Time inevitably brings about change, and no one is immune to its effects.
Right now, I would like to give a shout out to former bandmates, Darren “Cholly O” Evans and Ghani Harris, who have played bass and guitar, respectively, in the PLUS Band for many years, and have just recently moved on to pursue other projects.
Cholly O has been our bass player since 1999 – almost for as long as the band has been in existence, and his funky and dynamic style is what helped to define our sound all the way up to this point. There is no denying that his energy and movement onstage have kept crowds engaged and grooving through the many shows we’ve done, myself included. Truthfully, I have had trouble imagining how we could continue without him, but the last few shows have shown me that the vibe still remains, even in our current configuration, and that we may still have a little gas left in the tank. So, we decided to keep moving forward and do the best we can with our remaining members, Peter, Max, Roy, Curt and George, who are still 100% dedicated to providing the positivity and joy we‘ve always been known for. We’re still figuring things out, but it’s almost like we’ve gotten a reset, back to when we first started out as a four-piece acoustic based group. It’s a very familiar situation, and those of you who have been with us since our humble beginnings will remember how it was back then. It was relaxed and fun, and what we may have lacked in instrumentation, I think we made up for in sincerity and Spirit. We’ll continue to reach for that.
Meanwhile you can always catch brother Cholly with his new group, Realiztik Soul, – a band that will knock your funky socks off and roll you in some soul! You can catch them playing all over town and I’m sure he’ll also be doing some collabs with other area artists too, as he regularly records in his home studio, called “At Da Pad”.
Ghani Harris has been on the Cleveland music scene for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to the mid – 80’s when I first became aware of his talents, playing with Ras Matunji in the band, Earth Force. A lot of you older Reggae heads will remember that group from back in the day when Reggae had a much stronger presence in the area and there were more places to play on a regular basis. Ghani has always been one of the go-to guys whenever someone needed authentic sounding Reggae guitar, and he is actually well versed in various styles, whether it be Rock, Blues, Funk or Jazz. He could often (and still can) be seen playing solo, downtown during special events like sports games, concerts, private events or in other locations during the course of any normal day, with his unique one-man band setup that captivates a crowd every time. Nowadays, he is also featured in various venues around town, either jamming solo or with other musicians he has teamed up with, and it’s always a great show. Recently he has reunited with Ras Matunji for a renewed iteration of Earth Force, and I recommend you catch them whenever and wherever they perform, undoubtedly one of the best Cleveland Reggae has to offer.
We really miss having those guys with us but definitely wish them all the best of success in their endeavors going forward. I personally want to say THANK YOU!!! to Cholly O and Ghani. It’s been a great ride and we’ve done some good things. And who knows, maybe there is still more to be done together down the road.
And as PLUS continues, we will try as best we can to find our footing and bring you the vibe you have come to expect when you come to our shows. We absolutely love and have a deep respect for this music that we’ve been allowed to play for so long, and I’m grateful to say there will be more chances for us to get together and have a good time, like we always do.
Reggae Fest, which is our summer season kickoff, is coming up on the 28th, and if last year is any indication, this thing could sell out again, so if you haven’t gotten tickets yet, I would consider doing so ASAP.
Alright Fams, that’s what’s UP!
As always, thank you for hanging with us through it all, and I look forward to our next family reunion. Oh yeah, also, you can hear me on NPR – Ideastream Public Media WKSU 89.7 on Thursday May 18th, chatting with Amanda Rabinowitz on her program called “Shuffle”, as we talk about Cleveland Reggae – past, present and future, and the whole music scene in general.
Ya’ll be good.
Peace & blessings,