MP3 Jah Mex - Like A Lion
A conscious message to remind us all of our strength featuring legendary reggae musicians from the Soul Syndicate band, Fully Fullwood, Tony Chin, and Santa Davis.
1 MP3 Songs in this album (4:00) !
Related styles: Reggae: Roots Reggae, World: Reggae, Spiritual
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(Tom Orr, freelance reggae journalist) -- It doesn’t take long to latch onto the fact that Southern California’s Jah Mex is well on his way to becoming a significant force in reggae music. Such becomes evident almost immediately after the groove of “Conscious Revolution,” the leadoff track on his 2009 debut album Firm Soundation kicks in. A rootsy drum and bass riddim laced with Rhodes piano, subtly propulsive lead guitar and the patter of nyabinghi drumming rolls forth as Jah Mex lyrically urges the listener to “open up your mind, eyes, ears and heart.” That’s the very advice the singer/songwriter/keyboardist himself has obviously taken in his approach to reggae. He was, after all, undecided as to what his life’s work would be when during his college years he realized his musical abilities could very well get him places. And that they certainly did. Not only has Jah Mex played keyboards with such certified reggae legends as Marcia Griffiths, the Melodians, the Mighty Diamonds and Junior Reid, his services are much in demand among CA-based artists including Boom Shaka, Lesterfari and King’s Music and Upstream.
But it was after touring Europe, the United States and points beyond with noted reggae singjay Eek-A-Mouse that Mex decided to have a go at writing, playing and singing his own music. Though he credits “The Mouse” for inspiring him to take that leap, the Jah Mex sound itself draws upon a myriad of inspirations from reggae and beyond. Vocally, Mex combines the island cadences of a longtime rootsman with the heartfelt tones of many a soul-influenced Jamaican singer. Think Kiddus I mixed with John Holt, or perhaps Don Carlos sweetened by a dollop of Dennis Brown. It’s a voice made to ride arrangements that are unmistakably reggae, yet make space for tinges of jazz and funk (brought about in large measure by Mex’s deft, varied keyboard accents).
So far as lyrics go, the depth and empathy of sentiments expressed in such songs as “Free Up,” “Why” and “Blues in the News” eloquently address the ills of today’s world. And as much as it’s a given that the music will make your body move, words like “we can build a modern satellite / and send a rocket into flight / but when it comes to basic human rights / we are so behind the times” see to it that the listener’s mind gets some necessary stimulation as well. Even when taking on the lighter subject matter of physical attraction (“You Got My Eye”) and ganja (“Lamb’s Bread”), Mex does so from a point of view that’s never slack.
The potency of Jah Mex’s music and message led to his collaborating with some further esteemed company: bassist Fully Fullwood, guitarist Tony Chin and drummer Santa Davis, core members of Jamaica’s great Soul Syndicate band and now denizens of Southern California. Fullwood produced Firm Soundation, and all three Syndicateers played on “Dub You” and “Like a Lion,” a pair of tracks that will be included on the next Jah Mex album.
While it’s clear that Jah Mex has taken cues from the reggae masters of earlier times, he also draws much of his creative energy from the Pacific Ocean, looming ever vast and majestic alongside California’s coastal communities. He’s an avid surfer, a sideline not surprising for someone who likewise immerses himself in his earthy, organic approach to making music. “The more we are exposed to our modern technology,” he observes, “the less we are exposed to our ancient selves.” In keeping with that assertion, Mex has put his heart and soul into other pursuits including https://www.tradebit.com , an internet radio station he founded to bring the latest reggae to the masses worldwide, and the Deeper Education Tour, for the purpose of encouraging college students to be extra- curricular in seeking out where their true talents and passions are to be found.
The sum of Jah Mex’s strengths coalesces in his always-engaging live performances. Stepping out from behind the keyboards to get closer to the audience, adding some mystic melodica to dubwise instrumental passages, singing with fire-stoked conviction or easygoing charm, giving kudos to his band for their individual and collective expertise- Jah Mex does all that and more in an unpretentious style that brings the right vibe every time. He’s been doing so on the West Coast for a long while and plans to take his act East in 2011.
Here’s hoping that this committed, conscious reggae artist takes it much further. The Firm Soundation Jah Mex has laid down was clearly meant to last and to be built upon until the highest heights are reached.