Natty Nation
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Natty Nation

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1995 | SELF

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1995
Band Rock Reggae




"Chicago Sun Times"

"...a Blazing Live act that performs conscious roots-style music with a hard rock edge! " - Chicago Sun Times

"Portland St. University"

"Natty Nation has picked up an even harder edge to preach JAH love. A Refreshing unifying roots rock reggae show" - Portland State University Vanguard

"Music-Tech.Net Showcase Review"

It’s not a wonder that this consistently winning reggae act has been a hit both on college campuses and the festival circuit since the mid-90s. Boasting a slight rock edge that is somewhat unique for the genre, the band has crossover appeal. - Music -Tech.Net

"The Daily Illini"

"In an age when so much music reflects the dark side of life, Natty Nation's unbashed feel-good vibe is refreshing" - Andrew Keller(The Daily Illini/ University of Illinois)

"[4 full articles] Music with a message: Natty Nation uses reggae to reach audience"

"Every song is a love song, it's a love song for humanity."

These words spoken by Demetrius "JAH Boogie" Wainwright represent the feeling of the reggae music played by Natty Nation, of which he is a member. Natty Nation recently performed a free show on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus that was filled with songs prompting listeners to take a global view.

The band has been a staple in the Midwestern music community for 12 years, and it is easy to see why. The recent show had the musical flow of one ongoing song, a continuous rhythm that had the crowd moving and cheering for more.

"The more people you get into the moment, the more powerful it is," JAH Boogie said.

Natty Nation had no problem getting the crowd moving, but the tunes were not simple party music, they involved messages. Songs such as "Hurricane," written about Hurricane Katrina victims, and "Violent War Games," an obvious call to end warfare, makes the music more conducive to mankind itself.

"I feel if I reach somebody, that's bigger than money," JAH Boogie said.

The music spoke for itself, and so did the energy generated in the crowd by the socially conscious music. Natty Nation was called on stage for not one or two but three encores, showing that getting the message and music to eager fans is at the core of the band's mission and reggae itself. Natty Nation is a band that has backed up the messages in their songs. They have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, played a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims and recently performed during an event to promote homeless awareness in Madison.

"It doesn't have a limit, a special area, it's everywhere," JAH Boogie said, speaking in reference to the homeless problem in Madison as well as in the nation.

Natty Nation will be back in Stevens Point on Oct. 20, playing their brand of socially informative reggae at Clark Place.

For more information on Natty Nation, go to the Web site
Natty Nation highlights Earth Day celebration

by Johanna Nelson

With its strong support for environmental practices such as sustainability and alternative energy sources, the Madison-based group known as Natty Nation was right at home at Friday's Eco Fair.

While college students and community members explored the various booths - featuring displays from organizations such as WISPIRG, Society for Ecological Restoration, Stevens Point Co-op and Citizens Energy Cooperative - the members of Natty Nation filled the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus with their fusion of traditional roots reggae, rock, funk and dub.

"A lot of our songs relate to (environmental issues)," said Aaron Konkol, keyboardist and backing vocalist for Natty Nation. "Through our music, we spread our message. Not many voices are heard in today's corporate (world), and we try to counteract that."

Known for their socially conscious lyrics, the five-member group makes it a point to support local organizations and events through fund-raisers - last January's benefit concert for the Dane County chapter of Habitat for Human-ity raised $5,000 to help build affordable housing.

The group also volunteers its time at Madi-son's African American Ethnic Academy and participates in awareness-raising events such as Friday's Earth Day celebration, which marked the group's first show in at least two months, according to Konkol.

"The last few months have been busy - we've been in the studio constantly," Konkol said.

In addition to working on material for Natty Nation, the band also has been busy with another project known as dumate, which features socially conscious, educational hip-hop.

With the studio work behind them, the group plans to continue touring and looks forward to returning to Stevens Point.

"The fans here are awesome," said Konkol, who has roots in the Stevens Point area. "The vibe up here is great. The campus is a great place to play, and we're appreciative of all the fan support."

Since its formation in 1995, the group has produced eight albums - three studio-recorded and five live - including 2003's Inatty In Jah Music, which honored former member Jeffrey Maxwell, who succumbed to cancer in 2001.

After Maxwell's death, the group underwent a number of changes, said bassist and lead vocalist Demetrius Wainwright.

"With Maxwell, (the group was) more traditional sounding from an outsider's perspective," Wainwright said. "With me as the lead singer, the band is more modern, more hip-hop."


Natty Nation returns to Point

Central Wisconsin reggae fans have had a long love affair with the Madison-based band Natty Nation. From the late night gigs at Witz End to the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair, when Natty Nation performs, no one can resist the temptation to dance.
After a one-year hiatus to renew their energy, the band is back in fine form. They will return to Clark Pla - Peter Carriveau

"[full article] Concert Review: Local Reggae Favorites Lay it Down Rasta-Style"

Abysmal temperatures and snowy roads couldn’t even stop this show from happening. Madison’s Natty Nation, facing snowy, traffic-jammed roads, and fans, enduring sub-zero temperatures and even colder wind-chills, finally came together to bring some heat into the Encore in the University Center last Friday.

Starting right on schedule without much time for soundchecking, Natty tore through a 90-minute set of cut-and-dry original reggae tunes. Bassist and lead singer Demetrius “Jah Boogie” Wainwright held down the front of the stage, determining the pace of each tune not only with a bouncy bassline but also by shimmying creepily around the stage, like a cat stalking a bird in the distance.

That’s not to say that the rest of Natty is unpleasant to watch, though. All of the band members demonstrated a certain degree of animation while playing, especially Aaron Konkol on keys and Peter Johnston on drums and percussion. (To keep things fresh, Johnston and Pauly Willis switch off on drums and percussion halfway through the set.)

Although Natty’s blend of traditional reggae became a bit repetitive after an hour, their strongest musical moments rested in the hand of keyboardist Aaron Konkol. Combining sounds of non-traditional to reggae during extended solos transformed Natty’s music from reggae to a hybrid mixture of reggae, downtempo dub and a little bit of electronic craziness that really can’t be classified. These moments with Konkol’s extended solos were the best music that Natty played all night.

Natty Nation is a band that visits Point regularly and I’ve never walked out feeling like I’ve seen the same show twice. Although they hit a bit of repetition halfway through, it’s still hard not to dance when Natty’s on stage. - UW-Steven's Point Pointer

"The Vail Trail"

‘The sound the band travels so far and wide to showcase is a chunky, guitar-driven, rock steady roots reggae- unique in that, while carrying the one love sounds of Bob Marley and the beat of dancehall, manages to incorporate harder rock with an edge influenced by Jimi Hendrix.’ - Ed Lammon

"[full article] Five Good-Looking Guys Who Sure Can Boogie - NATTY NATION"

When formed:

1995, after founding member Wainwright & 2 others split from a more traditional group. "We wanted to do more rock, harder hitting, have a younger vibe."

Web site:

Most recent album:

"Inatty in Jah Music," finished in February and the first recording by the band since losing key member Jeffrey Maxwell to cancer in 2001.

They say they sound like:

"Let me think of something cool. Steel Pulse meets Hendrix."

We say they sound like:

Reggae for the 21st century.

Describe your look:

"Handsome. Five good-looking guys. We all got the rasta vibe."

Sell yourself in 20 words or less:

"We take people on a musical roller coaster, a peaceful roller coaster. It's reggae, but it's a lot more than that."

Favorite food on the road:

"Indian food. Tikka masala with lots of sides."

Unofficial band beverage:

"Bottled water. That's not that exciting. We also make our own smoothies."

What other band could you take in a fight?

"We take 'em all. Musically, that is. When the music hits, we don't feel no pain. We can box all day."

Worst gig:

"At Oh, Schucks in Salt Lake City, November 1998. We were our own soundman and there were peanut shells everywhere."

Weirdest fan encounter:

"The naked guy at Weedstock '97. He was just running around, naked. There was nothing that could be done about it."

Song you've written that you're most proud of:

"I don't know that I've written it yet."

Favorite cover song in your live show:

Black Uhuru's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." "But we use our own melodies and throw in our own words."

Biggest band achievement:

"Finishing this album. We hadn't released a studio album in five years, plus there were the circumstances, losing Jeffrey. It was definitely a hard experience to see someone you love suffer. But he was always positive and told us to keep going."

Why do you do this?

"It's a calling for all of us. We've been in music for most of our lives. It's natural."

Where do you want to be in five years?

"More national, more international. We're a little bit of both now, but we want more. And to be still playing."

What's the greatest song ever written?

"I don't know. Has it been written?"

Next gig:

CD release party at 10 March 14 at Onopa Brewing Company, 735 E. Center St., with DJ Selector Z. Cover is $8. - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"The Reader(Omaha, NE)"

‘If Hendrix met Marley they would sound like Natty Nation’--- - Rita Hamele

"Skank Productions(WDHX)"

‘Truly one of America’s best reggae bands….this quintet epitomizes roots rock reggae as they play conscious roots with a rock & roll edge’ - Professor Skank

"The Reader(Omaha, NE)"

‘If Hendrix met Marley they would sound like Natty Nation’--- - Rita Hamele

""Natty Nation is an airtight ensemble""

The Ames Scene: Natty Nation's Bob Marley Birthday Bash at DG's

The Wisconsin reggae band Natty Nation will be at DG's on Friday for a show celebrating the music and legacy of the great Bob Marley, who was born on Feb. 6, 1945.

Natty Nation is an airtight ensemble in its own right, often starting shows in roots mode and gradually introducing dub and dancehall elements as the show proceeds. You can expect a grateful crowd of Bob Marley singing along and getting loose on the dance floor. - Ames Tribune

"'Divine Spark' by Natty Nation debuts at #3 on the Billboard Reggae Chart"

Reggae has experienced a surge recently, and for reggae fans it's always nice to hear a new album that sounds like traditional reggae. That definitely describes Divine Spark by Natty Nation.

"Balance" is the first song on the album, and it is traditional not only in the sound but also in the theme. Jah Boogie sings about how we as humans need to balance the things in our lives - the low with the high, the dark with the light, etc. It seems like a particularly poignant message in this election year where balance has been hard to find. "Intimidation" is another song that seems appropriate for the presidential campaign. Boogie sings about someone with low self-esteem who's talking tough, but acting kind of silly. Ultimately, Boogie says, "We're not going to fight." Whether this song is about a specific bully or bullies in general, it hits the nail on the head.

As on a lot of reggae albums, there is an introspective quality throughout this album. You can hear it in "Meditation" in which sings about looking inward to rise above the challenges of life. "Purpose" is another introspective song. In this song, Boogie sings, "Tell me what you're living for...what's your purpose?" It's pretty fair to say that we've all been there at some point in our lives. And that's the thing about Natty Nation on this new album. The band has written songs that are both catchy and thought-provoking,

Divine Spark is not only available now from iNatty Records, but also it debuted this week at #3 on the Billboard Reggae Chart. After listening to it, it's easy to see why it debuted so strongly. If you're a fan of traditional reggae, this will be a great addition to your collection. - AXS

"Natty Nation - "Divine Spark""

“Divine Spark” marks the Madison, Wisconsin roots reggae bands’ fifth studio album. This time around they have legendary producer Errol Brown (Bob Marley, Burning Spear) to work his mixing magic on the album.

When one thinks of Madison, WI you usually wouldn’t think of it as a hot bed for reggae but Natty Nation has been proving skeptics wrong by showing that cheeseheads and ragamuffins can live in harmony. Recently celebrating their eleventh anniversary, 2016 has the band unleashing a modern roots reggae album that sounds as timeless as any reggae classic.

While a lot of the modern reggae movement focuses on dancehall, dub and freestyle there has been an uprising with a few newer bands as well as some well-established reggae artists to reintroduce the world to the traditional reggae sounds that brought the island sound global attention. “Divine Spark” is one of those type of albums that I’ve been hearing more often recently…it incorporates the early 70s sound and energy with pop sensibilities from the 80s era but with a touch of a modern edgier sound. Listening to a song like “Prophecy”, with is powerful driving bass and uplifting harmonies, is like a looking glass back into the heydays of reggae in Jamaica while a song such as “Negus Negast” brings the modern dancehall vibe of rapid DJ vocals over a simple reggae beat.

Madison, WI…Kingston, Jamaica…San Diego, CA…does the location ever really matter? No. No it doesn’t. Anyone listening to “Divine Spark” can appreciate the fact that it is an amazing reggae album no matter its place of origin. From start to finish it is an excellent homage to the traditional roots reggae sound but with enough modern flair to keep things interesting without losing that vibe.

Bottom Line: Some excellent roots reggae with a modern touch that will take you away to a relaxing spot on a secluded beach, even if they hail from the frozen tundra.
Notable Tracks: Balance, Prophecy, Divine Spark, Purpose, Civil Rights - Read Junk

"Roots rock reggae on Natty Nation’s Divine Spark"

Divine Spark is roots reggae in the early UK tradition, but with a contemporary flair.

Highlights include Prophecy, powered by strong backing vocals, the dreamy Meditation and the soulful title track. The U.S. reggae scene continues to grow and put forward talented acts. - Reggaemani

"Album premiere: Natty Nation “Divine Spark”"

The brand new album titled Divine Spark from Wisconsin based Natty Nation is a merging of styles; blending golden-era rock with funky reggae grooves, soul elements, and heavy guitar riffs. Natty Nation has developed a sound that is an audio representation of their deep spirituality.

A match that sounds as good on the final product as it does on paper, Natty Nation brings the musical strength associated with their epic live performances in their latest album. The opening track, “Balance,” hits big with funky riffs setting a nice tone for the next eleven tracks. Rumbling bass, gritty drum and guitar rhythms continue on “Meditation,” which also offers colorful and vibrant melodica accents woven through background vocals. Creative wordsmithing and catchy melodies are also in full force here, as expected by this point from Natty Nation.

Wailing guitar solos and smooth keys dominate the fourth track “Suffice”, which was actually released in 2010 as a single and was the first new track since the group’s highly acclaimed 2008 album, Reincarnation. Completing the album Divine Spark was a huge milestone for the band and is a result of six years in the making.

“This release is inspired by the physical and invisible forces of the divine within all mankind. The divine spark is the higher self within everyone,” explains frontman JAH Boogie. “I've learned that through raising your vibration, and opening your chakras, you are able to tap into your divine spark. Our music is for the mental, spiritual and physical expansion of the human family. We are spiritual individuals who express our spirituality through the frequencies and tones of the music that we play.”

Errol Brown who worked with Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and Burning Spear mixed the album on his makeshift studio he built in the back of Rebelution’s tour bus. At the time of mixing Divine Spark, Errol was working the live sound for Rebelution. He came into the picture after Aaron Konkol attended a Rebelution show, and discovered he was the engineer behind the band’s pristine live sound.

Natty Nations have it down. Their produced work is clean, undeniably exciting and textured with the band’s eclectic influences ranging from Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour, Earth Wind and Fire, Fishbone, and Bad Brains. The tracks off Divine Spark are raw and unapologetic, emphasizing their passion for playing great music. - Top Shelf Reggae


Live at the UW Terrace (2013)
Retrospective: 15 Years of Hard Roots Rock Reggae (2012)
Suffice Single (2010)
Reincarnation (2008)
LIVE in Eau Claire (2008)
Seth's Picks - Best of Live 2003 - 2006 (2007)
Live Fan Club Releases Vol. 1-5 (2004)
Inatty In Jah Music (2003)
Rasta Revolution E.P (2002)
Live 9.21.2000 (2001)
Live '99-'00 (2000)
Earth Citizen (1998)
The Journey Has Just Begun (1996)



Hard Roots Rock Reggae & Dub--this is the unique blend of music that is Natty Nation.

Since 1995 Natty Nation has been keeping the positive messages of their unique indigenous Wisconsin reggae beats throbbing through the heartland. Their messages of peace, love, community, & spreading positive vibrations have been ringing out since Natty's inception.

Natty has backed up reggae legends Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Chaka Demus & Pliers, and shared the stage with Ziggy, Damian, & Stephen Marley, Sister Carol, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear, Wailing Souls, Culture with Joseph Hill, Beenie Man, & countless others.

JAH Boogie and his backing band's tight but fluid, rootsy but funky, beautiful but gritty, righteous but real vibration is clear to anyone listening to their music, either at a show or on their stereo.

It's almost impossible not to dance at a Natty live performance. Every Natty Nation concert is a different experience. Their energy is infectious & their dubtastic jams are complex, yet their message is simple--spread the positive vibration.



Natty has received several awards & other accolades, including:

-27 Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs), including Performer of the Year (2009), Best World Artist (6 years in a row), World Album (4 years), World Song (4 years), Hip-hop Song, Male Vocalist, Keyboardist, Guitarist, Bassist, Ensemble Vocals, & more
-Broadjam's international song of the month "Cool & Proper"
-Selection for the highly sought after Armed Forces Entertainment tour of the Middle East, Africa, Japan, & the Marshall Islands playing for the troops
-Wisconsin Area Music Award (WAMI) for Reggae Artist of the Year, and several nominations for same
-Best World Artist or Group for five years of the Isthmus' Newspaper's readers poll

and many more

Natty Nation has experience playing festivals, events, and other venues from coast to coast & abroad, performing at hundreds of clubs, theaters, outdoor music festivals, & Military bases abroad, including Summerfest, SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon, Millenium Music Conference, Atlantis Music Conference, Wookiefoot's Harvestfest, Bob Marley Fest in Florida, Freakfest, Bella Tempo, Bella Mente, People Fest, Jammin On The Wolf, Subway's Music at the Zoo concert series, Habitat for Humanity's 100th House Celebration, & several others.

Natty Nation brings over 2 decades of performance experience, songs from a great original 60+ song catalog, and a loyal fan base, not to mention a huge email list & street team throughout the country & abroad.

Band Members