Stick Figure’s new album “Wisdom” debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, knocking out Bob Marley & The Wailers of the top spot. Marley had previously held the No. 1 spot for 140 consecutive weeks. “Wisdom” was written, produced and recorded by Scott Woodruff, a self-taught musician, at Stick Figure-owned Great Stone Studios in Oakland, CA, former home of Green Day. The album includes 14 full-length tracks, including features from Slightly Stoopid, Barrington Levy, and Collie Buddz.
Wisdom is a journey and a search for what matters in life–a search for meaning, purpose, place and belonging. Wisdom is a code to live by where we can accept that it is ok to start over, to make mistakes, to love, and to feel pain. It is a reminder to focus on the little things that bring joy and know that all of it is a part of our individual story. It also shows us that we should have some fun doing it all! In signature Stick Figure style, Wisdom can bring peace and happiness in the dark moments as well as in the good times, and the benefits of the music can stay with the listener long after the record has stopped spinning.
An intuitive and accomplished producer, Woodruff crafts authentic artistry from the foundation of roots-dub reggae, featuring cavernous grooves, sparkling electronic orchestration, and thick rhythms. With a soundscape that is as much Kygo or Tame Impala as it is Bob Marley or Sublime, his music has evolved throughout time while staying true to his signature sound. Wisdom is undoubtedly Stick Figure’s best production to date, and the attention to detail throughout the album’s 14 tracks create a top-notch sonic experience that is tailor made for a beach party and also perfectly suited for a solitary hike through the woods. Inside the historic studio, Stick Figure band member Johnny Cosmic, an accomplished producer in his own right, teams up with Woodruff to mix each track. When completed, a brotherhood of hard-jamming musicians delivers this widescreen soundtrack in concert performances of consciousness-altering celebration.
Preceding Wisdom, Stick Figure released seven albums, all recorded solo, with Woodruff laying down the tracks one by one. The current live band line-up features Kevin Bong (KBong) on keyboards, Kevin Offitzer on drums, bassist Tommy Suliman, John Gray (Johnny Cosmic) on guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals, and Will Phillips on percussion, with Scott upfront on guitar and vocals. Bong, Offitzer and Suliman have been with the band for ten years and the camaraderie on stage is infectious.
Stick Figure concerts are gatherings distinguished by audience sing-alongs, hard hitting bass, extended improvisational interludes, the mind manifesting hues of a light show, and the much-anticipated entrance of the band’s canine mascot, a rescued Australian Shepherd named Cocoa The Tour Dog. Cocoa has her own 501(c)3 charity and is the only dog to ever receive a trophy for her role in selling out the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in one day. The show becomes a family gathering that spans across age and demographic, all coming together for good vibes and music.
The release of Wisdom signifies a new era of accessibility for reggae music, without sacrificing authenticity. The genre can no longer be written off as a footnote when the total consumption rivals that of most other major genres. Woodruff’s imaginative and thoughtfully crafted creations have made reggae a way of life for people of all backgrounds, and with Stick Figure showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, the people are ready for more.
STREAM/DOWNLOAD “Wisdom” HERE
Article by James Wright