HIGH COUNTRY — Rastacoustic is a band founded in the High Country, who continues to bring their Appalachian-Reggae sound to the community.
The band is comprised of Peter Brown who plays guitar, keyboard, and provides vocals, Justin Butler, who plays bass, and provides vocals, and Shawn Roberts, who plays drums, and percussion. The band is known for their Appalachian-reggae sound that is inspired by international and authentic roots of reggae combined with the natural, acoustic sound of classic Appalachian music.
Brown and Butler are the founders of both Rastacoustic and their record label, Boom One Records. They both attended Appalachian State University in the 1990s, explaining the experience fostered their love of reggae music, given the prevalence of reggae in the area at the time.
“I’ve got to live in a lot of places. I went to Los Angeles and a bunch of different states. I went to high school in Charlotte and came to Boone for school. In the late nineties it was just a very eclectic and diverse music scene that really drew a lot of people in,” Butler said. “When I first moved to Boone, there were already four established reggae groups that were performing and using Boone as a hub to go on tour throughout the Southeast, so there was already that community there that was easy to get plugged into, to kind of get your feet wet in the style of music and everything that was going on in that underground culture and boom during the time period.”
They had both been in bands before, making the decision relatively easy. In 2018, the band came together officially and began busking, using a suitcase as a drum and other makeshift instruments, thus making way for their name. They have been working together musically for around 20 years, and have had the option to tour both nationally and internationally. The band turned down the opportunity in order to stay in Boone with the community where they gained a love for reggae.
“I like in Rastacoustic that the goal’s not to blow up and be rich and famous or anything. It’s about us providing good entertainment and a safe place to expand people’s knowledge of the genre,” Brown said.
“The mountains are beautiful. Pete and I both went there to earn our education, educational degrees and music degrees, and we stuck around because of the beauty, because of the people (and) because of the openness to different thoughts in different cultures,” Butler said.
One of the passions of the band is performing at events in the area. Rastacoustic has been featured on PBS’s “North Carolina Weekend,” Valle Crucis Summer Concert Series, and the Jones House Summer Concert Series.
Rastacoustic has an upcoming event at Boone Saloon at 10 p.m. on February 2. The concert will serve as an event to honor the birthday of reggae legend and pioneer Bob Marley.
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Thanks to modern technologies, you and more people are reading the Watauga Democrat than ever before. Freedom of the press is essential to preserving democracy: But a free press isn't free. It takes significant resources for Mountain Times Publications' 8 full-time journalists and editors to provide credible, fact-based and ethical journalism in the High Country. So, we are asking you to join our advertisers and print subscribers in supporting local journalism with your dollar. Your financial support will help sustain these services that you use to inform your decisions and engage with your community.
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