While several of reggae legend Bob Marley's children have touched on his classic, roots-soaked sound in their own musical endeavors, perhaps none has ever waded as deeply into those waters as his youngest son, Ky-Mani. And on Many More Roads, the 21-year-old singer offers a sometimes stunning approximation of his late, great father, turning in a sophomore album that's the most impressive effort by any Marley in ages. The comparison between the youngster and his dad is easiest made on the leadoff track, "Who Are We", where that familiar-sounding voice is surrounded by chirping female backing vocals that recall Bob's longtime backing trio, the I-Threes (that's no accident, as former I-Three Marcia Griffiths is one of the participants). However, the elder Marley's spirit is evident throughout the disc, from tender, lighthearted fare like "Love In De Morning" to the conscious messages of "Valley Of Decision" and "Hailie I." While Ky-Mani shows he's his own man too, by occasionally utilizing dancehall's electronic grooves, this is nothing like the slick, hip-hop flavored stuff he or any of his siblings have tried in the past. In fact, one of the most impressive tricks of Many More Roads is to use such contemporary sounds without ever falling prey to trendiness -- they're simply in service to the handsome melodies and timeless sentiments. Many critics have decided that Bob Marley's offspring, for all their evident talent, will never come close to scaling his artistic heights -- but this album suggests that no one should carve that judgment in stone just yet.
Many More Roads Review
by Dan LeRoy