See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Rodney's roots

Posted By on Wed, Dec 1, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Burning Spear's leader-songwriter-vocalist-prophet, Winston Rodney is the most enduring and prolific performer in the history of reggae. With more than three decades of music making under his brightly colored belt, Rodney has been spreading his special brand of Rasta gospel the world over.

Lyrically, Rodney often memorializes back-to-Africa idealist Marcus Garvey and preaches the highest standards in all spiritual matters. Besides his righteous folk message and willingness to address political issues, Rodney drives a particularly potent reggae band that's equal to Bob Marley's Wailers at their riddum-filled peak. On Calling Rastafari, Burning Spear churns out 11 roots-rock-reggae anthems with earnest confidence and humble enthusiasm.

With such danceable songs as "Brighten My Vision," Rodney implores his lord Jah to help him become the most clear-eyed disciple he can be. With his limber rhythm crew shoring up the bottom end and a buoyant horn section riding on top, Rodney croons his conscious communiqués in a warm voice that is both celebratory and wise. His experienced island perspective walks the very fine line between rural idealism and urban sophistication.

Rising above the moral slackness often espoused in current Jamaican music, Burning Spear has put out the best reggae album of the year. Again.

Mitch Myers writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Mitch Myers

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation