Home Read News Stephen Marley Announces New Album Old Soul

Stephen Marley Announces New Album Old Soul

The album boasts an array of special guests, including Eric Clapton, Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Buju Banton and Slightly Stoopid.

Stephen Marley’s Old Soul, the new album from the eight-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and producer, will be released digitally on Sept. 15, 2023. The album boasts an array of special guests including Eric Clapton, Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Buju Banton and Slightly Stoopid. In celebration of the announcement, the latest single Cool As The Breeze is available right now — and showcasing here on Tinnitist.

His first full-length project since 2016, Stephen’s highly anticipated fifth solo album Old Soul comes as a complete revelation. With his well-earned reputation as a studio perfectionist, “Ragga” — as he’s known to friends and family — is a consummate live performer with a knack for spontaneity. Old Soul leans into those strengths, and opens up the artist as never before.

Released earlier this summer, the retrospective music video for the album’s title track Old Soul features unseen family images and a montage of Jamaican musical heritage. A warm acoustic narrative, the song carries listeners through Stephen’s evolution, intertwined with the Marley legacy. Lyrics such as “April 1972, my mom and poppa brought me through,” give a nod to his lineage and early years. Originally penned by Jamaican artist Omi, Stephen adapted the song to reflect his personal journey, suggesting a familiarity with past life experiences. Echoing his father’s sentiments, Stephen’s core message promotes mental freedom and unity.

While grounded from the road amongst the COVID lockdown, Stephen set up a new studio on a remote family farm in the Florida countryside, holding nightly jam sessions in a converted garage. With a stripped-down ensemble comprising binghi drums, bass, acoustic guitar, and flute, Stephen played whatever he felt like — ranging from original compositions and reggae rarities with deep personal meaning to classics recorded by Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and The Beatles. “Irie vibration,” Stephen says of the sounds made together on the farm. The lion’s share of Old Soul was recorded during these “unplugged” jam sessions.

The song selection on the new album demonstrates Stephen’s courage to defy expectations. “You have to be true to yourself,” he says. “I refuse to be put into any category. I am inspired by everything. So if I feel like I want to play some jazz music, I will go play some jazz music. Who dig it, dig it.”

“April 1972, my mom and poppa brought me through… back then I was the favorite, so they say.” Reflecting on his life as a youngster growing up as the second eldest son in the royal Marley family, Stephen marked his 51st year on earth by sharing glimpses of his past and releasing the title track of the album earlier this year: “I’m an old soul, living in the body of a nine-year-old / Guess I’ve been here before.”

Old Soul explores a musical palette that spans a variety of cultures and genres alike, with hand-selected special guests furthering the spiritual journey that encompasses the album. Stephen and his elder brother Ziggy collaborate on There’s A Reward, a heartfelt tribute to Joe Higgs, the man who mentored young Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer when they were all aspiring singers in Trenchtown. Meanwhile, Stephen’s younger brother Damian features on Cast The First Stone, a powerful, thought-provoking tune set to an ominous groove that sounds like something from a lost spaghetti Western soundtrack.

Stephen enlists his old friend Buju Banton on the ska-flavored Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem), a Lee “Scratch” Perry composition made famous by Junior Byles that explores the idea that no good deed goes unpunished. And Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid joins on a verse on Standing In Love, a beautiful ballad that hearkens back to reggae’s sweet rocksteady era.

Eric Clapton laces up tasty lead guitar riffs over a powerful acoustified version of Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff. The album closes with Grateful Dead legend guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir and surfing singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, who join Stephen on the album’s final track, Winding Roads, recorded at Weir’s TRI Studios with his Wolf Bros band, including Don Was and Dead & Company members Jeff Chimenti and Jay Lane; it’s the only song on Old Soul recorded with a full band.

“We definitely did want some different sounds,” says Stephen. “We never want to come with the same ray ray ray. We try to make some of them something you can’t really identify. Ah just music.” Among the more unexpected selections embedded on Old Soul are a disarmingly sweet cover of Sinatra’s These Foolish Things (Reminds Me Of You), as well as Marley’s take on The Beatles’ perpetually pleading Don’t Let Me Down.

In celebration of the new album, Marley will embark on his ambitious Old Soul Tour: Unplugged this Sept 9 – Oct 22.

Old Soul Track List

1 | Don’t You Believe
2 | Cool As The Breeze
3 | Cast The First Stone (ft. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley)
4 | Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem) (ft. Buju Banton)
5 | Don’t Let Me Down
6 | Georgia On My Mind
7 | Let The Children Play
8 | Old Soul
9 | There’s A Reward (ft. Ziggy Marley)
10 | This Time
11 | These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
12 | I Shot The Sheriff (ft. Eric Clapton)
13 | Standing In Love (ft. Slightly Stoopid)
14 | Winding Roads (ft. Jack Johnson and Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros)

Old Soul Tour: Unplugged Dates

Sept. 8 | Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue Theatre
Sept. 9 | Mundelein, IL – Miracle in Mundelein
Sept. 10 | Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Sept. 11 | Fargo, ND – Outdoors at Fargo Brewing
Sept. 14 | Seattle, WA – The Showbox
Sept. 16 | Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre
Sept. 17 | Victoria, BC – Rifflandia Festival
Sept. 19 | Bend, OR – Midtown Ballroom
Sept. 21 | San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Sept. 22 | Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Club
Sept. 23 | Ventura, CA – Ventura Music Hall
Sept. 24 | Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre
Sept. 25 | Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
Oct. 5 | Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
Oct. 12 | Beverly, MA – Cabot Theatre *
Oct. 13 | Plymouth, NH – The Flying Monkey *
Oct. 15 | Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre *
Oct. 17 | Englewood, NJ – Bergen PAC *
Oct. 18 | Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore *
Oct. 20 | Norfolk, VA – NorVa *
Oct. 21 | Columbia, SC – The Senate *
Oct. 22 | Atlanta, GA – Center Stage *

* with Mike Love