Most folks' first exposure to reggae came from Bob Marley.
In northeast Ohio, most folks' live exposure to reggae came from Carlos Jones.
Jones has been a leader in the Cleveland music scene, and the most visible champion of the rhythmic Jamaican music, for about 35 years.
He was a member of I-Tal, a Cleveland-based reggae band that toured regionally and packed venues in the late-'70s and early-'80s. In the mid-'80s, he became the frontman for First Light, an equally popular live act. And he now leads his Peace Love Unity Syndicate, more commonly referred to as the P.L.U.S. Band.
"I was still in First Light when I put this band together," Jones said. "(First Light) had a bit more rock in the reggae, very eclectic, more of a fusion. I felt the need to get back to the roots, the kind of reggae that had drawn me to I-tal."
Much of the music coming out of Jamaica today is more of a dancehall style, which has a faster beat, a more hip-hop style lyrical flow and less socially conscious lyrics. Jones said the P.L.U.S. Band hews closer to traditional reggae, and he believes the pendulum may be swinging back to that style.
If you go ...
WHO: Carlos Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Warren Community Amphitheatre, 303 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren
HOW MUCH: Free.
"I really have seen that there's been a movement back toward consciousness and positivity conveyed through the music," he said. "It might not be what's mostly promoted in the industry, but artists are trying to bring those elements back into the music, and the younger generation is picking up on that."
The style's broad appeal can be seen in the crowds that come to see the P.L.U.S. Band.
"We get quite a broad mix, from ages zero up to senior citizens," Jones said. "Black, white, Latino, it doesn't matter. Music is universal, the message is universally positive. People don't mind bringing their kids to our shows, when it's appropriate, to expose them to what we're offering ... Every color, every belief system is united under the umbrella of music."
While Jones has played throughout the area with his different bands, Friday's concert at the Warren Community Amphitheatre, presented by the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, may be his first performance in the city.
For those who may be seeing him for the first time, Jones said, "It's definitely gonna be a high-energy show. By that I don't mean pyrotechnics and a lot flash, but a spiritually uplifiting kind of energy and very positive. It's always focused on the positive message in the music."