‘Soul reggae rockers’ at Bird Cage Saloon Saturday, March 25
Growing up in California’s beach scene, Keith Okie naturally gravitated to the offbeat rhythms and staccato chords of reggae music.
He remembers, as an 11-year-old, hearing classic reggae tunes from Bob Marley and others for the first time. “It struck a chord with me, and I became pretty heavy into it,” Okie said.
He took up guitar at the same age, and continued his musical quest – studying music at California’s Humboldt State University, and touring extensively with a rhythm and blues band during his 20s.
Ultimately, though, it was reggae that inspired Okie, 31, the most. He returned to the genre in a big way a few years back while awaiting the birth of his son, now 2 years old.
“Right around the time my son was conceived, I started getting inspired again, and I played a bunch of reggae,” Okie said, noting that he had taken a break from music after becoming somewhat burned out from his previous heavy touring schedule.
He dabbled a bit in the ska genre, and said, “That brought me back into the reggae mentality.”
Now a resident of Cottonwood, Okie began playing at local venues with just percussionist Tory Campbell. Gradually, other local musicians came on board, and Okie says, “The full band, electric, came together in December 2015.”
Since then, they’ve had numerous performances throughout Arizona, as well as in southwest Colorado.
Okie, along with his Rebel Sol bandmates, will bring all of that experience and energy to Prescott this weekend with two appearances.
First, at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 25, the band will conduct a release party/album signing for Okie’s new CD “LIVE!” at Trax Records, 234 Montezuma St.
Then, at 9 p.m., the action will move to the Bird Cage Saloon, 160 S. Montezuma St., for a Saturday night performance that will combine Okie’s soul/reggae-inspired original tunes with covers reminiscent of performances by Bob Marley & the Wailers, Sublime, Ceelo Green, and Otis Redding.
Jeff Watson, who works as a bartender and assists with the band management at the Bird Cage, said he first heard Okie and Rebel Sol during a recent performance at Phoenix’s Last Exit Live.
Watson was impressed by the band’s “soulful reggae,” and he suggested bringing them to the Bird Cage.
Coincidentally, that performance in Phoenix also was recorded and now makes up Okie’s CD, “LIVE!”
Along with Okie and Campbell, the band is made up of: drummer Stan Dulkoski, keyboard player Phil Gornick, bassist Jason Teague, percussionist Saturnin Ba, and guitarist Rick Okie (Keith’s father).
The band members “hail from as close by as Cottonwood and as far away as Chicago and Ivory Coast, Africa,” Rick Okie said in a description of Rebel Sol.
Noting that he writes most of the band’s music, Keith describes the sound as “soul reggae rockers.” He added: “People have been reacting to it in a wonderful way.”
Watson said the band’s performance is one of the Bird Cage’s regular Saturday night performances. (The Whiskey Row bar has regular live music on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as summer Sundays). There is no cover charge for the performance, Watson added.