Reggae Eclectic Band Dukes of Roots Collaborate With Three-Time GRAMMY Winner Darius Rucker to Tell the Story of John Punch


Dukes of Roots, the new movement that celebrates roots reggae music, has teamed up with multi-award-winning country music star Darius Rucker for their new single “John Punch,” available tomorrow, June 16, via all streaming platforms. The song explores the story of the first slave in the United States and the injustices he faced. It is the fourth single from their upcoming debut album, which is expected to be released in Fall 2023. Pre-save HERE.

The moving song narrates the life of John Punch, who was originally an indentured servant, but was sentenced to lifelong slavery in 1640 by Virginia Governor’s Council for attempting to escape Maryland with two other servants. A powerful and emotional expression of the history of slavery in America, the song serves as a tribute to the resilience and courage of John Punch and his descendants. The song also celebrates the diversity and complexity of American identity, and the possibility of overcoming oppression and injustice.

The band shared their inspiration behind “John Punch” in a statement:

“One day, during a break from recording, we started talking about how amazing it is that three people from different countries and cultures somehow found each other and decided to create new roots reggae music together. This conversation led to a deeper discussion about the emigration of Africans to The United States, most not by choice. It was this discussion that inspired us to write ‘John Punch.’ The song tells the story of the first slave in the United States, the passage, families in Africa and the injustice. Producer Sean ‘YoungPow’ Diedrick added authentic tribal drums, a wooden flute and other percussion instruments to complement the song. Lead vocalists Mermans Mosengo and Darius Rucker execute the vocals with the emotion this song deserves.”

This collaboration showcases a unique musical fusion of two amazing artists from two genres coming together to tell a story, which will resonate throughout the world. Both having admiration for each other’s work only made it easier to work together.

“I’ve always loved roots reggae music and I was honored when Dukes of Roots asked me to join them on this song. I was blown away by their talent and passion for telling stories through music. ‘John Punch’ is a powerful song that speaks to our history and our humanity. I’m proud to be a part of it,” expressed Darius Rucker.


The band consists of well-known musicians and artists from different backgrounds and generations. Mermans Mosengo, the lead singer, is from Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has performed all over the world with the arts organization Playing for Change and other bands. George “Fully” Fullwood, the bassist, is from Jamaica and is regarded as one of the most prolific bass players in the scene. He has worked with legends like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Toots Hibbert. Courtney Diedrick, the drummer, is also from Jamaica and is a Grammy-award winning musician. He has collaborated with Damian and Stephen Marley, Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, and many others. Sean “YoungPow” Diedrick, the producer, and keyboardist is also from Jamaica and is a two-time Grammy-award winning producer. He has produced for artists like Damian Marley, Stephen Marley, Sean Paul, Shaggy, and Popcaan. T Rod, the guitarist, also composes and writes lyrics for the band.


Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Double Diamond-certified (21x Platinum) debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time. Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart, including RIAA Platinum-certified Learn to Live and True Believers, plus 10 No. 1 singles at Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012 and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his Diamond-certified (11x Platinum) version of  “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time. He co-hosted the 54th annual CMA Awards in 2020 and topped the charts at Country radio once again with “Beers And Sunshine” in 2021. Rucker’s new single, “Fires Don’t Start Themselves” is available everywhere now as he puts the finishing touches on his forthcoming album, Carolyn’s Boy, and he is set to preview the new music this summer on his Starting Fires Tour.

For more information, visit and follow on social media @DariusRucker.

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