WALLA WALLA -- If the appearance of five-time Grammy winning reggae star Ziggy Marley in Walla Walla seems about as likely as a palm tree growing in a wheat field, the joke is on you.
Ziggy Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, artist, activist and humanitarian, is clear there is no place he won't go to spread share his music and spread the message of freedom, hope and intemperate love.
"I want to go everywhere," Marley said in his strong Jamaican accent in a phone call. Walla Walla is no exception, he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Sandwiched between a performance in British Columbia on Friday and another at the Oregon Zoo amphitheater in Portland on Sunday, the artist who splits his residence between California, Jamaica and Florida, is promoting what had been described as his most personal solo project yet, "Wild and Free."
The opening title track is a song dedicated to support of California's Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana. The rock-fueled "anthem" features actor and friend Woody Harrelson as the two envision "hemp fields growing wild and free," according to a bio.
Though reserved in talking much about himself, Marley is spurred by the message but also careful to let each audience member take what they want from the music.
"Personal Revolution" is one of his favorite songs from the new album, Marley said.
Described as a self-empowerment song, the track is about being the change, he said.
"There's a lot of talk about revolution -- social, political. I think the personal revolution is a little more important. That revolution will be the change. Making peace on Earth."
Marley, 43, said he is inspired by nature, truth and spirituality.
"Human rights, justice, equality -- all of these philosophies give me a lot of thought when I put them into music," he explained.
The oldest son of the late Bob Marley, Ziggy began performing at a young age with his siblings as the Melody Makers.
He sat in as a child on the recording sessions for his father, who died in 1981 when Ziggy was 12.
Music is part of his bloodline, but not something to which he felt beholden.
"It's just something that came naturally without feeling the responsibility," he said. "We're a family of musicians."
What he hopes for the audience in Walla Walla this weekend: "People probably have a view of what the shows are going to be like," he said.
"The most important part of my music is the words. It's the people in the audience. They are listening to the words and hearing what I'm saying."
Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8321.