 2007

2007 saw Ras Alan share performances, festivals and reggabilly jump-ups in Jamaica, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia with Steel Pulse, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Toubab Krewe, The Grascals, The Waybacks, the Biscuit Burners, Donna the Buffalo, Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, the everybodyfields, Steep Canyon Rangers, Uncle Earl, Peter Rowan, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Acoustic Syndicate, Seldom Scene, Keller Williams, the Corklickers, Tony Trishka and many others.

Of particular enjoyment was the "Appalachian reggae mini-set" during Bristol TN/VA's Rhythm and Roots Reunion's Midnight Superjam, hosted by banjo innovator Tony Trishka. Ras Alan was joined on stage by Mike Guggino (mandolin- Steep Canyon Rangers), James Nash (guitar- The Waybacks), Dom Flemons (harmonica and bones- Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Al Caldwell (11 string midi bass (!)- Vanessa Williams) and others for the late night festivities. Go deh!

I continue to Give Thanks to the many promoters, talent buyers, fans and friends that encourage and uplift local musicians and a little Appalachian reggabilly!

Ras Alan & The Lions to close out the 2007 Flatrock Music Festival - September 17, 2007

Come join the merry festival goers at The Flatrock Music Festival, south of Asheville and just outside Flat Rock, NC, as Ras Alan & The Lions bring the Appalachian Reggae experience to the mainstage Sunday, September 30, 2007! Ras Alan, bassist-vocalist Dennis "Jah B" Berndt, drummer-vocalist Skye McLeod, percussionist "NeddyMon" Percival and guitarist-dub effector Evan "Professor" Ackerman will be bringin their full festival set to close out the 2007 version of Flatrock. Live versions of "Whitehouse", "Dreamer", "Beauty & Love", "Days Gone By" and "Organic!" will have the dancers dancin' and the thinkers thinkin! Do you remember Flatrock 2004, when Ras Alan & The Lions came on stage right after Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys? This time there's even more in store.... electric reggabilly? You bet!

Also appearing at Flatrock in 2007 are The Waybacks, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Barefoot Manner, the Subdudes, Randall Bramlett Band and many others.

For more info:

Ras Alan at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion - September 11, 2007

Ras Alan will perform two solo sets of Appalachian reggae at the ever-growing Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol TN/VA at 8pm on friday, September 14 and 1:30pm on saturday, September 15, 2007.

Ras Alan has recieved an invitation to participate in friday night's "Midnight Superjam" as well, hosted by banjo legend Tony Trishka in the wonderfully restored Paramount Theatre, right on State Street in Bristol. Also slated to appear at this improvisational pick-fest are members of the Infamous Stringdusters, the Waybacks, Rising Appalachia, Steep Canyon Rangers, Uncle Earl, the Biscuit Burners, Greensky Bluegrass, Al Caldwell and others. Wow! Stay up late and enjoy the musical vibes emanating from the historic stage of one of the area's most beautiful venues!

More info at

Appalachian Reggae Summer! - July 15, 2007

July 17, Cherokee National Forest- “Organic!” The dancers smile and move to the cracklin’ rhythm of the bass and drums, guitars pluckin’ sinewy melody lines around the “Family-farmer” lyrics. “Don’t panic!” Ras Alan sings this summer’s current Appalachian Reggae hit, thanking his children as co-writers and the Creator for the opportunity. From festival meadows to community dance floors, Ras Alan and The Lions electrify and unify, inspire and entertain.

Ras Alan’s unique musical “edu-tainment” will be presented for your thinking heart and dancin feet in Johnson City, TN on Saturday, July 28 at NEXT DOOR, the concert venue of the popular and eclectic Acoustic Coffeehouse, 415 West Walnut Street. Asheville based “Earth-Blues-Roots” ensemble Chalwa opens at 9pm, with DJ Cleophus Williams spinning Jamaican and Rasta riddims between sets. Admission at the door is $12 and an open mind!

Ras Alan’s original brand of conscious and uplifting music is an ongoing 30 year process, incorporating Appalachian mountain experiences and the heartbeat of the Caribbean. Ras Alan and The Lions 2007 “Highlands to the Islands Tour” featured concert performances in Jamaica, including two shows with southwest Virginia’s Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, one with bluegrass stalwart Peter Rowan and three headliner slots. The“Appalachian Reggae” of Ras Alan was a hit in the yard at Rough House, a local celebration in the West End community of Jamaica’s popular international destination, Negril, attended by curious Rastas from all over the Island. “Organic!”

Ras Alan and The Lions also performed on this side of the Caribbean Sea at the innaugural Asheville Music Jamboree, between North Carolina’s Acoustic Syndicate and international touring outfit Michael Franti and Spearhead. The able and inspired Lions, led by Ras Alan’s chunkin’ guitar and poetic storytelling, bounced the dancers around the fields with original hits “Beauty and Love”, Whitehouse”,“Be Ye Strong” and “Dreamer”. The Ritmo Tropical Festival in neighboring Greenville, SC also featured the band in a Central and South American setting, with thousands of attendees young and old swayin’ and sweatin’, laughin’ and learnin’ of local stories that are applicable worldwide. “Don’t panic!”

With venues as diverse as The Smithsonian Institution, The Archives of Appalachia, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance and Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide taking notice, the buzz around this uplifting and respectful music continues to gain popularity with active listeners everywhere. Learn more about Ras Alan and his music at,, and Find his CDs on the Red Pepper Records
label in stores locally, including Dad’s, beside ETSU, and at the live performances.

Come join the “dancing’ thinkers” as Ras Alan and The Lions make a widely anticipated local concert appearance Saturday night, July 28, at Next Door, 415 West Walnut Street in Johnson City. “Organic!”

RA & The Lions live on the internet 4-27-07 - April 26, 2007

Join the Appalachian Reggae party worldwide on friday night, April 27, 2007, as Ras Alan & The Lions broadcast their live performance from NEXT DOOR, in Johnson City, TN on the new program "Tri Cities Live". Just go to and follow the prompts. This is an "audio-from-the-house-console" feed, so you'll get to hear Mike Stickland, Ras Alan's longtime friend and engineer, at the controls. Mike is Roots and Branches host on NPR affiliate WETS FM, in Johnson City, and a well known fixture in the Southern Appalachian live music and festival circuit. Log-on, tune in and jump up!

Ras Alan & The Lions bring de vibes from Jamaica to Appalachia! - April 23, 2007

April 15, 2007 Greeneville, TN- Appalachian reggae songsmith Ras Alan and his
touring and recording band, The Lions, return to Appalachia from the beautiful and
inspirational island nation of Jamaica on their 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour with
performances in North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Red Pepper Records presents Ras Alan and crew as they continue the “Dub Greeting Card”, playing recorded messages for the folks in Appalachia from friends and fans in Jamaica, as the band performs live on stage . Join Ras Alan & The Lions at the eclectic NEXT DOOR, beside the Acoustic Coffeehouse, 415 West Walnut street, Johnson City, TN ( on Friday, April 27, 2007 and the Emerald Lounge, Lexington Avenue, Asheville, NC ( on Saturday, April 28, 2007 for an evening of dancing, “song-telling” and celebrating a positive Appalachian-Jamaican connection with the “Dub Greeting Card”.

While touring in Jamaica this Feburary, Ras Alan & The Lions performed two shows with Virginia’s Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, one show with bluegrass veteran Peter Rowan and headlined three others, ncluding a local neighborhood gathering, “Love Inna
Yard”, in Negril, Jamaica. The band enjoyed a midnight set under the stars at the Chinese
New Year Celebration 2K7 event at Half Moon Beach in Green Island, Jamaica, and an acoustic session, broadcast live on the web, from Selina’s on Norman Manley Blvd. in Negril. The “Dub Greeting Card”, with comments and wishes from folks in Appalachia
to the people of Jamaica, was also performed live to the delight of the many local Jamaicans in attendance. When Larry Keel, Mark Shimock, and Jason Flournoy from
Natural Bridge, Celtic producer and veteran musician Zan McLeod, Negril’s teenage phenomenon Ms.Tia, the “Jamaican Cowboy” Alex Vaughn, DJ and mc Crazy Nacka , seasonal resident harmonica master Jimbo and ex-pat guitarist Dave Bernis joined Ras Alan, bassist and vocalist Dennis “Jah B” Berndt and drummer and vocalist Skye McLeod on the various stages, the wonderful Appalachia-Jamaica flame was kindled and spread like wildfire. Well hot!

The 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour began in January, with performances in Blowing Rock, NC, Greenville, SC, Johnson City, TN and Asheville, NC and two live interviews and performances on NPR affiliate and regional powerhouse Ras Alan & The Lions’ tour setlist includes new un-released material, including the new family farmer’s hit “Organic”, favorites from the albums Native, Stone Inna Hurricane and Letter from Appalachia and electric versions of songs on Ras Alan’s Folklife- Live at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival CD, voted #2 reggae CD and #9 regional CD of 2006 by the listeners of WNCW.

Ras Alan’s “Appalachian Reggae” is housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Archives in Washington, DC and in the Archives of Appalachia at ETSU in Johnson City, TN. His albums have been considered by the Grammy committees in both the Reggae and Contemporary Folk categories, and his music is heard on regional and international CD compilations alike. He was a featured performer at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival for the Year of Appalachia celebrations and has shared stages, workshops and jam sessions with Doc Watson, Ali Farke Toure, Burning Spear, Jethro Burns, Babetunde Olatunje, Yonder Mountain String Band and many others. Ras Alan presents his “One Heartbeat- Appalachia to Zimbabwe” children’s program in school systems, libraries and events throughout the Appalachian mountains. More info and cds are available at,,, and, or by writing Red Pepper Records, PO Box 33 Greeneville, TN 37744 USA.

Bring your friends, vibes and dancing shoes to Ras Alan & The Lions 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour, friday night, April 27, 2007 at the Next Door in Johnson City, TN and Saturday night, April 28, 2007 at the Emerald Lounge in Asheville, NC. Come celebrate Springtime coming with a fresh helping of all original Appalachian reggae!

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FOLKLIFE #2 Reggae CD on WNCW! - January 16, 2007

WNCW listeners voted Ras Alan's album FOLKLIFE the #2 Reggae CD of 2006, and placed FOLKLIFE in the Top Ten Regional favorites as well! We give upmost Thanks to all our fans and friends, in Appalachia and all around the world, for all your positive vibes and support. Come listen and dance to electric versions of songs from FOLKLIFE as Ras Alan & The Lions begin their 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour! Dates are currently being added. Watch the calendar section of this website for more dates! Please also check our other sites: (for talent buyers etc.), to check available CDs and for others interested in Appalachian Reggae and Reggabilly in the mountains!

Ras Alan & The Lions' 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour - January 1, 2007

January 1, 2007, Greeneville, TN – Red Pepper Records revs up the new year with Appalachian Reggae stars Ras Alan & The Lions on their 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour! Join the Blue Ridge mountains’ own Appalachian reggae originator, Ras Alan, as he brings his renowned electric band, The Lions, to venues in Appalachia and Jamaica! Ras Alan, with your kind participation, will create the “Dub Greeting Card,” recording greetings from friends and fans like you during performances in Appalachia. The live, recorded comments will be played for our Island friends as Ras Alan & The Lions perform a series of February 2007 shows in Jamaica. Friends in the Islands will then record greetings for Appalachia, and the “Dub Greeting Card” will be played as Island stars Ras Alan & The Lions perform in the US upon returning from Jamaica.
The tour begins with a live concert on Friday, January 19, 2007 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, when Canyons of the Blue Ridge, (, will host Ras Alan & The Lions and introduce the “Dub Greeting Card.” The all-ages show begins at 9:00 pm with a ticket price of $10. Yes!
Tune in to “Studio One” on Saturday, January 20, 2007, at 1:00 pm, with a one-hour live performance by Ras Alan & The Lions and interview by Dave Carter on public radio station WETS. FM, 89.5, Johnson City, Tennessee (
The Appalachian reggae musicians, well-known and loved in Johnson City, will follow the public radio performance on Saturday, January 20, 2007 at a new JC venue, The Acoustic Stage, next door to the popular and eclectic Acoustic Coffeehouse at 415 W. Walnut Street ( Doors open at 9:00 pm with all ages welcome! Come early and record your comments on the “Dub Greeting Card!” The lively, electric performance will begin at 10:00 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the venue on the night of the performance.
Ras Alan & The Lions’ current line-up is electrifying native listeners and dancers from Asheville’s huge Bele Chere Festival to local food bank and Habitat for Humanity fund raisers to live skating rink performances, dancin’ on roller skates! The Lions include Dennis “Jah B” Berndt, droppin’ on thunderous reggae bass and vocals; Evan “Professor” Ackerman clickin’ on jazzy guitars and spectacular effects; Skye McLeod dancin’ on syncopated drums and vocals; and NeddyMon feelin’ it on intricate percussion, vocals, and vibes. Ras Alan sings and plays electric and acoustic guitars, ashiko drums and percussion on this musical adventure.
Be sure to watch the Saturday, January 20th Acoustic Stage performance for surprise guests, such as Brandon “Star of Elizabethton” Renfro, drummer and vocalist; and the talented Johnson City musician, Don “Latrelle” Eanes on organ, piano and accordion. Both are veteran touring and recording Lions. Longtime professional sound engineer and WETS FM program host, Mike Strickland, will be mixin’ sound for Ras Alan & The Lions at The Acoustic Stage.
A variety of kind Appalachian friends and family will sing and sway to new Appalachian reggae tunes and old favorites from all 4 albums at the 2007 Highlands to the Islands performances. Yes! The positive vibes will be right for your personal participation in the “Dub Greeting Card” as your messages are recorded for our Island sisters and brothers.
Following the concerts and live radio performances in Blowing Rock, North Carolina and Johnson City, Tennessee, Ras Alan & The Lions’ Highlands to the Islands Tour will celebrate Groundhog Day on Friday, February 2, 2007 at 1:00 pm, with a live performance and interview in “Studio B” on national public radio station, WNCW, 88.7 FM, in Spindale, North Carolina ( The Lions will rock the house later that evening at The AcousticSeen at the Coffee Underground in Greenville, South Carolina ( The “Dub Greeting Card” will be shared and continued – yes! – as the tour moves on to The Emerald Lounge at 113 N. Lexington Ave. in Asheville, North Carolina on Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 10 pm, ( Next stop: Jamaica, on the Highlands to the Islands Tour!
Ras Alan & The Lions will perform at the ever-growing Chinese New Year 2007 Celebration on Saturday, February 17th at Half Moon Beach in Green Island, Jamaica, (outside Negril) with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, CX-1 and The Overtakers, among other friends and guest performers from both the US and Jamaica, including drummers, dragons, and fire dancers ( Ras Alan has performed at 3 previous Chinese New Year Celebrations. He served as technical director for 2 and will do so again in 2007. Tickets for Chinese New Year 2007 are $100 and can be purchased at any of Ras Alan & The Lions’ shows during The Highlands to the Islands Tour, or at
Ras Alan will share the “Dub Greeting Card” in Jamaica at the Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 17, 2007; during Selina’s Worldwide Webcast at 10:00 am on Sunday, February 18th live from Selina’s Beach Road venue in Negril Jamaica; at a private party in Negril on Monday, February 19th; and at “Bluegrass on the West End,” a Tuesday, February 20th concert and dinner buffet at The Negril Escape, West End Road, Negril, Jamaica, where Ras Alan & The Lions will perform with Peter Rowan, and Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. Follow-up for more information on the Jamaica and other tour dates by checking Ras Alan’s website, Ras Alan’s 4 Red Pepper Records albums may also be purchased from this website.
Ras Alan continues 20 years of composing, recording and performing his own “Appalachian Reggae” music. His performances at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival during “The Year of Appalachia” in Washington, DC can be heard on Folklife, a Red Pepper Records cd released in 2006. Ras Alan’s 3 earlier Red Pepper Records releases, Native, Stone Inna Hurricane, and Letter From Appalachia are housed in the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University and the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of Cultural Heritage, representing “contemporary music and culture of Southern Appalachia.” The Folklife and Letter From Appalachia albums were considered by the Grammys© in both the reggae and contemporary folk categories. Folklife, Native, and Letter From Appalachia, will be available for sale at all live performances during the Highlands to the Islands Tour.
“Ras Alan’s been able to blend vintage country and Appalachian folk with the steady grooves of Jamaica ska and roots reggae; he revives the dusty mountain ancestry of the Carter family while bringing a modern context to the soulful social outcry of the Marley message,” – Jedd Ferris, Asheville Citizen-Times. “Highly uplifting, conscious, roots reggae in a mesmerizing country bluegrass–reggae style. The lyrics capture the true essence of Rasta philosophy – upliftment of the masses,” – DJ Luke Irie, WXUT, Toledo, Ohio. “Ras Alan is able to weave blues, bluegrass and country elements into his rootsy reggae fabric. It works!” – The Independent, Durham, North Carolina. “Energetic and kinetic – this music sounds as natural coming from the mountains of North Carolina as the music from the hills of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain range,” -- Chuck Foster, The Beat, Los Angeles, California.
Start 2007 on a positive beat with Ras Alan & The Lions during the 2007 Highlands to the Islands Tour and share your thoughts with friends in Jamaica and the Appalachians by participating in the “Dub Greeting Card” in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Negril, Jamaica – yes!!!
For more information on Ras Alan’s music, recordings and tour dates, please visit;;; and Ras Alan is available for performances, workshops, recordings, and interviews through Red Pepper Records,, PO Box 33, Greeneville, Tennessee, USA, 37744.
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