In his more-than-four-decade career in Cleveland’s reggae scene, Carlos Jones’ main goal has been to spread positive vibrations. That’s why the band he formed 25 years ago, shortly before his previous band, the wildly popular First Light, is called the P.L.U.S. Band — standing for “Peace/Love/Unity Syndicate.”
That band is one of the biggest draws at northeast Ohio’s plethora of summer outdoor concert series, special events and festivals. He and the band hold attendance records at events such as Wade Oval Wednesdays. But now, despite doing a couple of “drive-in” concerts, he’s mostly been off stage due to the pandemic. Recently he’s been finishing up work on his upcoming album originally due this summer.
But he recently had an idea: he felt that one of the songs he’s recording for his new album, a track called “Now Is the Time,” would be a perfect theme song for the Biden/Harris campaign.
“After listening to the speakers at the DNC I just felt like what I was saying in the song echoed the message they’re putting out,” he says. “We’ve seen throughout history how music can carry and push movements so why not mine? Many songs now are expressing need for change so why not mine? I’m just using the voice I’ve been given to get people activated. I know nobody asked my opinion but I’m putting out how I feel.”
In it he sings,
“Now is the time for all good people to come together
now is the time for I&I to love each other
because there’s too much wickedness raining from high places
too many vultures with smiles on their faces, now is the time”
“We got to treat each other
With love and kindness
And not discrimination
We’ve got to be the opposite of — this negativity
We’ve got to be the opposite of — this hatred and bigotry
Peace and love and understanding
We need to have more harmony
and more compassion for each other
We can’t let the negative destroy our society
How long do I have to tell you
we need peace love and unity
There’s so much work to do now.”
Jones has begin reaching out to people he knows to reach out to people they know who might be able to get the attention of the campaign. That includes his brother Norman whose connection landed him a gig at the Obama White House in 2011, to which he invited Carlos and a couple of the P.L.U.S. Band members.
“I’ve been recruiting people I can think of who might have inroads to not just Joe and Kamala but the Democratic Party, from the local party to the national party,” he says. “Anybody who knows somebody to say, hey listen to this, see if it has potential to evoke some voter excitement and enthusiasm. Ultimately I’d like to see Biden/Harris campaign use it as a rallying cry.”
You can listen to an early version of the song on Soundcloud now; Jones is currently mixing and mastering it and expects to release it as a single in mid-September, with all proceeds going to the Biden/Harris campaign.
Meanwhile, if you know anybody — how cool would it be to have the campaign using a song by a Cleveland music icon? Maybe if enough of us bring it to their attention, they might listen. Reach the campaign at their website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.
Although the current pandemic may separate us physically, italso has shone the spotlight on our spiritual interconnectedness. This digitalfootprint marries the elements of our natural world to its reflection incontemporary art. Just as the color black is a collage of all colors blendedtogether, we also should recognize that Black Lives Matter in a way thatessentially is all-inclusive. When we affirm Black lives amongus, we give validity to the inclusion of all persons of color. Black ArtMatters – our performing and visual arts give way to the expression of ourvalue as part of the whole society. Each color in the collage is distinct, andcollectively, Black is beautiful. We should celebrate and support that.