Over the past three decades, Jamaican-born and raised but now UK-based reggae artist Don Hartley has been recording and performing his brand of conscious Jamaican music to the delight of roots reggae fans worldwide.
Notwithstanding, his first venture as an independent producer/artist in 1990 was a lovers rock single ‘That Lady’ on his own Rising Son label, recorded at Penthouse Studios in Jamaica. The track featured contributions from the likes of Obeah on bass & keyboards, Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace on drums, and Dean Fraser on saxophone. The engineer was Ruddy Thomas.
About two years after meeting up with Junior Dan, the well-known [Left Hand Bassie], at 12 Tribes where Don had become a member, they both ventured into producing a couple more tracks, but a series of unfortunate events put a stop to the project. Years later, they met up again in Manchester, England, and recorded some more tracks, but circumstances did not allow them to see the project through to completion.
Between 1997 and 2001, Don also worked with Manchester’s Nucleus Roots and featured on their first and follow-up compilation cd projects. He achieved notoriety as a serious contender in the dub arena.
His first two singles, Deep Roots and Run Come Quick, on the Nucleus Roots compilation cd album in 2000, became instant favorites, with Deep Roots becoming one of Jah Shaka’s and Abbashanti’s anthems. Follow-up tunes with Nucleus Roots like Irie Meditation and Step it up Rasta, and Deep Roots also appeared on Partial Records and Universal Egg labels, respectively.
Don’s spirituality has deeply influenced his music. Out of this background and after a seven-year break exploring the Orthodox Christian Faith, Don reemerged in 2012-13 as the Roots & Gospel Reggae Ambassador, intensifying the spiritual depth of his works as an independent once again while still collaborating with different producers. The first was an online collab with a Unidade MRT group as far away as Brazil. Although the group seems to have split up, the works remain posted on YouTube, a self-reflective number entitled, [Lord Help Me](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdV4TpXJ-fo)
Other producers that Don has worked with since then are the likes of Lewis Bennett Dub, Roll & Record out of Paris, Katy Selecta and I Love Sound, Fat Bird Recordings, and Apocalypse Dub Faction of MessenJah Music Sound System & Record Label.
Despite Jamaican musical styles coming and going, Don has remained true to his particular brand of conscious reggae that uplifts fans everywhere. His music is available on all digital platforms, including Bandcamp, where he hopes to return to releasing tunes on vinyl soon.