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Roots of a Rebellion to Release Third Studio Album

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Nashville-based 6-piece Roots of a Rebellion recently launched a PledgeMusic campaign to support their next studio album. ROAR have once again teamed up with producer Craig Welsch (John Brown’s Body, The Avett Brothers, State Radio) to bring their 3rd full-length album to life. This spring, the band also plans to drop a live album from their performance last summer at legendary Nashville venue Exit/In.

Roots of a Rebellion have crafted over a dozen unique packages and experiences to reward fans interested in supporting their upcoming project. Just a few weeks since the campaign launched, the band has already reached 25% of their goal. According to lead singer Austin Smith, the band has roughly 30 songs written, and they’re ready to record the best of the bunch with Craig Welsch at Rear Window Studio in Brookline, MA. Roots-of-A-Rebellion-2018-Press-Image

The live album, expected out in the coming months, is also coupled with a high-quality video of the performance. Many of the PledgeMusic packages will include the audio and video for the upcoming live album, and upon release ROAR plans to put the album on digital platforms such as Spotify and YouTube as well.

Roots of a Rebellion are looking to jump off the success of their 2016 album A Brother’s Instinct, which debuted at #4 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. Since first forming out of Nashville’s esteemed Belmont University, ROAR have gone on to play alongside top acts such as 311, Rebelution, and Slightly Stoopid, as well as at major festivals like Bonnaroo and Hangout Festival. ROAR consists of Austin Smith (guitar/lead vocals), Marco Martinez (lead guitar/harmonica), Jeremyck Smith (keys/vocals), Justin Smith (trumpet), Adam Quellhorst (bass/vocals), and Troy Wiggins (drums).

Speaking on their big plans for 2018, Austin Smith says, “We’ve got some great music planned for this year that we’re excited about. Fans may recognize a couple songs from our recent shows, but most of the songs have never been heard outside of the band!”

Check out the link posted below if you’d like to learn more about Roots of a Rebellion’s PledgeMusic campaign in support of their forthcoming studio album. You can also catch the boys on the road as they bring their Nashville-branded reggae around the US this winter and spring.

Related Links:
ROAR PledgeMusic Campaign
ROAR Official Website
ROAR Facebook

Article By: Brian Winters

Watch: New Album + Pledge Music Campaign!

Watch: Roots of a Rebellion – “No Control”

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 18th, 2018 at 12:23 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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Video: Koffee – “Burning”

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Having just turned 18-years-old on February 16th, Jamaica’s new rising star, Koffee, released her debut single, “Burning,” this past October. Koffee might be the youngest artist we’ve ever covered and the first in quite sometime that we can confidently say is the next household name representing a new generation of reggae roots and culture. Read more about her by clicking HERE! Enjoy the song and video…

This entry was posted on Friday, February 16th, 2018 at 5:10 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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Behind The Beat: Understanding Ethan Tucker

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In May of 2015, Olympia, WA’s singer-songwriter Ethan Tucker released his last studio album Misunderstood, a 14-track record produced by Beastie Boy’s Mario C., featuring a guest appearance by Michael Franti.

Ethan first showed up on our radar back in October of 2009 when we published a live video of him performing “Morning Time.” The video was captured by Josh Heinrichs, whom Ethan was sharing the stage with that night. It turns out, that published video was the first time Ethan Tucker’s music had been documented by a media source. In November of 2010 he released his debut album, Lost Between.

We drove out to meet with the Olympia, WA native in his hometown to get a better understanding of who Ethan Tucker is. We came to learn that he’s a self-taught vocalist and musician. Through his own passion, charisma and persistence, he created opportunities for himself that included working with Michael Franti, be-friending actor/comedian Craig Robinson, being featured on NBC’s The Voice as well as being picked up by Silverback Music Management that has lead to collaborative affairs with Slightly Stoopid.

Tucker even released a hometown beer called Cool Kids Kulsch with O Town Brewing. Tucker describes the beer as “Not quite a lager, but a light beer with a hint of citrus. Like a less thick version of a Blue Moon.” It’s only available in the summer in his hometown. No matter where his music or fame may take him, Olympia, WA will always remain his home.

Understanding Ethan Tucker: Calling Olympia, WA Home

Ethan was born in Olympia as a baby before moving to Montana. When his parents divorced, his mom moved to Sun Valley, ID and his dad moved back to Olympia, WA. So growing up, Ethan would spend the summers in Olympia while going to school in Idaho. Sun Valley is a small town of a few thousand people that isn’t uncommon to visitors such as Bruce Willis to Lebron James. But if there was anywhere in the world that Ethan would call home, it would be Olympia, WA. EthanTucker_OlyWa_EricSchoep

He tells The Pier: “Olympia, WA to me is the epicenter of the Pacific Northwest. Oly is the Capital of Washington State and sits almost exactly halfway between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. It’s cool man. Its like a melting pot. You have a mix of people — You have super liberal hippies, you have super business type, because it’s the state capital, so you have the political people, and state people, state workers etc. Then you have the gangsters and hustlers too. But its just this chill town where everyone gets along. I dig it, its a funky spot.”

He’s a humble, hometown artist with raw talent of someone who burst on to the scene with his laid back soulful jazzy songwriting, and infectious vocals. One thing you might not know about Ethan is that he is not professionally trained whatsoever. So what you’re listening to in his records Lost Between and Misunderstood is someone projecting self-taught, raw emotion over songs with little vocal guidance as he explains to The Pier that he didn’t take any vocal lessons until he caught on with NBC’s The Voice in 2016.

[Related: Ethan Tucker Performs On NBC’s The Voice]

During that time, he was assigned a vocal coach to which Ethan tells The Pier: “The first vocal lesson I ever had, I didn’t even sing. She had me sit on my back and told me to focus on my breathing. It was just all breathing. I found myself paying more attention to my breathing and making sure that I have full lungs”

With a new album expected in 2018, Ethan Tucker is putting an exclamation-point on his 2015 record, Misunderstood, with the music video for “Never Be.” Directed by Garret Laver, the video had been shelved for more than a year with inspiration coming from the phrase “I’ll Never Be Fooled Again.” Ethan Explains: “The song is about believing the facade that some people put on in a relationship before exposing their true colors.”

Watch: Ethan Tucker – “Never Be”

Understanding Ethan Tucker: Working on New Music

Ethan has recently worked with Toko Tasi on the 2017 Jungle Josh produced “Rockstar” (Remix) to which he was also featured in the music video for the song. Tucker collaborated with Slightly Stoopid and was featured on a version of Stoopid’s “Prophet” with a guitar solo that didn’t make the album cut on Meanwhile… Back At The Lab. Ethan is known to join to Stoopid on stage for songs “Ain’t Gotta Lot of Money,” and “Baby I like It.”

When it comes to his own material, Ethan is experimenting with newer material that includes funk and pop in the vain of Bruno Mars meets Maroon 5 and Ben Harper. As mentioned EthanTucker_InsTudio_EricSchoep inside our 2018 Most Anticipated Albums feature, Ethan Tells The Pier he plans to release a 10-13 track record of songs that fit together in telling the strongest story. He’s worked in production with Jungle Josh, Dru Decaro and Max Watters.

In writing and singing on his newer material, he has taken the vocal lessons from The Voice in addition to that of Dru Decaro and Andy Cooper. Those two, Ethan points out, have been working him in the studio in helping him better recognize the different notes to hit in vocal harmony, a training of the ear that has been new to the otherwise self-taught, raw talent.

Ethan tells The Pier his thoughts toward the records theme, saying: “I have been throwing around a few ideas back and forth the one I keep coming back to is ‘Phoenix’ it is the title of one of the tracks but I like the idea of a bird that continually grows by burning down and then rising from its own ashes.” Ethan continues, sharing: “This record I’ve been experimenting with blending more electronic sounds of drums and synths with my signature blend of acoustic and electric guitar. There are so many sonic layers that most people have never heard from me before and it’s taking my music to another level.”

Ethan is someone who has created his own opportunities through his own hustle that has led him to working with a slew of respected artists. With a combination of raw talent, poetic charisma and a persistent hustle, he’s found himself in the room with Mario C., Michael Franti, Slightly Stoopid, Jungle Josh, Toko Tasi, to creating his own hometown beer and befriending Craig Robinson at one of his own shows. He’s a very organic artist who establishes organically authentic relationships. Like his hometown of the Pacific Northwest, his music has some fun night life funk, gloomy blues to soulful jazz and bright spots of pop and classic rock.

Ethan Tucker is the vocal battle cry of Olympia, WA, showered in the soul of it’s Pacific Northwest culture.

Related Links:
Ethan Tucker Website
Ethan Tucker Facebook

Article By: Mike Patti
Photos By: Eric Schoep

Watch: Toko Tasi – “Rock Star” (Remix) [ft. Ethan Tucker]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 at 4:49 pm and is filed under Slightly Stoopid, Special Features, Topic Articles.
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Kabaka Pyramid Drops New Single “Borders”

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Kabaka Pyramid is heating things up ahead of his debut album Kontraband. On February 2nd, 2017, the Jamaican artist dropped “Borders,” the 2nd single from his upcoming album. The brand new song features the breakout Ghanaian vocalist Stonebwoy, and was produced by the one and only Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. The single is also coupled with an official lyric video produced by Luti Media.

Much like the 1st single “Can’t Breathe,” and all of his music for that matter, Kabaka Pyramid’s latest track goes deep beneath the surface to deliver a powerful message. Creating lyrics with a theme and an underlying message for each of his tracks has always been a priority for the Kingston-based artist. “Borders” tackles the continuing refugee crisis occurring across the globe, and the record number of people seeking a more peaceful and prosperous place to call home. Borders Kabaka

“I wanted to do this song because we as human beings need to do something about the refugee crisis around the world. It’s a shame to see the levels of separation displayed by governments and people when now is the time for unity. I also wanted to connect with my African family so I’m grateful that Stonebwoy could lend his voice to the song and vision. We’re looking forward to big things this year and this song is the way we wanted to start it off” says Kabaka Pyramid of his latest single.

Kabaka Pyramid’s upcoming album Kontraband is set to release in the coming months of 2018 as a joint release with Ghetto Youths International and Bebble Rock Records. In addition to working with Damian Marley and Stonebwoy, Kabaka recruited fellow rising stars Chronixx, Protoje, and Pressure to contribute features on the album. The project looks to continue and build upon the success of Kabaka’s head-turning 2013 EP Lead The Way.

Kontraband is expected to contain roughly 14 tracks, and will likely coincide with a world tour beginning in spring 2018. Kabaka Pyramid’s team hinted at an extensive tour continuing through the summer and fall that would hit North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean islands.

Sharing his excitement for his fans to hear Kontraband, Kabaka says, “I’m really excited to drop my debut album because the 1st one is the one all the others will be compared to, and I think Kontraband will set a foundation for me for many years to come. My aim is to take conscious lyricism in reggae music to another level and connect with listeners from all walks of life across the globe.”

Be sure to check back with The Pier when a precise release date is announced. Until then, enjoy Kabaka Pyramid’s newest singles “Borders” and “Can’t Breathe.”

Related Links:
Kabaka Pyramid Bandcamp
Kabaka Pyramid Facebook

Article By: Brian Winters

Kabaka Pyramid – “Borders” ft. Stonebwoy [Official Lyric Video]

Kabaka Pyramid – “Can’t Breathe” (Official Video)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 at 11:13 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Shaggy Raises Over $800k For Jamaican Children’s Hospital

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When Shaggy isn’t pursuing a new album with Sting, he’s nonchalantly raising $800,000 for a Children’s Hospital in Jamaica! The money was raised from his annual benefit concert held through his Shaggy and Friends foundation that included Sting, and Wyclef Jean, among others.
The $800,000 raised, which amounts to $100million in Jamaican currency, will be used to improve the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. “Big Thanks to all who were involved! All Artists, All Production Crew, Shaggy And Friends Staff, All Management and Staff at Bustamante Hospital,” Shaggy said.

Since its 2009 inception, his foundation has raised over $3million US dollars. The recent donations will be used to provide more beds for the hospital’s intensive care unit which currently only has five beds.

“What we are doing is helping a government-operated hospital, that’s all me a say. We are trying to make it easier for the Government and to ease a burden,” Shaggy says. “The ICU is very small and cannot even hold an extra bed so we have to find a way to move forward. We are still going to need partners, which includes a good and affordable construction company. We also have 150 pieces of medical equipment to turn in but we need to have the building ready first.”

[Related: Sting Shaggy To Release Joint, Island-Influenced Record, 44/876]

Shaggy presented the check to the hospital on February 2nd following his January 6th benefit concert that included Doug E. Fresh, Aidonia, Barrington Levy, Capleton, Christopher Martin, Dexta Daps, Shenseea and more. We salute Shaggy on his charitable contributions and using his platform for the better.

On April 20th, Shaggy will release a joint record with Sting, titled 44/876.

Related Links:
Shaggy Foundation Website
Shaggy Website
Shaggy Facebook

Article By: Mike Patti

Listen: Sting Shaggy – “Don’t Make Me Wait”

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 at 12:47 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Video: Goldfinger – “Tijuana Sunrise”

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Goldfinger released their last studio record, The Knife, last July via Rise Records. One of the top songs from the record was “Tijuana Sunrise” and now the group has put out a music video for the single. Describing the song, front-man John Feldmann tells The Pier:
“I had always wanted to write a song about my experiences as a kid, living in San Diego, drinking in Tijuana. I’d been a fucking hope-to-die alcoholic and was drinking for a long time, and they say I survived by seconds and inches. I drank with this guy named El Diablo that ended up being the meth dealer of Tijuana, and I survived but my roommate got kidnapped by this guy. It could have been me, the guy that was kidnapped and tortured… it could have been me. I needed to write a song about that three-year period in my life where I survived.”
Read more in our Interview with John Feldmann by clicking HERE! Enjoy the song and video…

This entry was posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 11:36 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Rebelution Announces Summer 2018 Tour with Stephen Marley

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Full steam ahead in anticipation of their sixth studio album expected to drop later this year, Rebelution has officially announced their 2018 Summer Tour plans, alongside a staggering lineup including Stephen Marley, Common Kings, Zion I and DJ Mackle. The Free Rein tour will include 25 dates across June and September with the potential for more to be announced.

The accolades and honors for Rebelution have not slowed down for quite some time. Seeing Rebelution headlining the biggest festivals as the first name on the bill is considered a normality at this point – feel free to reference this year’s Cali Roots, Reggae Rise Up, One Love Cali Fest and Levitate Festival to name a few. The argument can be made that the hype has never been bigger for the Isla Vista reggae phenoms, as their follow-up effort to 2016’s Falling Into Place is imminent with full detailed announcements expected sooner than later. Rebelution-Free-Rein-Summer-Banner

Stephen Marley hardly needs any introduction either. Not to be overlooked, his most recent album Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life was one of 2016’s greatest releases featuring plenty of epic tracks, including collaborations with notable hip-hop artists including Rakim, Rick Ross, Waka Flaka Flame and other tracks with guests including Pitbull, Shaggy, DJ Khaled and more. Hopefully you’ve heard it by now, but if for some nonsensical reason you haven’t, find “Rock Stone” below – the track was featured as the highlight song from Marley’s most recent album and has the tastiest of basslines.

Common Kings enjoyed quite the banner year in 2017. Not far removed from being considered an “up-and-coming” breakthrough artist, it’s safe to say the Orange County 4-piece has immersed themselves into a sought-after name across the reggae community. Their debut full-length album Lost in Paradise received GRAMMY nominations for Best Reggae Album, and they have stayed busy touring for well over half the year – including their most recent “Broken Crowns” tour run supporting Matisyahu. Suffice to say that fans will want to make sure they are in the crowd by the time Common Kings hit the stage.

Enter Zion I, the eclectic hip-hop machine spearheaded and survived by Baba Zumbi from Oakland, CA that will keep things moving playing tracks dating back to their inception in 1996. As a side note, the duo also included Amp Live as their former DJ until 2014 – Amp Live is also the other half of Eric Rachmany’s side project Unified Highway.

Related Links:
Exclusive Rebelution Blog
Rebelution Website
Stephen Marley Website
Common Kings Website
Zion I Website

Article By: Brian Glaser

Watch: Rebelution – “Feeling Alright” (live at Red Rocks)

Watch: Stephen Marley – “Rock Stone” (featuring Capleton and Sizzla)

Watch: Common Kings – “Today’s A New Day” (featuring ¡Mayday!)

Watch: Zion I – “Coastin”

This entry was posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 12:59 am and is filed under Daily News, Rebelution.
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Ocean Alley Releases New Single Ahead of New Record ‘Chiaroscuro’

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Australian psych-reggae outfit Ocean Alley just dropped their newest single “Confidence.” Coinciding with the new single, Ocean Alley announced that their 2nd full-length album Chiaroscuro will be released independently on March 9th, 2018. Physical and digital pre-orders of Chiaroscuro are available starting Today!
[Related: 2018 Most Anticipated Albums]

Ocean Alley are an emerging 6-piece out of Sydney, Australia. The group has been on a meteoric rise in their homeland, and hope to carry over that success to the States when they make their North American debut this spring. Ocean Alley is slotted to play Friday, May 25th at California Roots Music Arts Festival. There have also been social media hints from the band suggesting a full tour hitting both the US and Canada later this year.

To date, Ocean Alley’s catalog includes a pair of stellar EPs Yellow Mellow (2013) and In Purple (2015), and a promising debut album in Lost Tropics (2016). Ocean Alley creates both dreamy, laid-back, summertime tracks like “Mellow Yellow” and “Holiday,” as well as dark, hazy jams like “Sleepwalking” and “Muddy Waters.” The band possesses an innate knack for combining sharp guitar solos, trippy organ fills, and buttery vocals over a fat bassline.

[Related: Cali-Roots Festival 2018 Artist Lineup: A Look at Who To See]

Be sure to check back to The Pier as Ocean Alley reveals more info on their upcoming album and US/Canada tour.

Watch: Ocean Alley – “Confidence” (Official Video)

Related Links:
Ocean Alley Website
Ocean Alley Facebook

Article By: Brian Winters

Watch: Ocean Alley – “Yellow Mellow” (Live at The Metro Theatre, Sydney)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 12:31 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Resinated Drops Music Video for New Single “Body Moves”

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Resinated dropped its first single of 2018, titled “Body Moves,” in the form of a music video. The four-piece band out of St. Petersburg, Florida, plans to include “Body Moves” on their upcoming The Night Before EP, due for release in March.
The Night Before will function as part 1 in a 4-part collection series that will see releases throughout the year. “Body Moves” draws on the band’s deep roots in reggae and dancehall, while mixing it up in a newer, experimental direction.

Resinated’s first album, Smoke Signals, was released on Right Coast Records, but the band is taking a new, independent route for The Night Before.

Although released independently, the song was put together and developed by some heavy hitters in the industry. Producing credit goes to Justin Gray (Dirty Heads, Mariah Carey, John Legend), mixing to Brian Malouf (Michael Jackson), and mastering to Chris Gehringer (Lady Gaga, Robin Thicke, Rihanna).

Resinated has what looks to be a busy touring schedule this year as momentum builds for their new releases. Part of that includes day one of both Mad Beach Block Party and St. Petersburg’s own Reggae Rise Up, where they will support Rebelution, Tribal Seeds, SOJA Damian Marley, and more. Their official “The Night Before tour will span from February 8th to March 31st playing alongside Roots of a Rebellion and Iya Terra. There will be 20 total dates across 7 different states.

Stay tuned for more information on part 1 of their 4-part release and enjoy the music video.

Watch: Resinated – “Body Moves”

Related Links:
Resinated Website
Resinated Facebook

Article by: Aidan Leddy

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 at 12:18 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Review: Sammy Johnson – Sleepwalker

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Sammy Johnson – Sleep Walker
Sammy-J-EP-Artwork-FINAL1.) Sleepwalker
2.) If You Only Knew feat. Dallas Kacey
3.) Simmer Down feat. Jemere Morgan Sione Toki
4.) Girl Like You
5.) Since I Met You feat. Stefanie Annika
6.) Nervous
7.) Never Too Sweet
8.) These Eyes

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: January 26th, 2018
Record Label: Island Empire / Mensch House Records
Official Website: Sammy Johnson Website

Artist Background:
Since 2012, Sammy Johnson has released a string of singles and collaborations, in addition to a pair of 8 track albums with Prelude in 2013 and Lion Roar in 2016. Australian born, NZ bred now living in Los Angeles, CA, Sammy got his big break via Youtube after his video for “Don’t Say Goodbye” became a viral sensation, racking up over 12,000,000 plays. Sammy was a social worker at the time before making the decision to pursue music full-time following the newfound popularity of the video song. Not too long after, a Hawaiian-based producer contacted him to work on an album and was offered a record deal with Island Empire Records, home to groups like Common Kings, Tenelle and Fiji.

He’s continued that momentum of dishing out 8-track releases with his latest record Sleepwalker that features guest appearances by that of Jemere Morgan, Sioni Toki, Dallas Kacey and Stefanie Annika.

Album Review:
If you’re a regular fan of J Boog, The Green, or Common Kings, then Sammy Johnson should be a rising name in your general music rotation. I feel he has a voice that opens up and carries more than that of the aforementioned and the record plays to a similar style of Pop with Hawaiian influenced RB, Reggae Soul.

Sammy’s wide-ranging voice is what rains down on the album and while the production is great, it’s his vocals that are the big takeaway leaving the biggest impression. He’s no Al Green, but as a whole, this record is baby making music. His voice carries so much soul, how can you not have 6 of the 8 songs play like serenading love notes? He touches on all the cliches we love when we’re in love and for a lot of us guys, he’s the vocal extension of ourselves that we’ll project to the women we love when we press play during dinner (or thereafter).

The albums top tracks, however, are the only two that aren’t about love. Both songs are an honest reflection while still pouring out his soul. From being overwhelmed and lonely by the demand of a touring artist in ”Sleepwalker,” he extends that narration to the next song by dishing on his own background of being a Youtube singer, to friends for hire as an Uber driver with the track ”If You Only Knew.” The latter is accented nicely with some edge by the addition of Hip Hop verses from Dallas Kacey. I love these 2 songs in particular because they’re soulfully honest, not about love, yet they’re still vulnerable and humbling.

After the first 2 songs, the context goes from self-reflection and loneliness to 6 straight tracks of surrendering to the many multitudes of love.

As wide-ranging a voice as Sammy has, I’d love to see him carry those vocals into edgier productions to even stripped down acoustic or piano ballads and duets. This record is a good example of why Sammy Johnson should be on your radar, coloring the prospect of his growing potential.

Listen: Sammy Johnson – “Sleepwalker”

Written Reviewed By: Mike Patti

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art contribution]

This entry was posted on Monday, February 5th, 2018 at 1:54 pm and is filed under Album Reviews, Reviews.
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