This year, Brandon Ross, Melvin Gibbs and JT Lewis mark their 20th year as Harriet Tubman. And today, they release their fifth studio album, The Terror End of Beauty.
Harriet Tubman draw upon rock, jazz, blues, soul, reggae, and more, but ultimately reject the pigeonholes of genre: Gibbs told Rolling Stone that he’s taken to calling their music ‘GBM,’ or ‘Great Black Music.’
Their songs, explosive and explorative, are inspired by myriad experiences, from Gibbs’ Gullah/Geechee heritage in “Farther Unknown” to a prehistoric fungus for “Prototaxite.” Also on the ten-track album is a cover—and attempt to reclaim—Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Harriet Tubman are more than qualified for the task: Gibbs, who plays bass, opened for Ziggy Marley in 1991 with his previous band Eye & I, as RS notes.
The album was named for a quote by guitarist Sonny Sharrock: “I’ve been trying to find a way for the terror and the beauty to live together in one song. I know it’s possible.” Harriet Tubman’s take on those concepts, though, is a little different: “Our adaption of his iconic quote reflects our view of the journey to freedom—at some point you have to face the terror to get to the beauty,” Gibbs told RS.
Stream The Terror End of Beauty below: