Interview: Ziggy Marley

ZiggyHouse.jpgZiggy Marley comes from a large and very musical family. The son of Bob Marley, Ziggy's had a solid musical career of his own as part his siblings' band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers as well as with a solo career. So it's not so surprising perhaps that Marley's first album for kids and families is called Family Time. The album is set to be released next week on Marley's own label Tuff Gong Worldwide. Marley recently took a few minutes to chat about music in his everyday life, why Paul Simon and Willie Nelson joined him on the album, and his hopes for the record. Zooglobble: What do you remember singing or playing growing up? Ziggy Marley: We sang a lot of Jamaican folk songs, but we had a lot of different records. I remember we had Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy," and the Jackson Five, too. We sang "Rockin' Robin'"... What do you sing or play with your kids? I make up stuff, songs about whatever we're doing. Like at dinnertime, my son will ask me to "sing me something." Or brushing teeth -- "brush up, brush to your left, brush to your right." Hey, I have that song, too! So why a family album now?

B Is For Bob, G Is For Grammy, so Z...

... must be for Ziggy. It's a lousy Scrabble hand, but a busy spring for Ziggy Marley. His Family Time album comes out May 5th, then a month later, Marley's playing Club Nokia on Saturday, June 6th as part of the GRAMMY Museum's monthly "Musical Explorations" program for families. It's Marley's first family-specific concert along with Rhythm Child and unsurprisingly, it's for the "What Is Reggae?" show. And if that wasn't enough, on June 23rd Marley will release B Is For Bob. As previously reported, the album features Ziggy tackling his father's catalog, remixing, adding some tracks, reimagining, as it were, some classic Bob Marley tracks. The album cover art and track listing after the jump...

Video: "Family Time" - Ziggy Marley (plus bonus video just because...)

Ziggy Marley is gearing up for the May 5th release of his Family Time family album. And what better way to gear up than by posting something on YouTube? Marley's video for the album's title track is way out in front of the 2009 competition for "Most Smiles in a Video." Also, "Most Cartwheels." (Pity, though, that it doesn't include my favorite part of the track, Marley's daughter Judah's singalong.) Ziggy Marley - "Family Time" (Hat tip: Warren) Now, besides that, I should also note that Marley played the White House Easter Egg Roll. And, yes, there's video...

"Three Little Birds" Seems Obvious, No?

OK, yeah, we've already mentioned that Ziggy Marley is releasing Family Time, his first album for kids and families, next month. But now comes word via Billboard that he'll follow that a June release of a set of Bob Marley songs, revised and remastered with a children's audience in mind. According to Billboard, Marley took the original masters of eight classic songs and revised the instrumentation and arrangements, even using some of his father's alternate vocal tracks.
"It's a very different vibe, but still real Bob. It's not like fake Bob. It's still the real Bob...It's Bob singing and I'm playing, like an acoustic session almost. Anything I did on this record is soulful and musical. There's no gimmicks. I'm keeping true to the spirit of my father, to the spirit of his music."
I'm curious, though I'm not sure what Ziggy could do to make songs like "Three Little Birds" even more accessible. Also: isn't everybody in the world required to own Legend? What's the market for this new album? In more Ziggy-specific news, Marley, who played the White House Egg Roll this morning, also "hopes to 'double up' and play special children's and family shows" during his tour with 311 this summer.

All Of You Who Thought Ziggy Marley Would Duet With Laurie Berkner, Raise Your Hands

That's what I thought. You know an album is a big deal when Laurie Berkner issues a press release notifying folks she's going to be on somebody else's album. So I think we can officially call Ziggy Marley's upcoming Family Time album a Big Deal. Berkner's singing "Future Man, Future Lady" with Marley, and since Berkner's got one of the nicest voices in the kids music genre, that's definitely worth looking forward to. Also on the album - Paul Simon, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Toots Hibbert, lots of Marley family members, and Elizabeth Mitchell (who already gave the album her two thumbs up). So, yeah, Big Deal. Family Time is out on Tuff Gong Records May 5.