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‘All tied into one’ on the way to Vail

Rob Tramazzo
Daily Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyAnthony B. performs at Vail's Sandbar Thursday
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VAIL, Colorado ” It must be hard for reggae artists like Anthony B. to leave their warm nests in the islands for the freezing cold of Vail, Colorado in February. It doesn’t bother Anthony B. though, a lyrical genius known for his high-energy, charismatic performances. That’s likely because Colorado holds a special place in his heart.

Anthony B. was performing at Fort Lewis College in Durango on Sept. 11, 2001, a day he said he will never forget.

“We were actually in the hotel in Colorado that day looking out at the sky. Everybody come out of the hotel into the street, wondering what was going to happen. Wondering if there was a war in America,” he said.

That night, he played a free concert at the college, and all types of people showed up. People who had never heard of the artist or didn’t typically listen to reggae music came together to hear his music and to heal, Anthony B. said.

“The first song I sang at that show was a John Lennon song, ‘Imagine all the People.’ (There were a) bunch of tears coming from people’s eyes,” he remembered.

Since then, Anthony B., whose real name is Keith Anthony Blair, has felt a certain connection with the people of Colorado and has been back to Colorado nearly every year since.

Along with his Colorado shows, Anthony B. has toured the world with his band. He spent time in Africa and South America to promote his music. Three months ago he visited Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela, where he performed for nearly 30,000 people.

“I didn’t even know Margarita Island was a place. I thought I was going to perform in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville,” he said, laughing.

Anthony B. doesn’t spend much, if any time, lounging on the beach or sightseeing when he travels ” he is too busy bringing his music and message to the people. The message within his newest album, “Rise Up,” focuses on respecting oneself.

“We think that many people have too much doubt … they depend upon the TV to chapter (their) mind frame … they depend upon the leader’s decisions to chapter the frame of their minds, when sometimes you just need to rise up and be what you want to be,” Anthony B. said.

His favorite song on the new album, “Rise Again,” speaks to some of the current issues of our day.

“We all on the Earth now are finally coming to a recognition that human beings are all tied into one in some way or another. We have never seen it in no greater time than in this recession time. Now every country can see what it is like to live through hardship,” he said.

He believes the current economic crisis could actually help people find reality.

“We learn in Jamaica that anything you want, you work and make your money and go buy it,” he said. “That means how can I drive a car that costs $100,000 if I have never earned $100,000? … This is an illusion. How can you buy what you have never earned and say it is yours?

“The system that you believe in so much, that’s not the help you need. The help is in your individual strength … you have to try to make your life better.”

As the systems Americans rely on break down, people may be more open to hearing the messages being spread through reggae music. Much of that message is positive, something that’s easy to appreciate in the midst of plenty of bad news.

“There’s a bright light on the horizon,” Anthony B. said.

E-mail comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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