When he arrived here from Jamaica in 1987 at age 19, Lynval Jackson knew so little about Minnesota he thought it would "be just a little colder" than back home.

He made the move in January, by the way.

"I didn't have a proper coat or anything," he sheepishly remembered. "I learned the hard way."

Since thawing himself out that first year, Jackson spent the next 3½ decades warming up other Minnesotans. He's doing an especially good job of it this winter.

His mainstay group, the International Reggae All-Stars, will once again lead the Cabooze's "Bob Marley Remembered" shows on Friday and Saturday, as they've done every February since 1993.

Timed to the Jamaican icon's birthday, these shows are typical of the good vibes that Jackson and his band have been generating every week since COVID restrictions first began to ease.

The truly international band settled into a new weekly gig last summer at Bunker's in downtown Minneapolis. Their Tuesday night shows have been a hit even amid the ups and downs for live music.

"People really wanted a night like this, especially after COVID," Jackson said on a recent night off. "They know they can come down every week, hear some reggae. They can dance and feel good.

"After two years without live music, it feels good to us in the band, too."

Another reason for the shows' popularity, Jackson theorized: Over four decades, Bunker's has gone from an outpost on the edge of downtown to being in the heart of the trendy, condo-lined North Loop.

"We get people who are just out walking their neighborhood, and heard the music coming out of the place and were drawn in," he said.

It was easy to feel that pull on a Tuesday night at Bunker's right before COVID's omicron wave hit. A couple hundred people came in from the cold and filled up the booths and dance floor.

Starting punctually right around 9:30 p.m., the quintet played nonstop for 90 minutes before finally taking a break to do another 90.

Much like the playlist Jackson curates every week on his Saturday afternoon KFAI-FM radio show "Caribbean Jam" — another gig he's kept up for three decades — the song selection in the first set was deeper and more diverse than a typical reggae overview in Minnesota.

Among the songs: Inner Circle's '90s hit "Sweat;" reggae-revised Minnesota classics by Dylan ("Knockin' on Heaven's Door") and Prince ("Do Me, Baby"); two songs by Beres Hammond, who's a favorite of Jackson's; and actually just one Bob Marley song, a relatively deep cut ("Iron Lion Zion").

"We try not to overplay [Marley] songs" at the weekly gigs, Jackson explained, citing a need to "keep the shows fresh."

Still, he added, "It never gets old playing Bob Marley. Those songs are timeless."

Blue Mountains, blue collar

At 54, Jackson himself defies the stereotypes of a reggae singer from Jamaica. There's no gregarious "yah mon" stage banter. No dreadlocks sticking out of his Kangol ballcap. No smoke breaks of the Jamaican variety.

In fact, there's a lot of Minnesotaness in this Jamaican. He's no-nonsense, somewhat reserved, hardworking. He gets the job done week in, week out, year after year no matter the chaos around him.

This workingman's approach to reggae music comes in addition to his day job managing bus routes for Minneapolis Public Schools (also a demanding gig of late). He's also a father to an adult daughter and high-schooler son.

"Folks are initially a little taken aback when they see him fronting a reggae band," concert promoter and booking agent Jeff Taube said of Jackson.

Taube's company MidAmerica Talent produces the Cabooze's Marley tributes. Before the first of those tributes 29 years ago, he seriously wondered if people would buy a Marley concert led by a singer without dreads.

"Of course, it was a silly concern, but at the time I just wasn't sure how it would come off. Once people hear Lynval sing, they kind of forget everything else."

His deep, sturdy but tender and soulful singing earned him the nickname "Golden Voice," which has appeared on fliers for Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye tributes in addition to the Marley shows. He was as influenced by classic American R&B singers as he was the great Rastafarian while growing up in Jamaica.

His family hails from Westmoreland Parish, near the city of Negril on the westernmost side of the island. His dad was a sugar farmer, his mom a seamstress — a blue-collar background not unlike that of the many Minnesotans he sings for nowadays.

His first singing gig was in church at age 5. He was the sixth of seven siblings, counting his younger brother Devon "Prince Jabba" Jackson, who followed him to Minnesota and now sings with another Twin Cities reggae band, the Socaholix.

Lynval relocated to Minneapolis to go to school and "take advantage of opportunities that were scarce in Jamaica," he said. He quickly fell in with what was then a vibrant reggae music scene in the Twin Cities with groups like Shangoya, Ipso Facto and the Maroons.

He got his start in a few short-lived bands including World Citizens, in which he worked with current All-Stars guitarist Tenn "Jah-Bee" Bennett. The Minneapolis Reggae All-Stars grew out of the first Marley tribute shows. They renamed themselves "International" a few years later when they started touring outside Minnesota.

Bennett, too, is from Jamaica, while other members hail from Liberia (bassist Saye "Bingo" Kpolar), Venezuela (co-founding drummer Brian Alexis) and the Virgin Islands (keyboardist Charles "Chilly" Petrus).

"It felt good coming here and seeing there was already a community here, seeing how much our culture was influencing other cultures," Jackson remembered of their early years. "I was proud to be Jamaican."

While he looks back fondly on that era, Jackson said he feels good about reggae's future. He's even hoping to finally record an album of original tunes soon, something the All-Stars have never done.

Thanks to reggaeton music and other ways hip-hop artists have co-opted Caribbean sounds in recent years, he's been seeing more and more fans born a decade or two after Bob Marley's 1981 death. That includes the sometimes youthful crowds that come out to their frequent weekend gigs at Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar in south Minneapolis.

Just as vital, Jackson believes reggae music also fits with what's going on socially in the United States. This was the one part of the interview when the stoic singer got a bit emotional and animated.

Citing the trove of Marley tunes he will sing at the Cabooze this weekend — he figures he knows about 90% of the legend's canon — he said, "They need to be sung in 2022.

"He's singing about love, peace, hope, justice, things we're still trying to achieve. That's all as relevant today as ever. And it's as relevant in Minnesota as Jamaica."

International Reggae All-Stars

Bob Marley Remembered: 9 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Cabooze, 917 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., $20, ticketweb.com

Every Tuesday: 9 p.m., Bunker's, 761 Washington Av. N., Mpls., $8, bunkersmusic.com