Oct. 28, 2003 – Last May, St. John's reggae band Inner Visions headed up to the States for an open-ended tour aimed at promoting their fourth CD, "Street Corner Musicians." Six months later, they're still at it — with a Nashville gig recently under their belts and a four-day festival at Universal Studios in Orlando on the horizon.
In October, the band had dates in Cleveland, Ohio; Afton, New York; Nashville; Bloomington, Indiana; St. Joseph and St. Louis, Missouri; and Little Rock, Arkansas. They'll be back in New England for the first 10 days of November, then head to Orlando for a four-day "Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom" festival at Universal Studios.
And then, they'll be heading home to the Virgin Islands, where they'll be playing regular gigs on Monday nights at the Ritz-Carlton on St. Thomas; Wednesday nights at their home base, Fred's in Cruz Bay; Saturday afternoons at Sapphire Beach Resort on St. Thomas; and Saturday nights at the Westin St. John.
The veteran members of Inner Visions are band leader Phillip "Grasshopper" Pickering, who plays lead and rhythm guitar and does lead vocals; percussionist "Ras Paul" Samms, who also does lead vocals; Alvin "Jupiter" Pickering, Grasshopper's brother, who plays bass and does background vocals; and Leroy "Spikey" Guiste, who now lives on the mainland, on keyboards.
The Pickerings grew up on St. John; Samms is from Jamaica and Guiste is from Dominica. Grasshopper's sons Akiba, 21, and Aswad, 18, have been playing with the band for this year's tour, on keyboards and drums, respectively.
On Oct. 15, St. Thomas resident Naomi Baylarian, booking agent for the band, e-mailed a link to that date's online Nashville Tennessean newspaper, which — like the day's print edition — carried a large color photo of Inner Visions in an article designating their concert scheduled for that night a "hot pick."
Baylarian, owner of Moko Jumbi 'n' Fren Dem Entertainment Management, reported that the night's performance was to be a fund-raiser for The Village Cultural Arts Center Inc. at Nashville's historic Belcourt Theater. But there was a local angle to this gig.
One of the sponsors of the event was Nashville radio station WFSK-FM, where the host of a program called "Smooth Side Up" is Robert Luke, former on-air personality at JAMZ Radio on St. Thomas and before that co-host of "The Breakfast Flakes" on St. Croix. According to Baylarian, Luke was instrumental in "leading the introduction of Inner Visions to Music City" [Nashville].
She also said that two singles from the band's new album, "My Father's Prayer" and "Hold on to What You've Got," "are starting to steal slots on the reggae charts nationwide."
For an earlier Source report on the group's stateside touring since last May, see "Inner Visions reaching out, to stateside acclaim".
And for pictures from the tour and details about the new DC, visit the Inner Visions Web site designed and maintained by St. John's own Digital Dudes.
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