Keith Okie & Rebel Sol bill themselves as “Soul Reggae Rockers,” a title that perfectly describes this emerging force on the southwestern music scene. Irresistible dance grooves blend with heart-based lyrics in an outrageously energetic live show that is packing dance floors and venues from Colorado to Mexico. Their catchy melodic catalog of original tunes (penned by lead singer/guitarist Okie) has audiences singing along with their hook-and-harmony based “songs of life, love, fear, and hope” from the very first hearing – and for days afterward.
A California native, Keith Okie spent years touring the Pacific Northwest with the funk- and jam-based “Dukes of Ted” before settling first in Boulder, then in Arizona. Here, he returned to his musical roots, blending influences from Bob Marley and Clinton Fearon to Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. His music has been licensed by major Hollywood studios for use in television and film. Keith credits his eclectic spirituality and love for his wife and baby son with inspiring the best of his songs.
His band, Rebel Sol, has a rock-solid core that features complex rhythms (drummer Ben Keller plays brilliantly off conga/percussionist Tory Campbell), bass that can both pound and soar (bassist Jason Teague) and blazing keyboard work that checks all the boxes for the genre (piano/organist Phil Gornick). Frequent guests sit in with the band adding brass and African drums along with exceptional vocal harmonies. Their live shows have extra added anticipation as their rabid and growing fan base wonders, “Who else is going to show up tonight?”
One can’t help but think that it’s only a matter of time until this infectious outfit is performing in national festivals and sold-out theaters (they are already booked to open this year’s inaugural Rosarito Reggae Festival in Baja California). Catch them up-close and personal while you still can, so you can someday be among those who can say, “I heard them first.”