Don’t be deceived by Beres Hammond’s cool profile. The playful smile, the unassuming demeanor, the beard and the cap and the spectacles might lull you into forgetting that you’re in the presence of an awesome musical talent, Jamaica’s greatest practicing singer/songwriter. Beres remains cool, though he knows that he’s one of a handful of people responsible for maintaining a mighty legacy of soulful reggae music—a select group of artists like Toots and Gregory, like Dennis and Bob. “Father bless me with a song,” he pleads on the last cut of his latest album, Music Is Life, “to make the whole world sing along. Regardless of the race, regardless of the taste.” In the year 2001, the blessings just keep coming, and the world is just starting to catch on.

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