Jah Sun and The Rising Tide. Contributed photo

It’s always fun to interview a band for the first time and even more so when that band will be coming to Maine to perform. In this particular case the band is a quintet known as Jah Sun and The Rising Tide from Southern Oregon who plan to perform at Aura in Portland on Sept. 3.

Lead singer/songwriter Jah Sun is joined by Tony Thompson on guitar, Beau “Arrow” Sheppard on bass/harmonies, Nick “Kirbz” Kirby on drums/harmonies, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Jallanzo “Dub MatriXx”. I was given the opportunity to call Sun and chat about his newest studio album, “Running Through Walls,” which came out this month.

Sun: How are you, man?

Q: Oh, not too bad although our local weather is more suited for where you are over in California.

Sun: (Chuckle) Ah, you happen to catch me while I’m on vacation in the Yucatan in Mexico right now.

Q: Oh, wow! I didn’t know I was interrupting your vacation, I’m so sorry but I appreciate your willingness to chat with me today.

Sun: No problem, man.

Q: To begin with, how long have you been doing this?

Sun: I’ve been doing this for 15-20 years now and like Miles Davis said, “It can take a long time to figure out how to sound like yourself,” and I feel like that’s what is starting to happen. When you first get into something, sometimes the influences and the inspirations kind of filter through your music and when I looked back at some of the earlier stuff I felt like I could hear myself trying to learn the culture, learn the music, learn the formula, learn the vibes; and now I feel like I’m really just settling into who I am and what I want to say. I’m really excited to share this record.

Q: Well, what I like as I was listening to a “Running Through Walls” link is your fusion of world music, hip-hop and reggae, it is consistent throughout but it has enough variety, both musically and lyrically, to make it a very pleasant listening experience, sir.

Sun: Thank you … thank you very much.

Q: Have you performed in Maine before?

Sun: I have not spent much time on the East Coast, so the short answer to that is, “No” (laughter).

Q: I think you’ll enjoy yourselves at the Aura there in Portland, it’s a great club with an appreciative audience. And it must be nice to be able to play for a live crowd once again.

Sun: Oh, man, it’s amazing, actually. A life without meaning and purpose is not really a life, in my opinion, and it’s so hard for people to find it sometimes and that’s why I feel so blessed to have been able to find this path and to be able to do this, that’s what it does for me. So when everything was shut down, sure we were missing some money and stuff, but there was a hole in my heart and my soul for a while — and, yes, it definitely feels good to be getting back out there and being able to connect with people and do it with love.

Q: Well, that’s one of the qualities of your chosen genre. The reoccurring declaration of the power of peace and love, and it’s very inherent in your songs, it’s very hopeful and uplifting. And with all this division and confrontation happening in this country and all around the world, we desperately the unity and inclusion that music can bring.

Sun: Yeah.

Q: Seeing you’ve never been to Maine before, Jah, is there anything that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Sun: Well, the truth is is that this band that I am touring with — The Rising Tide — they are such a cool and talented group of musicians. This is the first band that I’ve ever toured with that the voices on the album, the instruments on the album are the guys I’m touring with. This is the first time I’ve been able to do this and because of the synergy that we have together it’s really the best version of Jah Sun that’s ever been out there touring. I may have some fans that have heard some of my past work but I really encourage people to come and see this show because the guys in Rising Tide really make it special.

Q: Well, is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you’d like to add?

Sun: Oh, just to let them know that the album is coming out the end of this month and they can go out and stream it and take a listen, and come out and see us in Maine and have some fun with us!

Lucky Clark has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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