AT THE ROSE TUESDAY: Jason Mraz adds a little reggae to his sunny sound

Multiplatinum musician Jason Mraz, who released the reggae album, “Look for the Good,” in June 2020, brings his summer tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Caption
Multiplatinum musician Jason Mraz, who released the reggae album, “Look for the Good,” in June 2020, brings his summer tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pop-rocker encourages listeners to ‘Look for the Good’

Jason Mraz has never made the same album twice. The multiplatinum musician, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10, has also never made a hard musical left turn like “Look for the Good,” a collection of reggae songs released by Interrabang/BMG in June 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.

“We were given the option to wait and put the album out later,” Mraz said recently, speaking from his home in southern California. “I said, ‘No, I’ve got to get it out. I wrote it for now so let’s put it out now. I’ll address the live stuff and how to promote it later.

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“I just wanted get this music out there,” he continued. “I thought it could help breathe some life and some goodness in what we predicted would be a very transformative year. We thought it would be filled with debate and, possibly, more division. There were a lot of issues that still needed to be addressed, so I thought the music would be a good parring for that.”

While this kind of musical excursion doesn’t always work, Mraz has found a surprisingly apt setting for his sunny brand of acoustic-pop. He manages to stick the landing on “Look for the Good.” Rather than attempting to capture an island groove with a bunch of his buddies, he worked with actual reggae musicians and enlisted Michael Goldwasser, one of the hottest producers in the field.

“A great song can be dressed up in any genre,” Mraz said. “I went into this first with the songs. I wanted to make sure I could play them on an acoustic guitar and you can still feel it. And then it was the relationship I have with Michael Goldwasser, the producer. He really helped me authentically blast these up into the reggae realm.”

Multiplatinum musician Jason Mraz, who released the reggae album, “Look for the Good,” in June 2020, brings his summer tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Caption
Multiplatinum musician Jason Mraz, who released the reggae album, “Look for the Good,” in June 2020, brings his summer tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Serving the community

While the coronavirus shutdowns derailed his planned 2020 tour to support the album, the Virginia native found other ways to spread not only positive vibes but financial support through his Jason Mraz Foundation.

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“We couldn’t be out there, in the towns, on the streets, breathing life into this music and putting the new sounds and ideas out there,” Mraz said. “But, there are still airwaves and internet waves and I found ways I could take the profits from ‘Look for the Good’ and get those into the hands and hearts of those who were actually on the ground activating the very changes I was singing about. In fact, it felt even more impactful to do it that way.

“We converted $250,000 to people who were in courtrooms fighting for change, people who were doing childcare and people who were marching on the frontlines to give a voice where a voice was needed,” he continued. “It was very, very cool. It was a hard year for many and I knew I’d get back to touring eventually and that space would reopen and that’s fine. I saw it as an opportunity to sit down, have some patience and rethink how I can be of service.”

Multiplatinum musician Jason Mraz, who released the reggae album, “Look for the Good,” in June 2020, brings his summer tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Multiplatinum musician Jason Mraz, who released the reggae album, “Look for the Good,” in June 2020, brings his summer tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 10. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

On the road again

Other than a few drive-in performances, Mraz hadn’t done a proper concert since March 2019. That changed in late July when he finally got out with a 13-piece reggae band for his Look for the Good Live! Summer Tour. The setlist includes songs from his latest album as well as new reggae arrangements of some of his older material.

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“I knew if I was going to hit the road with a reggae band, I couldn’t just play ‘Look for the Good’ and then go back to pop and acoustic rock for the rest of the show,” he said. “I wanted to dress up my old songs in a reggae style and fashion as well. A lot of the old songs are actually being improved by this new groove.

“It also gives me access to some old songs I just haven’t played in decade because now I’ve got the right band to help me breathe life into it,” Mraz added. “Fans who have followed me for a long time are really going to appreciate this new show. We get into some old songs while, at the same time, fully rocking the new songs.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Jason Mraz

Where: Rose at Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$92

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: jasonmraz.com