A North Carolina band that has been rising through the ranks of the festival circuit with its unique take on reggae fusion will visit Northeastern Pennsylvania this week.
Of Good Nature will perform Thursday at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains Township, and local artists Jordan Ramirez and Mike Stec will open the evening.
The group’s 2012 debut album, “Just Add Water,” was recognized with Indie Ville’s reggae album of the year award, and its 2015 follow-up, “Life Worth Livin,” debuted at No. 5 on iTunes’ Reggae Albums Chart. They’ve performed on bills with Sublime with Rome, Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, George Clinton, Michael Franti & Spearhead and more, and they’ve been featured on Train’s Sail Across The Sun Cruise for the past two years.
Since February, the band has released two singles, “Take Me Anywhere” and “Feels Right,” representing their work with producer Danny Kalb, who has worked with Beck, Ben Harper and Foster the People.
“In 2012, we had a member switch up and replaced a bass player,” guitarist and vocalist Cameron Brown said. “We replaced a drummer two years ago. We got David Hamilton Jr. on the drums, and we’ve been soaring since then.”
While the band — formed in Charlotte, N.C., in 2011 — is currently a four-piece, they keep strong ties to friend and original drummer Joey Vachon.
“Joey and I have always stayed together,” Brown said. “On the (Train) cruise ship, Joey came with us, and we also had Adrian Crutfield. He’s played with Prince, Cee Lo Green and Bootsy Collins. He’s from Charlotte too.”
The group infuses its reggae with elements of jazz, funk, indie-rock and pop, and Brown says the sound has progressed with the lineup and the influences of its members.
“(Trombone player) Brandon (Hucks) listens to a lot of Trombone Shorty and New Orleans stuff,” Brown said. “David brings a lot of jazz and technical drumming in. John (Reed) is all rock and funk on the bass. I, as a songwriter, have listened to everything and brought it all together. It’s started to get really fun, and we’re getting really excited.”
The lyricism in Of Good Nature’s 2018 releases is decidedly more lighthearted than the title track from “Life Worth Livin.”
“‘Life Worth Livin’ is definitely a political song,” Brown said. “At that moment (in 2015), the NSA stuff and the email spying stuff was happening. I think everybody was scared. In the moment, writing the song, I got into that and tried to describe it, this feeling of, ‘Maybe we’re not as safe as we think we are.’
“Right now, the batch of songs is a little more mellow and feeling good and not necessarily getting too judgmental or anything.”
The band plans to release a third single, “Good Life,” during the summer and a full-length album, for which they are returning to the studio with Kalb, by the end of the year.
In the meantime, Of Good Nature has been touring and working on music videos with friend, photographer and video artist Chris Sheridan.
“Live, we showcase all of our songs and singles and records,” Brown said. “We change up live versions for sure, because we play a lot of shows; we have time to morph these songs into new stuff. We bring out a lot of instrumental stuff we haven’t necessarily recorded. We have a lot of funk jams. We have trading improv and solo things we do. We just call it ‘G Jam.’ We do it pretty much differently every night. The rest of the show is very structured, so don’t worry.”
As the band has evolved, its name, Brown said, has come to represent the group of people that surrounds and supports the reggae outfit and its music.
“I think ‘Of Good Nature’ describes, not necessarily a counter culture, but his good vibe crew that’s coming to our shows and going on social media, and it’s not any political party or an association with anything. It’s just people being good people,” Brown said. “We’re trying to push that along with the music … having fun and promoting good nature.”
Returning to Plains Township after a performance last year, Brown said the band is excited to come back.
“The River Street Jazz Cafe is dope,” he said. “We love it up there.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter at TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Of Good Nature with special guests Jordan Ramirez & Mike Stec
When: 9 p.m. Thursday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 N. River St., Plains Township
Info: Tickets cost $5 in advance and $10 the day of the show, and are available online at bit.ly/2w4RSrr and at the door on Thursday night.