When California reggae outfit Rebelution was nominated for a Grammy in 2017 for the previous year's Falling Into Place, it proved the culmination of more than a decade spent woodshedding, endlessly touring, and a D.I.Y. attitude in managing an ever-growing international fan base. With a sound that amalgamates pop-tinged reggae and breezy indie rock, it was their first album to top the reggae charts.
Formed in Santa Barbara, California by a group of college music students, Rebelution was built from diverse musical backgrounds united by a shared passion for reggae. Launched in 2004, Rebelution spent a couple years playing around their home base, offering a breezy fusion of roots and rock that immediately set the group apart from acts such as Sublime and Long Beach Dub All-Stars. In 2006, they made their debut with a self-titled EP, while their debut album, Courage to Grow, hit the number four spot on the reggae charts. Their 2009 follow-up, Bright Side of Life, topped the Reggae Albums chart, while 2011 saw them cross over into electronica with their Remix EP. Peace of Mind arrived in 2012, with the versions Peace of Mind: Acoustic and Peace of Mind: Dub following later in the year, the latter remixed by Easy Star All-Star's Michael Goldwasser. Two years later, the group landed on Goldwasser's Easy Star label with the album Count Me In. Count Me In: Acoustic appeared on the group's own 87 label in 2015, then it was back to Easy Star for 2016's Falling Into Place. The album featured a guest appearance from Jamaican singer Protoje and debuted at number 32 on the Billboard 200 album chart and won a Grammy nomination. They followed it with the chart-topping Live at Red Rocks. In 2018, Free Rein was another chart-topping set that expanded the band's sonic palette to include more lover's rock. The band utilized several producers on the set including Don Corleon (Sean Paul, Rihanna), who helmed the single "Rise on Top," and Winta James, (Damian Marley, Chronixx), for "Settle Down Easy" and "City Life," two songs that reflect a more confessional perspective. ~ David Jeffries