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Free your mind

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
Special to the DailyCarlton Pride, son of country singer Charlie Pride, plays roots reggae with Zion at Sherpa & Yeti's in Breckenridge tonight.
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BRECKENRIDGE – Carlton Pride and Keanu Reeve’s character, Neo, are fighting the same battle.Both want to free people’s minds from an imposing system.Pride, the son of country singer Charlie Pride, has spread his message of liberation for the past eight years as the lead vocalist for Carlton Pride and Zion, a reggae band.”It’s kind of like a Matrix thing -freeing people’s minds from this crazy system they’re in,” Pride said. “With the media bombarding them and capitalism, you don’t get a clear vision of who you are. With my music and the frequency of reggae, we’re using it to free people’s minds.”

And Pride knows all about freeing his mind.He grew up in Montana, Chicago and Texas, ridiculed for his father’s music.”My dad’s a black man singing country music, so black people called me an Uncle Tom or Oreo, and I fought every day,” he said. “It helped me become a rebel.”But his rebellion only led him to greater fear, until he realized he had forgotten his essence. He used music to recover from bouts of depression, bipolar disorder and heavy drug use, he said. In fact, he credits the combination of reggae music and marijuana for his ability to stop taking medication doctors prescribed when he was in a mental institution.

“People will leave you because they don’t have the strength to deal with you, but reggae music is self help music. Reggae music – Bob Marley – was there for me to get out and get my mind together,” he said. “I knew that was my sound from the moment I heard it, just like I knew from my first joint that I would use marijuana for medicine.”Pride has expanded his roots reggae sound by incorporating world beat music, as well as other genres, but the one thing that remains constant are his lyrics, which help liberate people.”I am commissioned by spirits to sing my songs and take away the fear,” he said. “All the words come from visions I channel or hear from the other side. Music is the most powerful entity on the earth – more powerful than bombs. You can almost look at a person and know what music they listen to from their behavior.”Using reggae as a foundation, Pride infuses his sound with the “powers of every form of music,” he said. He adds guitar distortion into his solos, storytelling of country-western music into his lyrics and a gospel and soul voice.”This sound – people want to call it reggae or world beat, but it’s a sound that no one has ever used before,” Pride said.

Zeke Benenate, the bass player, joins Matt Jacobs on the keyboards, Ricardo Barnes – who has toured with Carlos Santana – on percussion, and Coutiñho De Souza – who plays at the annual Brazilian carnivals – on drums. “It’s authentic roots reggae, and it definitely gets the crowds involved,” said manager Jon Brisco.The positive vibes float through Sherpa & Yeti’s tonight.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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