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Still Jammin' - The Wailers are comin' to town!

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'One good thing about music - when it hits you feel no pain' Bob Marley, 'Trenchtown Rock' (1973)

'I feel that if you come to the show, you should leave inspired to become part of the solution.' Dwayne 'Danglin' Anglin current lead vocalist for The Wailers

Preserving and keeping alive the musical legacy of Bob Marley, The Wailers are set to fill the Collins Center for the Arts with their rhythm, grooves and message, on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.

Anchored by Marley's longtime bassist, music director and most trusted First Lieutenant, Aston 'Family Man' Barrett and fronted by 32-year-old Jamaican native Dwayne 'Danglin' Anglin, The Wailers promise to challenge Maine's February frost with the warmth of the island, while giving their audience the most authentic live celebration of Marley's music available.

Formed in Jamaica in 1963, Bob Marley and the Wailers became the most successful and recognized band in reggae. Synthesizing carefully constructed music with timeless lyrics of tolerance, peace, justice and salvation through love, Marley and his band became reggae's standard-bearers.

Thirty-five years after Marley's death from cancer at the age of 36, his legacy has grown exponentially.

Since 2010, Dwayne 'Danglin' Anglin (the nickname being an amalgam of his first initial and last name) has been singing Bob Marley's songs for The Wailers songs he has known for as long as he can remember.

'Bob Marley and The Wailers are part of our upbringing in Jamaica,' Anglin told me in a phone interview last week, during a Wailers tour stop in Port Chester, New York. 'That music is embedded in our DNA because of the influence of the music and the importance of the movement.'

While growing up in Jamaica, Anglin knew all about Bob Marley and the Wailers, but assumed that Marley's popularity was locally contained. It was only when he left Jamaica and attended high school in New Jersey that he became aware of Marley's status as a global cultural icon.

Following the events of 9/11, Anglin spent four years in the US Navy working in missile defense operations before pursuing a master's degree in criminology. In his spare time, he wrote and recorded songs.

'Music just came and never went away,' Anglin explains. 'By the time I got my bachelor's degree, I had already made up my mind that music was my thing. Still I went to school [for a master's] because I wanted to set an example for my daughter to show her that you can be a musician and do other things in life, but it's always important to be educated. Because then you are always in a position to win.'

When a Jamaican hit single under Anglin's name, 'Excuse Me, Miss,' caught the ear of Aston 'Family Man' Barrett, the young singer, whose voice and style had frequently been compared to Bob Marley's even in Jamaica was courted to assume the front-man position for The Wailers.

'After I spoke with 'Family Man,' I realized what this opportunity meant,' Anglin says. 'It is truly an honor and privilege to sing for this band.'

'There is a responsibility to be sincere in my approach with the music,' he continues. 'It's how you deliver the music, how you appreciate the music. This music is not just entertainment. The music of Bob Marley is to inspire you and educate you. Part of my job is to give people guidance. It is a great responsibility to know that people depend on you and your energy to convey such an important message.'

When I ask Anglin about the importance of Barrett's continuing stewardship of The Wailers, there is an awe is his voice when he speaks of the man who was Bob Marley's musical partner beginning in the late '60s and continuing through the end of Marley's life.

'He was the band leader when Mr. Marley was alive,' Anglin says. 'That in itself shows you how much confidence Bob himself put in Family Man' and in his ability to lead the band and orchestrate the music. He has been touring for over 40 years. Truly an astounding accomplishment - especially at the rate that we tour - but there is such a demand for this band. That schedule can be tough. He is devoted to the mission and his devotion keeps us and the fans committed and devoted.'

With The Wailers' tour schedule exceeding 200 performances each year, free time is a precious commodity for Anglin and his band-mates.

'During my time away from The Wailers, I try to create a balance by being with my family while still working on my solo material,' he says of an album he's been working on for two years and hopes to release by the end of 2016.

'With the schedule of The Wailers, time is spread thin, but we accept that from the beginning,' he continues. 'You can either be a successful musician who is never around or a starving musician who is around too much. I try to balance it as much as possible, but there is really no time off from music. The music is very selfish. It demands all of your time.'

With that intense tour schedule taking them around the world (during February and part of March, they blanket Canada before moving on to Australia and New Zealand), Anglin says the members of The Wailers enjoy visiting and sampling local cultures. But they never lose sight of their mission to deliver a performance each night that would make Bob Marley proud.

'Every region has something special,' Anglin says when asked to cite a city or performance that exceeded even the band's expectations. 'Every nation has something else to offer. Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean - it's all different, but it's all special.'

'In six years, I've done close to 1,300 shows with The Wailers. One that really stands out is Shillong, India [The Wailers played in India for the first time last October]. Just getting the opportunity to spend a few days there before we actually performed was special, experiencing the culture and the people. At the concert, there were about 10,000 people, which was the biggest crowd they had ever had in that region. It was raining before we got onstage, and nobody left. It was truly a spiritual performance. I think they needed more than I had ever seen an audience need. Our commitment as a band was at maximum capacity because we knew how important this concert was to those people.'

When The Wailers play the Collins Center for the Arts, at the University of Maine, on Feb. 21, what is it that Anglin would like the audience to take from the experience?

'I truly feel that if you come to the show, you should leave inspired to become part of the solution. The mission is to convert or to sway and to convince people to do better. Not just better in their own lifestyle, but to help those around them as well. Hold your friends and family accountable for their actions. Be intolerant of racism. We expect people to come out and have a good time. But don't lose focus of what the mission is truly about. And that is about becoming part of the solution.'

Tickets for The Wailers' performance at Collins Center for the Arts on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. are available, by calling 800-622-TIXX or 581-1755. $23 orchestra/$18 balcony/$10 UMaine students (Prices include all fees)

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.7 (Bangor/Belfast), 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor/Ellsworth).


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