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Tuff Lion

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Reading the credits for much of the current roots reggae releases emanating from the U. S. Virgin Islands, one name recurs quite often and for good reason. In the hands of Tuff Lion rests probably the most significant reggae guitar voice being recorded today. On any of the current releases which he appears, you will find a very decidedly determined and “deadly stiff” rhythm guitar skank being fused in between the low bubble of the organ sound and the choppy piano chords. Check for that crystalline cutting sound that has a precise two beat rhythm to it. A closer listen will have you wondering if this sound is going to lace your eardrums with razor cuts. “That” is the guitar work of Tuff Lion. While much of the reggae being produced today is rather machine oriented and lacking the traditional rhythm guitar, the “Neo Classical Roots” movement of the Virgin Islands has insisted on maintaining that standard. Tuff Lion has proven the same commitment to the “vintage” sound of roots reggae in this modern era. - This is Trebuchet MS
What Tuff Lion describes as “the drive” force of his guitar technique is to simply play the instrument with a commanding control. “The timing sequence is everything”, he says, in describing how he is able to allow so much actual note content to be released from his guitar chords as opposed to simply muting all the strings and faking a hand movement. The opposite of this method is to lay upon the chords longer and to sustain the chord notes up to and beyond the piano chord lengths. Tuff Lion’s percussive strikes are precise and symbiotically synchronized to both the hi-hat cymbals and the piano.

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