By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

Sol Seed: Eclectic styles sprout from reggae roots

Submitted photoMichael Lennon, Benny Pezzano and Sky Guasco during a September performance at Troon Vineyard’s tasting room in Carlton.

A lot can be done with a reggae beat. The popular Jamaican style is founded on a rhythm accenting the second and fourth beats, played by a guitar or piano, with a drum on the third beat. That’s unlike rock ‘n’ roll, which tends to hit hardest on the first beat.

In reggae, the rhythm rises, imbuing the sound with a sense of uplift, both musically and spiritually.

Eugene-based Sol Seed makes the most of the accessibility and flexibility of the Jamaican tradition. Using reggae as its backbone, the band infuses its music with elements of electronica, jazz, Spanish blues, hip hop, dub and soulful psychedelic. It’s a Northwest style that’s drawing plenty of attention.

“We have a lot to offer,” said MC, didgeridoo player and percussionist Sky Guasco. “We do a lot of different things within reggae music I don’t think you hear from other bands.”

Sol Seed will bring the mix to the Horse Radish this Saturday, Nov. 10. They play the downtown Carlton venue every six weeks, and also frequent Troon Vineyard’s tasting room.

Wine and reggae. Sounds like a nice combination to me.

The band was introduced to the area by the parents of lead guitarist Kenny Lewis. Ann and Ken Lewis live in McMinnville. Guasco said the group enjoys Carlton’s small-town vibe, and appreciates the opportunity to play shows there.

“All-ages venues are kind of a rarity these days,” Guasco said. “We get a lot of kids that come out, and get the older crowds, as well. It’s a fun atmosphere.”

Saturday’s performance will be one of the band’s first Oregon stops on a tour to promote its first LP, “Grown Deep.” Sol Seed is returning from a string of shows in California.

The album embodies the flexibility of the genre. Bits and pieces of this and that — from Marley to Toots, Sublime to Santana — are woven together. All six members write music and lyrics, and they take turns on vocals.

“Our lyrical content is what really drives us,” Guasco said.

It’s a true collaboration — one that celebrates the individual styles of the bandmates and wraps them into a cohesive product.

Sol Seed will be joined Saturday by Eugene band Fire in the Rootz. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Ossie Bladine can be reached at

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