Jesse Wagner grew up in a musical family. Both his father and uncle played in soul bands during the ’60s, performing Stax and Motown standards, which became the music of Wagner’s youth. When he was a teenager, looking for modern music and his own identity, he still longed to hear horns and gravitated to ska. From there, it was only a matter of time before he discovered reggae.
“When I was a kid, I got way into ska, but I thought ska was all about skanking it up, getting in the pit, and wearing checkered socks,” he says.