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Let the Sun Shine

Sol Horizon release new album with hometown show

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NEW HORIZONS  Sebastopol’s official reggae band rise to greater - musical heights with new album.
  • NEW HORIZONS Sebastopol’s official reggae band rise to greater musical heights with new album.

New Horizons Sebastopol's official reggae band rise to greater musical heights with new album.

For nearly two decades, Sebastopol's roots-reggae veterans Sol Horizon have represented their origins with a fusion of world beats and funky rhythms, as well as a commitment to environmental ethics.

This month, the group unveils its fourth album, Under the Sun, with a concert at HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Formed in 2000, Sol Horizon's current lineup developed six years ago. Fronted by vocalist Michael Litwin, the core of the group is guitarists Clayton Hunt and Alexei Brown, drummer Paul Spina, bassist Aron Parks, vocalist Julie Kenworthy and keyboardist (and part-time manager) Dan Swezey.

"The band definitely has deep roots in west Sonoma County," says Swezey. "I've only been in the band six years, but I've seen multiple generations of fans, parents and kids. There's a lot of history."

A regular winner of Best Reggae Band in the Bohemian's NorBay Awards, Sol Horizon is so beloved that Sebastopol's city council declared them the official reggae band of the town nearly a decade ago. "I don't think it's changed," laughs Swezey.

Philosophically, Sol Horizon is rooted in environmental conservation. Litwin works for Permaculture Artisans in Sebastopol. Swezey says that Litwin has attracted like-minded individuals to the band, like himself, a marine biologist at the Bodega Marine Laboratory. "The band has a sophisticated message of conservation and building community around a respect for nature," says Swezey.

The new material on the band's forthcoming album, Under the Sun, reflects that message in it's lyrics. Recorded at In the Pocket Studio in Forestville, Under the Sun was also engineered by Grammy winner Isha Erskine, whose list of credits include Ziggy Marley and Maroon 5.

Under the Sun makes its debut when Sol Horizon perform this weekend with longtime friends DJ CivilianSound and DJ Subtle Mind. "It's one for the hometown crowd," Swezey says. "It's going to be a great night of gratitude."

Sol Horizon plays Saturday, Oct. 14, HopMonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 9pm. $20. 707.829.7300.

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