Between its sunny lyrics and its laidback reggae lilt, Love Eternal’s music sounds like the work of folks who lead lives of nonstop joy. Not so, according to vocalist/guitarist Jahred Namaste.
“A lot of these songs, when I’m writing, ‘Everything is great; life is wonderful,’ that might not be what I’m feeling at that moment,” the musician admits. “What I’ve learned is that if I’m feeling like life is horrible, and I start singing about how life is horrible, life does not get better that way.” Thus, he writes songs that lift the spirit.Love Eternal’s latest shot of positivity is All That I Got, a 14-track album of original material that includes a guest spot from reggae legend Pato Banton on the song “More Love.” Following the release of the album on January 1st, the band will embark on a tour of Hawaii, which has been the home of the group since Jahred and vocalist/percussionist Shawna Namaste moved from the Santa Cruz Mountains in the fall of 2013.
Jahred and Shawna met at Saturn Café the day before New Year’s Eve 1999. They got married at Soquel’s Inner Light Ministries on 11/11/11 and had their honeymoon on the Big Island. Of their move to Hawaii a couple of years later, Jahred explains, “It just became obvious: I would try to rent a house in Santa Cruz and have no luck at all, and then I’d email somebody in Hawaii, and they’d say, ‘Oh, yeah! That sounds great.’”
Namaste, the founder of the Santa Cruz Rejuvenation Festival, says residents of Hawaii tend to have a different view of musicians than the inhabitants of his former home do. “In Santa Cruz, when you say you’re a musician, they say, ‘Oh, yeah, and what do you do for a job?’ or, ‘How’s that going for you?’” he notes. “It’s almost like you have to make it big, or you don’t really count.’ Here, it’s: ‘Oh, you’re a musician! Cool. What do you play?’”About half a year after the Namastes relocated to Hawaii, Love Eternal’s lead guitarist, Ray Sunshine, moved to the area with his wife and children. The day after they arrived, the Big Island was hit by Hurricane Iselle, the strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall in that region. The hurricane caused a two-week power outage at the Namaste residence where Sunshine and family were staying. “There were National Guard guys in big HUMMER trucks driving up and down the street all day, a lot of looting and stuff like that,” Jahred recalls.
Almost immediately after the power came back on, the Love Eternal clan faced a new danger: a volcanic eruption threatened to devastate the town. Fortunately, tragedy never struck, and the event inspired a new tune by the name of “Go with da Flow.”
Along with Jahred, Shawna and Ray, the current Love Eternal lineup features bassist Ryan Ande, percussionist Dove Abrams and drummer Salvador Hernandez. Surprisingly, the last of these musicians also plays in a heavy metal band. “He can play full-force, but he knows how to sit back into a groove and make the changes: play the sidestick, play the ride, switch between the open snare and hi-hat, whatever,” Jahred says.
All That I Got is the first recording to showcase the new Love Eternal lineup. The album’s reggae/soul/rock style is influenced by the likes of Nahko and Medicine for the People and Michael Franti and Spearhead circa Yell Fire! “That kind of mix—that’s what we’re going for: some really hard-hitting stuff, but still having some heartfelt, softer stuff as well,” Namaste offers.
And, of course, the album offers plenty of upbeat messages and musical affirmations. Namaste says this kind of songwriting has been successful in helping him convert negative emotions to positive ones. “It’s kept me going this far!” he notes.
Love Eternal: loveeternal.org