I live in New Zealand, it’s a small place in the bottom of the pacific that is a melting pot of great music.
One of the things that works the best with the pacific musical blend is Dub and Reggae vibes, with bands like The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Salmonella Dub and Fat Freddys Drop pushing the boundaries. So its fair to say I know what great reggae, dub and roots sound like.
So I was excited when I heard the vibes around the group Tasman Jude, a reggae based group made up of Bravehart (from Trinidad & Tobago) & Al Peterson (From Canada) an unusual combination on paper if you look at just the countries of origin you would have to admit – however what I heard was something fresh, and I liked it.
‘El Norteno’ starts off with an acoustic reggae based groove that reminded me of Jack Johnson, until the vocal came in with a Matisyahu type of flow and sets the rest of the album up with the track ‘Fountains’… it was great to hear people taking reggae back to it’s roots more.
I loved seeing pictures of Bob Marley early in his recording career with an acoustic guitar surround by his band all circled around one mic. That to me symbolizes the essence of great reggae music.
Our radio-waves are filled with over produced reggae with hundreds of dubbed over tracks and beats and while they might be what people are calling for it takes away the innocence that reggae resembles… rebels with peace and love and truth in their voices with the promise of a new revolution based on these things.
‘El Norteno’ is filled with this vibe. Tasman Jude are cutting across the grain to give you something that others aren’t giving you… reggae with heart.
‘Take You Away’ is the perfect example of great acoustic grooves with a reggae vibe that Tasman Jude lay before you… it’s the way Canada and Trinidad & Tobago work together… great catchy melody’s and sunny island attitude that’s relaxed and feelin’ great.
It’s the essence of this combination that makes Tasman Jude’s sound work so well.
The track ‘Whoa’ is certainly the standout track on this album, and starts to push Tasman Jude’s sound to a place that becomes a bit more raw, and gives a really good example of how the band would sound live. It almost brings some harder elements into the sound reminiscent of groups like Sublime.
An album with more tracks would hopefully highlight some more of these sounds, as it’s a fine balance with Tasman Jude’s type of sound between too much of the same and trying to fit too much in which can make the sound seem cluttered.
I love how this album is raw, not over produced and highlights the basics of what this group represents, great melody, a fresh relaxed vibe and clean sounds.
This is the best of what acoustic sounds are on the radio at the moment…
Its great to hear bands not just bragging about going back to their roots… but actually doing it.