Album review
Hebron Gate
Young Tree Records
February 4 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Jah Jah Know
  2. Babylon Rule Dem
  3. Silver Tongue Show
  4. Weeping Pirates
  5. Picture On The Wall
  6. Something More
  7. Hebron
  8. Freedom Taking Over
  9. Undivided
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5

Based out of Sonoma County, Groundation has slowly progressed into one of the best reggae bands out of Northern California. A little history : In 1998 Groundation came together when lead singer and teacher, Harrison Stafford, bassist Ryan Newman and keboardist Marcus Urani formed the group. Since then, Groundation has grown into a 13-piece band with the addition of Joshua Freeman (Percussion), Jason Robinson (tenor sax, Flute), David Chachere (Trumpet), Kelsey Howard (Trombone), Shawna Anderson & Alison Harris (Vocals), Brian Rashap (Guitar), Austin Bach (Keyboard), and Paul Spina (Drums).
Groundation felt the need to begin a Roots Reggae project that would spread the message of Rasta prophets both past and present. They released their first album, 1998's Tribute to the Roots, an album of classic Reggae hits with only one original entitled "Groundation Chant." Much to the group's surprise, it would be this original song that truly moved the listeners. Soon their shows grew bigger and bigger, as did the people's demand for original material. Groundation knew then that their message could no longer be held within the confines of the North Bay, and so in 1999 they released Young Tree, one of reggae's first concept albums. They followed that up with a live CD entitled Tribute to Bob Marley, which shows Groundation doing what they do best, mixing it up with the crowd. Fall of 2000 saw the release of Groundation's 5th album overall and 3rd studio album Each One, Teach One featuring legendary Nyabinghi drummer Ras Michael and the soothing voice of Marcia Higgs, daughter of Joe Higgs singing back-up. Well known Reggae engineer Jim Fox put the finishing touches on the album which became an instant hit among Roots fans following its national release on July 31st 2001.
Their current album is called 'Hebron Gate" and the albumís 9 tracks tell the story of a Dragon War coming upon the nations. The story unfolds in 24 hours with the sun rising in the beginning, setting in the middle, and finally rising again at the end. For the final 2 tracks Groundation calls upon their elders and reggae legends Don Carlos and The Congos take up the fight.
While capturing the essence of true Roots Reggae, Groundation aims to take the genre to a new height by blending elements of both jazz and dub in their sound. The traditional sound is brought inna smooth and gentle way showcasing the musical skills of the band perfectly. Unlike most US based bands, Groundation did not 'enrich' their sound with boring keyboard and synthesizer arrangements thus keeping the transparent and pure reggae sound alive.
Well done...a must for old skool reggae fans.

Teacher & Mr. T.