Matisyahu Reflects on 10 Years of ‘Youth,’ Home, and the Road

Hasidic Jew makes it as a reggae star. It could’ve been a gimmick. It could’ve been a joke. It could’ve been an interesting episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But, Matisyahu never came with a laugh track. Just raw, natural talent. And, in 2005, the musician broke through with the breakthrough album, Live at Stubb’s. The album, which went gold and reached #1 on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart, put him at the forefront of the reggae music scene – proving a White Plains, NY native could figuratively take you to Kingston – albeit with some Hebrew flavor.

In that same year, Matisyahu’s Youth also went gold and went received a Grammy nod for Best Reggae Album. This Friday at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, the musician will celebrate the decade anniversary in style – showcasing songs from that album but don’t look for it to be a start-to-finish, in order-of-appearance set. Like his musical style itself, the set list will be improvised.

So you can expect songs from other albums Light, Spark Seeker, and his last original work – Akeda, which was a reflective piece addressing his religious and musical change of direction. If you’ve followed his career over the past few years, you know Matisyahu changed the course of his career and his Judaism by shedding his Hasidic image. Many criticized the change, but, as he noted in the interview that follows, the true fans stayed with him. He’s always been a vessel of peace. His songs have meant something. They make you dance. They make you think. They can hit you hard or not. Crap, even his beatboxing inspires you. That’s who he is – hat, beard, Kapoteh or not. Anyway…

At the Music Conservatory of Westchester fittingly in White Plains this morning, the reggae star along with his long-time collaborator and guitarist Aaron Dugan filmed an A-Sides session in which the musicians performed and sat down for a chat that was both reflective and forward thinking. He discussed the past, the current intimate gig at The Capitol Theatre, and his upcoming European tour. Oh, and there’s a summer tour planned with 311 proving this guy travels more than George Clooney did in Up in the Air.

A new album is also in the works. In the mean time, you can snag a copy of Live at Stubb’s III: A 10-Year Journey, which dropped last fall. Anyway, watch below.

“Sick for So Long”


Interview Part 1

Interview Part 2

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About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman’s music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and Bastille.