Origins is a recurring series giving artists a space to break down everything that went into their latest release. Today, Michael Goldwasser of Easy Star All-Stars digs into their cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.”
Reggae group Easy Star All-Stars have released a new cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” which features Alex Lifeson of the rock band Rush. The new single is part of their upcoming album, Ziggy Stardub, a reggae reinvention of Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars.
The mesmerizing rendition strips the gritty sound of the original, leaving a slick and sultry cover in its place. Lifeson closes out the track with an ethereal guitar solo, while Naomi Cowan’s vocals flow through the chilled track, blending his celestial guitar stylings seamlessly. Perfectly balancing an aura of psychedelic and reggae, the essence of Bowie’s classic sci-fi song finds a new purpose in this genre-crossing performance.
“It’s been one of my favorite Bowie songs since I was a teenager — I’m now a few years removed from that — so it was fun to reexamine and reinterpret it now,” Easy Star All-Stars co-founder Michael Goldwasser tells Consequence.
Lifeson reveals he already had admiration for Bowie going into the recording of the track. “Bowie was such an incredible artiste and the reggae concept for the project was an interesting approach,” he explains. “Naomi Cowan’s vocals were inspiring to track to and the arrangement was fun to play to, as it should be.”
Cowan adds, “I found it beautiful that we used the power of reggae music to give new life to these tracks. The character Ziggy Stardust represents freedom and we all know this is part of the mission of reggae — to unite the world through music. ‘Moonage Daydream’ directly introduces us to the Ziggy Stardust character, which is also why I chose this song — my last project Star Girl was similar in nature in that I envisioned her as a multi-genre musical superhero that existed in another realm/universe.”
Over the past two decades, Easy Stars All-Stars have made a name for themselves as one of the most powerful voices in reggae. The band have released several tribute albums in the past, including reggae renditions of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Radiohead’s OK Computer.
Ziggy Stardub is set to be released on April 21st via Easy Star Records; pre-orders are ongoing. The night before, Easy Star All-Stars will be performing an album release show at Sony Hall in New York City. The special April 20th performance will also showcase guests Sister Carol and the Cannabis Cup Band. Grab your tickets here.
Check out Easy Stars All-Stars’ “Moonage Daydream” below, followed by Goldwasser’s breakdown of the track’s Origins.