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Two different vibes, two different nights: Rick Springfield, Stephen Marley to headline concerts at Northern Quest

March 15, 2019

Take a peek at Northern Quest Resort and Casino’s upcoming events calendar and you’ll see just how diverse music tastes are here in the Inland Northwest.

On Tuesday, singer/actor Rick Springfield will perform.

Anyone who only knows Springfield for his string of hits in the ’80s is bound to be at least a little surprised when listening to his latest album, “The Snake King.”

For one thing, Springfield has taken a bluesy turn on the album.

Springfield, known for pop-rock hits like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Speak to the Sky,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Affair of the Heart,” “I’ve Done Everything for You” and “Love Somebody,” grew up listening to blues music.

He got his first taste of the blues from British Invasion bands like the Rolling Stones. From there, Springfield started digging and began listening to the blues artists whose music hadn’t made it to his native Australia.

When speaking to Billboard last year, Springfield rattled off a list of blues artists he admired: Lightnin’ Hopkins, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters.

It was also through these blues artists that he began to learn the guitar.

“I got into it early and it’s been kind of my fall-back music,” Springfield said.

For another, the songs on “The Snake King” are, lyrically, decidedly darker than those of his chart toppers, dealing with touchy subjects like religion and politics.

“I can beat you black and blue/But God don’t care about you,” Springfield sings on “God Don’t Care.”

“Oh, every night you pray or it is wishing?/Cause you’re in no position to ask for anything,” he sings in “In the Land of the Blind.”

And then there’s “Suicide Manifesto.”

“It’s probably one of the darker things on the album, but it’s true. It’s all stuff I felt,” Springfield told Billboard. “Something just kicks in and I tend to crash and burn sometimes. Most of the time I (pull out of it) just looking at my life and being thankful for my family and all that kind of stuff. The only person who can really understand it is someone who suffers from it.”

During his show at Northern Quest, Springfield will balance the heaviness of songs from “The Snake King” with lighter tunes from his discography.

And for his upcoming 17th album, Springfield will switch things up yet again.

“Orchestrating My Life,” which will be released on April 26, features orchestral versions of Springfield’s most popular hits plus a new song called “Irreplaceable,” which is dedicated to his mother, who passed away in 2016.

On Thursday, musician/producer Stephen Marley will take the stage.

Marley didn’t need to put much thought into whether he’d follow his famous father’s path; it was practically decided for him.

“I am a sheep of that pasture. I am a seed of that fruit,” he said in a 2016 interview with Damien Willis. “I don’t go about thinking of it like that. I just be. Everything is covered, because I am a sheep from that pasture. I am of this legacy. It’s not a conscious decision; an apple will be an apple.”

Marley’s music career began at the age of 7 when he joined the Melody Makers, a band that also featured his older siblings.

The band eventually changed its name to Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers and would go on to win three Grammys for best reggae album, from seven nominations.

As an adult, Marley took on a more behind-the-scenes role as a producer, working on several albums for his siblings as well as artists like the Fugees, Capleton and Inner Circle.

His work on his brother Damian’s “Halfway Tree” and “Welcome to Jamrock” would earn Marley another two Grammys for best reggae album.

In 2007, Marley made his solo debut with the release of “Mind Control.” “Mind Control Acoustic” followed the next year.

Both albums would go on to win Grammys for best reggae album, as would his third solo release “Revelation Pt. 1 - The Root of Life.”

In 2016, Marley released “Revelation Pt. 2 - The Fruit of Life.”

“ ‘The Fruit’ is about the different branches; there are many pages within my mind, many colors and ideas,” Marley said on his website. “We come from a versatile generation that can’t be put in a box.”

The album features the likes of Kardinal Official, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, Black Thought, Pitbull and Rick Ross.

Marley also tapped siblings Ky-mani and Damian for features on “The Fruit of Life.”

While working on music of his own, Marley is nurturing the next generation of his family’s musical legacy. His son Joseph released an EP called “Comfortable” in 2014 and daughter Mystic released her debut single “Beatdown” in 2018.

Mystic will join her father at this show, part of the “Acoustic Jams” tour.