"Rise" by Righteous [Jah Light Records]
If you haven't been paying attention (shame on you), Jah Light Records continues to discover and cultivate some of the finest burgeoning Reggae talents from out of Trinidad and, following the likes of King Solomon and Matthew Greenidge, the label is back with their latest big find, Righteous. Presumably with a whole heap of work ahead of him Righteous, who just began singing professionally last year has already advanced to the point where Jah Light is comfortable placing a considerable amount of faith in his skills and are doing so, officially, with his forthcoming five-track EP, "Rise". Just last year, JLR took a similar route with the well-received "Worthy To Be Praised" from the aforementioned King Solomon and "Rise" should also serve as a fine and very fitting introduction of their latest future star to fans. Today we take a brief look at what you can expect from the EP when "Rise" reaches stores next week.
#1. 'Rise Up'
According to his bio, Righteous' musical background and influences are channeled through a more traditional Gospel scope and that is apparent on the very first tune on the EP, which is also its definitive highlight in my opinion, 'Rise Up'. This is just a BEAUTIFUL praising tune from the vocalist and is a sterling display of his curious talents. Righteous is basically a chanter, but definitely not in the more standard application of the term. He is more of a singing chanter (somewhat in the manner that someone like a Fantan Mojah would be) and he uses this style to a great effect of blending styles and emotions, making for a powerful display.
"Dem coulda, dive under mountain dat a weigh a million ton
But Jah gwan move it by the flick of HIS thumb
Pick dem up and gwan pass dem judgment
And put dem inna hell fi receive yuh punishment
Fyah blaze, fyah bun, fyah bun dem reverently -
Fi all dem sin and iniquity"
#2. 'In Your Grace'
The very first thing that you're likely to know about the second track on "Rise", ‘In Your Grace', is that GORGEOUS piece of riddim which backs it. That is the best track I hear on the whole of this release and, thankfully, Righteous doesn't let it go to waste in any way because 'In Your Grace' is another big effort giving thanks to The Almighty. This one is a bit more personal than the opener -- almost coming off like we're listening to a prayer from Righteous -- which gives it a very interesting aspect and, I don't know if I mentioned it .. But DAMN that track is nice!
#3. 'Don't Wanna Be Without You'
'Don't Wanna Be Without You' is the first of two consecutive different songs here I appreciate the idea of introducing Righteous and then giving a nice display of his versatility. Surely, we don't know what is going to become of him as a musician, he's very much just starting out, but this love song is not a bad one at all and is actually substantially better than 'average' in my opinion.
#4. 'Let's Go Dancing'
… and this one is just delightful. 'Let's Go Dancing' is even more colourful than the piece which precedes it and you really get the impression that Righteous had a lot of fun in recording it. The old school vibed track is absolutely infectious and it wasn't something that hit me immediately, but as it approaches its mid portions, 'Let's Go Dancing' becomes this well solid and captivating selection which was clearly intended to get feet tapping and head bobbing. Mission accomplished.
And finally, we end things with what seems to be a personal social commentary from Righteous and, arguably, is the best written song you'll find here, 'Reflections'. I kind of read more into this composition (because that's just what I do) and what I took from it is that it is directed at people who infuse a great amount of negativity and violence in the world and do it at a price of hurting those who are exactly like them and from the same surroundings. He goes a step further in the latter stages and seems to deal with the psychological aspects behind making the decisions to do these terrible things and I do appreciate how Righteous eschews the well traveled and… TIRED road of saying something like "things need to change". Instead, he acknowledges that is already a given and takes the next push ahead by saying "things need to change - and YOU need to change them". Big tune and I'm looking forward to listening to Righteous over the next few years.
"Rise" by Righteous via Jah Light Records is in digital stores on July 30th