Carl Harvey

A Canadian musical lion roars with new EP & single.

File under playlist with: Living Colour, Peter Tosh, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Parliament Funkadelic.

Many people who truly know and appreciate the history of the music consider Carl Harvey to be one of the top half-dozen or so reggae guitarists of all-time. However, that’s really only scratching the surface. Take the jazz and blues nuance of Ernest Ranglin and visceral rock ferocity of Peter Tosh, two of the greatest guitarists from Harvey’s native Jamaica. Add the sheer sonic brilliance of Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana, the blues-rock authenticity of Eric Clapton, and the hardcore funky groove of Eddie Hazel and Vernon Reid. For good measure, include the ear for soundscapes and the overall creative vision of a master producer and engineer. Now, you have a more complete picture of Carl Harvey as an artist. He’s a familiar face to millions of people, yet only truly known by those who know. Until now.

Carl Harvey’s career in music spans over four decades, to the mid-1970s when he recorded with reggae immortals such as Jackie Mittoo, King Tubby and Prince Jammy, a decade which for Harvey culminated with Willi Williams’ international hit record Messenger Man and his own first solo album Ecstasy of Mankind, which since its first legitimate release on Makasound in 2005 has become a much sought-after collector’s item. Also during that time, Harvey joined Crack of Dawn, Canada’s seminal black funk band that has recently reunited for several special concerts. In 1980, Harvey joined the literal originators of the word reggae Toots & The Maytals. 33 years later, the Maytals remain one of the top touring reggae bands in the world. In just over half a century since the great Toots Hibbert founded the Maytals, they have released more than 30 albums and compilations; Harvey appears on more than 15 of these records including 2004’s Best Reggae Album Grammy Award-winning True Love. Toots & The Maytals have performed with the some of the world’s most popular artists including the Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews and Sheryl Crow; and headlined stages at major eclectic, jazz and reggae festivals worldwide such as Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, Montreal Jazz Festival, Reggae on the River, Fuji Rock, Summerjam (Cologne, Germany) as well as hundreds of others along with the global A-list of clubs & theatres. Harvey’s 2005 solo album The Times also received wide-ranging critical acclaim.

Harvey’s body of work as an engineer and producer, and his overall contribution to the development of Canadian reggae & RB, is equally as impressive as his musical canon. Three-time Juno award winner (and 4-time nominee) Kim Richardson, Canada’s first international reggae supergroup Messenjah, Sway (he produced their Juno-nominated 1989 worldwide hit ‘Hands Up’), Ojiji (with his brother Rupert), Alexis Baro and Crack of Dawn head the long list of Canadian solo artists and bands whose success bear Harvey’s indelible stamp as a producer and creative contributor.

The Carl Harvey Project: Unleashed

Unleashed is a testament to the power and freedom of a master guitarist and songwriter, unchained from notions of genre classification and notoriety from his previous associations. It showcases Harvey in his natural element, creating a jaw-dropping array of guitar and arrangement ideas; backed by some of the best R&B, soul and reggae musicians in Canada such as: Wade O. Brown (keys & vocals), Shamaka Ali (drums), David Gouveia (percussion), Roger Williams (bass) and Selena Evangeline (vocals).

Its lead single is the immortal George Harrison classic ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, updated for the times with a reggae/rock roar and the sublime vocals of Selena Evangeline. Within days of its official release, the single is garnering airplay and climbing the charts across the United States, with the official EP release scheduled for the fall of 2013.