As a kid growing up just outside of Kingston, Jamaica, in the early '60s, Clinton “Basie” Fearon had a life-changing experience when he saw his first ska band. The young Fearon had been playing flute and harmonica in his father's church, but after catching the early Skatalites, he immediately went home and carved a guitar out of a block of wood with a machete and a pocketknife, later using the spokes of forks as the inlay for the frets.
Self-taught, Fearon became a bass player and singer for the Gladiators, one of the more popular roots reggae vocal groups of the '70s. Famous producer Lee Perry also used him as a session player in his legendary Black Ark Studio (he plays on the noted track, “Roast Fish and Cornbread”), and Fearon also did session work for Coxsonne Dodd at Studio One.
In the mid-'80s, following a tour with the Gladiators, Fearon grew fed up with his role in the band and decided to pursue a musical project that led him to move to Seattle, where he now fronts the Boogie Brown Band. While he still plays Gladiators tunes in his live set, Fearon hasn't given up songwriting and should bring strong new reggae tunes with classic roots and dub underpinning to the Folk Festival.
Saturday: 3-3:45 p.m. on the Ukrop's/First Market Stage.
Saturday: 7:45-8:45 p.m. at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Dance Pavilion.
Sunday: 1:15-2:15 p.m. at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Dance Pavilion.
Sunday: 4-5 p.m. on the Dominion Stage.