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Redemption song 

Heston makes his Bob Marley debut

When Heston discovers the film rights to Rita Marley's memoir, No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley, were recently acquired by the Weinstein Co. for a biopic scheduled to begin production next year, he lights up like a spliff.

"I wonder who's going to play Bob," he says. "You think one of the sons, maybe?"

Stephen or Rohan Marley certainly could pull off the epic role without breaking a sweat. Damian and Ky-mani, two other Marley sons, wouldn't be terrible choices, either. But considering the time and energy Heston has invested into a May 10 tribute concert for the legendary artist, it might not be a bad idea for him to try out himself.

The proud native of the island of Dominica calls Marley and Beres Hammond the biggest influences on the breezy, "singer/songwriter soul" he's showcased in Atlanta for several years. Heston will pair with soul vocalist Julie Dexter for the Marley tribute show. "I'm looking forward to it, man," he says. "We're both West Indian. It's something I've always wanted to do. We're scrapping both our bands [and] hiring a true reggae band. It's gonna be all Bob."

After that night of crooning and guitar plucking, Heston will return to the business of promoting Storyteller – his long-awaited independent debut that fans of Maxwell will crave the moment it's released in June. Blending crisp updates of his underground faves ("Radio," "Goodmorningamerica") with the kind of fresh, airy moments ("Distant Lover," "Feel Like Dancing") Sade could sway to, the CD is like that plate of ox tails and rice that takes 45 minutes to make: The moment it's in your face, you forget all about the drawn-out prep time.

"Music is my passion," says the eight-year Atlanta resident, who released his first EP in '05. "I love doing it. My favorite part is creating the music, producing it, writing it. I'm not a stage hog, but I'll definitely deliver when I'm on stage."

Hopefully the Weinsteins are watching.

Heston and Julie Dexter perform A Tribute to Bob, featuring music by Swatt Band. $12. Sat., May 10. 9 p.m. Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama St. 404-658-0068. www.sugarhillatl.com.

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