Fifteen years ago, if you heard about a new, young Ska/Reggae band, you’d be forgiven for thinking the crew played some variation of Third Wave Ska, the Reggae-tinged Punk popularized by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and others. But if you subscribe to the belief that music lovers often turn to more pure forms of music in times of societal uncertainty, The Six’s dedication to the earliest forms of Reggae and the authentic sound they come up with should be no surprise.
The horns on Licking River are top-notch, responsible for the best riffs on the release, while the bass provides deep Dub grooves, the guitarist shows off one of the best Reggae strum hands in the region, the drums are dynamic but (indeed) rock-steady and the organ trills and stabs are in line with what the pioneers had in mind when they came up with the sound.
Singer J Duckworth guides the Secret Six through the album with soulful vocals pushed forth from the bottom of his gut. He’s got the phrasing down and comes up with some great melodies throughout, but it’s the way he sells it that sets the band apart.
If you love Reggae’s originators and have a soft spot for Two Tone Ska, then meet your new favorite local band, The Newport Secret Six.