Reggae bash: Rising Lion to play at Mickey Finn’sWritten by Mike Bauman | | email@example.com
For veteran reggae artist Danny Dred, playing music is not just for his own personal well-being; it’s also to spread love and positivity to those he performs for.
“There’s a division and all these things, but the way I really look at it is like this: There’s always going to be something in life,” said Dred, the singer/songwriter behind Florida-based Rising Lion. “There’s always going to be something negative. There’s always going to be something challenging. Thing is, it’s like John Kennedy said — what can we do to make a difference?
“And I think that’s the way we should think because tomorrow’s going to come up with the sun shining and it’s going to be a new day.”
Rising Lion has been spreading those positive vibes through its music since 1992. On Feb. 3, it’ll bring them to Toledo for an early Bob Marley birthday bash at Mickey Finn’s Pub with a new six-piece band that features a second guitar player and a female vocalist.
Rising Lion’s fourth full-length album, “Changes,” is nearly complete and being released as singles. The first, “Feelin Irie,” debuted on May 18, 2010.
The title of Rising Lion’s most recent effort came from the struggles Dred was dealing with in his marriage as well as the United States’ economic and social changes.
“Things just change, you know?” Dred said. “And so I looked around, and I just saw a lot of other people going through changes, going through things. When I looked at it I was like, ‘This is the worst I’ve ever seen it in my lifetime,’ as far as the economy and all those things. People not [being] able to handle the pressure, and going through divorces and losing their homes and all of this.
“And so I was just like, ‘This needs to be talked about.’”
One constant Dred has always addressed through Rising Lion’s music is his own life experience, something he has passed on to his 16-year-old son, who is trying to find his own voice through music. Having never known his own father, Dred is happy to be able to guide his son in whatever he pursues.
“All of his life I’ve been a touring musician,” Dred said. “And if you’re going to do it, I tell kids this — it’s not the easiest business in the world. That is for sure. But if you love it and you find it’s really what you love doing, then you’ve just got to get out there and you’ve got to do it.”
Dred speaks from experience. He has bachelor’s degrees in sociology and Spanish and was a case manager at Columbia University before he started Rising Lion. While he appreciated what his college experience meant, ultimately music was his true passion and calling. With influences ranging from Peter Tosh to Jimi Hendrix to Bob Marley, it was difficult for Dred to ignore his gift.
Over the years, Rising Lion has performed at “The Legends of Rasta Reggae Festival Tour,” “The Annual Bob Marley Reggae Festival” and “The New England Reggae Fest,” to name a few. In addition, Rising Lion also has songs on compilation records with the likes of Gregory Isaacs, George Clinton, Fats Waller and Dennis Brown, among others.
“Just like anything else in life, the greatest happiness I think you’re going to find is to find something as a job that you love doing and then get good at it,” Dred said of being a musician. “And that way, it won’t seem like you work.”
Some of Dred’s philosophy can be attributed to Marley’s vision. One quote that stuck with him over the years was when Marley said, “If my life is just for me, my own security, then me don’t want it. My life is for people; that is the way me is.”
“If you’ve been blessed with certain skills and talents and abilities, then you should use them for the upliftment of mankind, for the upliftment of people [rather than] to just keep them for yourself,” Dred said. “It’s therapeutic for me in that way, but I definitely look at music as a vehicle for social change and spiritual growth and all these things.”
Rising Lion will perform Feb. 3 at 9:30 p.m. at Mickey Finn’s Pub, 602 Lagrange St.
For more information, call (419) 246-3466 or visit mickeyfinnspub.com.