A RECORD SUMMER
Cleveland, Ohio – Something special seems to be brewing on the North Coast these days as Cleveland’s native son, Carlos Jones and his “Peace, Love, Unity Syndicate” (aka The P.L.U.S. Band), continue to draw record crowds this summer with an incredible run of shows over the last few weeks.
Starting off with a packed house at the Music Box Supper Club on June 14th for the Happy Hour Concert Series, broadcast live by OWOW radio, Jones played his first show at the Larchmere Porchfest series later that week and drew the largest crowd ever according to the event’s promoter, Michael Kinsella. Less than two weeks later on June 28th, Jones’s crowd was upwards of 10,000 people at the Wade Oval Wednesday event. A few days later, Jones and the group opened for comedy legends Cheech and Chong at Nelson’s Ledges, and once again, the venue was packed with an estimated 6,000 campers. Topping off this run of shows, the group made its debut appearance at the Metroparks’s Edgewater LIVE concert event, drawing close to 20,000 people on an absolutely beautiful summer night, where the group delivered a great set of Jones’s signature roots reggae – a perfect fit for the sun setting on Lake “Irie.”
Why is it that Clevelanders have totally embraced this man and his music? Isn’t Cleveland a “rock and roll” town? How is it that an artist performing roots reggae music has become the city’s most popular local artist, by far outdrawing other groups at area venues? It’s not that he’s getting a lot of airplay on local radio, although his song “The Cleveland Beat” has been in light rotation on both OWOW (internet radio) and Akron’s 91.3 FM “The Summit” for almost two years. According to OWOW’s Music Director, Steve Pappas, that song has become an anthem for reggae music lovers. The lyrics might provide a clue: “People want to dance / whenever they get the chance.”
Jones definitely lays down pulsating dance grooves but also stresses a message of peace and love in his lyrics. What other artist has ever incorporated The Lord’s Prayer into the middle of a song? Jones’s original song “Jah Guide Over Us” does just that, and his audiences love it! Over the years, his shows have swung more towards a mix of 65-35 percent original music as his catalogue has grown. Old favorites like “Apartment Living” and “Running” continue to be staples in his set, but newer songs like “Roots with Culture,” “Leave a Trail,” “Rhythm Child,” and “Catch a Falling Star” have been worked into his set seamlessly. Plus, nobody does Bob Marley songs better than Carlos Jones, and who doesn’t like Bob Marley?
SAME GROOVE, NEW CLEVELAND
With a career that is going on 39 years, Jones takes nothing for granted. He is still the same humble person that he was when he brought his bongos with him the first time he heard Cleveland’s seminal reggae pioneers, I-Tal, and asked if he could play along from the side of the stage. He volunteers regularly at All Faith’s Pantry, helping to load the delivery trucks that provide shut-ins with food. He brings children up on stage with him to experience the joy of banging on a drum, playing with the band. He’s always the last one to leave a show, waiting around patiently to sign autographs or pose for pictures with adoring fans. In our own humble view, Carlos Jones is either A) The New Face of Cleveland, or B) the Face of the New Cleveland – or maybe both. He is definitely a man that Clevelanders identify with and embrace, and the love continues to grow! We’re proud to be affiliated with Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band.