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Reggae With A South Georgia Twist

When it comes to chart-topping Reggae, most people think of steel drums and Jamaica. But with a local band having an album recently debuting at No. 4 on the worldwide iTunes Reggae Chart, people might start thinking of South Georgia and a saxophone.

Yamadeo, a four-piece rock/reggae band from the Thomasville/Tallahassee, Florida, area, emerged onto the music scene seven years ago. According to the band’s online biography, its music, initially, was just a fun way “to score ladies and free booze” at Valdosta State University (VSU).

In an area where Southern Rock dominated, the group’s mix of reggae and hip hop was different than what crowds were used to hearing and was well received.

“We realized pretty early that our music was unique,” said Brannen Goldman, 28, of Pelham, who founded Yamadeo with his brother, Ben.

Goldman said Yamadeo is part of “a new American Reggae movement that is really popular in the West and is moving east.”

“We play a fusion of several modern genres, including Reggae and punk,” he said.

The brothers soon realized they were on to something with great potential and decided to take the band in a more professional direction.

In 2010, the brothers added VSU Jazz Ensemble member and saxophone player TK Edmondson of Valdosta and drummer Bobby Boyd of Thomasville. According to the band’s bio, “After the four were all finally in the same room, the chemistry was undeniable and the band’s lineup was set. Within months, they were already in the studio to record their first release ‘People Get Crazy EP.’

Upon college graduation in 2011, the band decided to relocate to Tallahassee to take advantage of the improved music scene, venues and major universities that the town has to offer. By late 2012, the band was back working with engineer Lee Dyess (Mayday Parade, From First to Last) at Earthsound Studios to record its first full-length album “Doin’ It.”

Its 2016 release, “Follow the Sun,” debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the worldwide iTunes Reggae Albums Chart. That was followed by a video release for the album’s first feel-good single, “Cigarillos.”

Today, the band is grinding out more than shows per year and touring all over the southeastern United States.

The band has shared the stage, at several sold-out shows, with some of the biggest names in music, including Bob Marley’s band The Wailers, as well as the Dirty Heads and Rebelution. Yamadeo has also headlined its own successful tours.

Yamadeo is currently booking festivals and venues across the country and continues to extend its reach to a wider audience.

The band’s last show was the JGB Rockfest at St. George Island, Florida. Its next show is Thursday at the Bricks at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. On May 23, Yamadeo will perform with The Wailers and Sway Jah Vu at The Side Bar in Tallahassee.

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