Atlanta based producer Matt Mansfield aka Piper Street Sound has created a collaborative EP of instrumental Reggae music with legendary Reggae guitarist Andy Bassford (Toots and the Maytals, Dennis Brown, Horace Andy, Culture, Roots Radics). Black Eyed Peace follows 2020’s Small Plate / Rid Them EP but puts a focus on guitar melodies masterfully executed by Maestro Bassford. The songs still bear Piper Street’s customary horn heavy and dub infused style but move into some new territory; elements of Rocksteady abound, major keys now bounce along side their minor key brethren, Yaya Brown’s akete drumming prods and propels the rhythms carved by the ultra tight drumming of Brian Daggett and the bass of Mansfield, Chris Case’s keyboard mastery blazes along side the horns of Will Scruggs, Jonathan Lloyd and Dashill Smith.
Pre-save Black Eyed Peace: https://lnk.to/blackeyedpeace
Listen to the first single: https://piperstreetsound.bandcamp.com/track/black-eyed-peace
Black Eyed Peace is a collaborative affair pieced together gradually over the course of the pandemic, the horn sessions miraculously took place the week before everything shut down, and all other elements were recorded in home studios and electronically gathered by Matt, who acted as track-herd and trail guide, scouting ahead, blazing a path while shooting fearful glances behind at the specter of disease and death that shadowed the procession through the forest of fear.
Piper Street Sound found a sacred glade, a clearing in the forest with room for hope, and got to work building a fire with his fellows, over which to craft this musical brew, heavily dosed with dubwise analog effects, shimmering and splashing spring reverbs, rich and hearty tape delays, the guitar mastery of a musical hero floats atop as frothy foam, and love for humanity is the base malt. Here it is. Won’t you take a sip?
Andy Bassford On Matt Mansfield and Piper Street Sound
In April of last year, right as the impact of the pandemic was sinking in, I received a message through my Instagram account from Matt Mansfield, inquiring about my doing some session work for his label, Piper Street Sound. I had never met Matt, but his approach was highly professional. I got back to him promptly. After some discussion, it became clear that Matt was looking for creative input and solos to add impact to instrumental music he had already conceived and recorded, not just standard singer-oriented guitar parts. In other words, a collaboration rather than simple work for hire.
I’ve played on thousands of sessions. But they’ve fallen into one of two categories: either someone else was in charge, or I was. So the idea of collaboration was new ground for me. In 2018 I had released my first solo album, which did well. But I hadn’t decided how to follow it up. I prefer to record my own projects live in the studio, but that was no longer an option. Here was a possible solution.
Although I record as a session player for just about anyone who asks, I am extremely fussy about what goes out with my name on the cover. I’m not going to record something just to have a song out every month. I have to be proud of it. So I told Matt that I had to be excited about the material or my name wasn’t going on it.
When I heard what Matt had written, I knew after hearing eight bars that I wanted to be involved. He had taken the elements of classic reggae and put his own stamp on the melodies and bass lines. Everything was beautifully written, and played and recorded to my standards. I particularly liked the fact that nothing Matt sent me was like anything I’d write for myself. It was very clear what he wanted me to add, and why he’d reached out to me.
I also liked the fact that Matt is much younger than I am. It’s important when you reach a certain age not to get stuck working with people who have the same references you do. I got to work. The collaboration was seamless. Matt is a superb producer. He’s great at explaining what he’s looking for and gives exactly the right amount of direction. The only difficulty I had was making sure that my contributions were as good as everything else that was already there. That’s a great problem to have! I’m thrilled with the results. I think that anyone who likes my album will love this project too. And I’m really looking forward to the public’s response. I’m very confident about this.
About Andy Bassford
Connecticut-born guitarist Andy Bassford has recorded and performed with nearly every important artist in reggae since his debut in 1977 on Horace Andy’s “In The Light.” He has played on thousands of recordings, including three Grammy winning albums in the reggae category out of nine nominated. The most recent of these was 2018’s Sting & Shaggy album “44/876.” Other notable achievements in 2019 have been his performances on the #1 Jazz Radio Chart album by Monty Alexander, “Warieka Hill/RastaMonk Vibrations,” and a UK #1 dance single by Jennifer Holliday, “Baby Tonight.”
Moving to Jamaica in 1980, Andy began doing sessions at Channel One with Roots Radics. He then joined Jamaica’s top backing band, Lloyd Parks and We The People. During this period, Andy recorded and played with just about everybody, including eight years with the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown.
Returning to the US, Andy then joined the legendary Toots and the Maytals in 1988, staying for over two decades. He also played on Toots’ 2005 Grammy winning “True Love” album along with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and Trey Anastasio. In 2003 Andy received an award from the Jamaica Federation of Musicians for his contributions to the Jamaican music industry.
Outside of reggae, Andy has recorded with Rihanna, Natalie Merchant, Jennifer Holliday, Rolling Stones saxist Bobby Keys, and jazz trumpeter Graham Haynes. As a sideman, Andy currently tours the world as a member of Jamaican jazz master Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express. He also plays Jamaican venues around NYC with bass legend Derrick Barnett’s Statement Band and maintains a busy freelance gig and session schedule with a variety of other artists and bands.
About Piper Street Sound
Matt Mansfield is a musician, producer, and sound engineer with a focus on Dub Reggae. He maintains a studio in Clarkston, Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta, where he uses the techniques of Dub and electronic production to explore global soundscapes. He instigates musical interactions under the name Piper Street Sound. With over twenty years of recording, performing, and touring as bassist and live dub engineer, as well as years working in record label management with the pioneering ZZK Records, Mansfield has dug deeply through the emerging sounds of our planet. In this process of delving he has evolved into a creature of instinctive musical creation.
Drums - Brian Daggett
Bass - Matt Mansfield
Akete Drum - John Arthur Brown
Percussion - Matt Mansfield
Guitars - Andy Bassford, James Keane, Matt Mansfield
Keys - Christo Case, Matt Mansfield
Tenor Sax - Will Scruggs
Trombone - Jonathan Lloyd
Trumpet - Dashill Smith
Horns Recorded by Spencer Garn and Brent Hopkins at Diamond Street Studios in Atlanta
Produced and Mixed by Matt Mansfield
Mastered by Joel Hatstat
Songs written by Matt Mansfield and Andy Bassford
Horns Arranged by Jonathan Lloyd
Artwork by Nuino Design
Executive Producer - The inner fire of human consciousness that you may know as Jah or that may remain unnamed and or unacknowledged.