Arriving at the tail end of a typical Virginia wintry mix of sleet, freezing rain and fog, The Wailers’ bus rolled into Charlottesville, Virginia, for An Evening with the Wailers at The Jefferson Theater. With some delays in band members’ arrival due to weather, an unplanned but most enjoyable opening acoustic segment was performed by Junior Jazz (Wendel Ferraro), the band’s rhythm guitar player. Bob Marley’s portfolio is extensive, and Jazz pulled out a few lesser-known tunes that were a delight to the audience.

Junior Jazz lit the fuse, and when the full band hit the stage the audience was ready for fireworks. Charlottesville loves its reggae music, and despite the weather the house was near capacity. Josh David Barrett, freshly engaged, was particularly full of energy and led the band through our favorite Bob Marley hits with his enthusiastic delivery. Donald Kinsey tore it up on lead guitar with several solos; of particular note was a spine-tingling cover of “Johnny B. Goode.” Aston Barrett, Jr., on drums, Owen “Dreadie” Reid laying down bass and the talented Ann Marie Thompson on backup vocals rounded out the band.

This group is special in that members include musicians from the original Wailers band, and their pride and commitment are evident in their performances. If interested, you can read more about them here. It’s a thrill to even be in a room with these legends and a treat to experience them live.

Just two days before on February 5th would have been Bob Marley’s 73rd birthday. Bob wanted his music to continue; it’s a sure thing he’s smiling on his Original Wailers and proud of their commitment to his legacy. We fans certainly are.

Photos: Jody Carbone

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