‘Come From Far’ Shows How Far New Kingston Has Come, How Far It Can Go

Courtesy: Easy Star Records

New Kingston released this past August, what is the group’s fourth full-length studio recording when it released A Kingston Story: Come From Far. The 10-song offering was the band’s fourth overall album and came almost seven years from the release of its 2010 debut In The Streets. That actually bucks the trend of most mainstream acts regardless of genre, which typically sees acts release the same number of albums in a 10-year period. This latest effort is everything that audiences have come to expect from New Kingston both musically and lyrically, though there are at least a few songs that stand out this time around including ‘Agape’ and ‘Solid As A Rock’ — both of which would fit easily into any mainstream Top 40 pop radio station’s rotation — and ‘Starlight.’ Of course, this trio of songs is only part of what makes this album another work that will appeal to the group’s fans. The album’s seven other songs not noted here combine with the more directly noted works to ensure the album will keep listeners engaged and entertained throughout its 32-minute run time.

New Kingston’s fourth full-length album A Kingston Story: Come From Far is, over the course of its 10-song, 32-minute run time, everything that audiences have come to expect from the group. This applies both musically and lyrically. Of course some of the songs featured included in this record do stand out from their counterparts. ‘Agape’ is one of those standout offerings. Musically speaking, the song easily fits into any mainstream Top 40 pop station’s rotation. The guitar and electronics couple with the group’s vocal delivery make the song a gentle, accessible presentation that will reach a wide range of listeners. Of course the song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement. In regards to its lyrical theme, the song is a moving song about believing in love no matter what. That is proven as guitarist/vocalist Stephen Suckarie sings in the song’s lead verse, “Some people search a lifetime/A lifetime/Tryingto find a love like mine/So I thank the man above for sending me love like this/Though I wasn’t looking, my heart found it/So you can’t give up on love/Love is everything you need in life.” the rest of the song continues in very similar fashion, with that central message of not giving up on love remaining throughout. That positive message is one from which every listener will benefit, and the fact that the group didn’t go over the top in its delivery makes it all the more impacting. When it is coupled with the song’s equally gentle and emotional musical arrangement, that pairing shows clearly why this song stands out on New Kingston’s new record. it is only one of the record’s most notable additions. ‘Solid As A Rock’ is another of the record’s most standout offerings.

‘Solid As A Rock’ stands out from its counterparts — just as ‘Agape’ — in no small part because of its musical arrangement. The song’s arrangement does present something of an old school reggae sound. However, the group doesn’t let it dominate the song. Instead, it incorporates more modern guitar and keyboard lines into the song to make it more up-to-date. The use of those more modern influences in the song’s arrangement makes it another easily accessible and radio ready addition to this record. Of course as is the case with ‘Agape’ again, this song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical theme is important to discuss, too. That theme is one of self-determination and persistence, thus the song’s title ‘Solid As A Rock.” That theme is best illustrated in the song’s final verse in which the group sings, “One day/Oh, one day/things are gonna change/What doesn’t kill me/Can only make me stronger/Growing from the pain…Got to make the best of what this world has given you/It’s up to you…unconditional, you know that we’re solid as a rock.” Similar wording is used earlier in the song as the group addresses naysayers and life’s general challenges. All things considered, the same message of “staying solid as a rock” remains throughout. Keeping that in mind, it is clear here that the group is sending a very positive message that, again, applies to listeners of all ages. When it is coupled with the song’s laid back musical arrangement, that pairing creates such a positive vibe that it makes the song stand out that much more among its counterparts. It is still not the last of the album’s most standout songs. ‘Starlight,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is one more notable inclusion in this record.

‘Starlight’ stands out because of the pairing of its musical arrangement and its lyrical theme. The song’s musical arrangement is a clear throwback to reggae’s roots, with its guitars, keyboards and drums. Even its upbeat tempo is familiar. Keeping that in mind, it doesn’t necessarily stand on its own two feet. However, when that arrangement is coupled with the song’s lyrical theme, which is one of a love song, that pairing makes the song in whole stand out. The group sings of a man who is in love. In fact, it starts off with the statement that “Love is the greatest thing.” From there the group goes on to sing of a man who will love a woman unconditionally, singing, “when the sunlight fades away/And the moonlight starts to wake/Let the sunlight guide the way/Bring your loving my way. This is just the chorus of course. The group sings of all the positives that a woman brings to a man’s life, even calling her a blessing from the heavens and a queen. There is also mention of a man never letting a woman go and working to make sure things work. It would have been so easy for the group to go over the top with way too schmaltzy wording. But it really didn’t do that, nor did it even get away with itself in its delivery of its words. When this is considered with the power in the song’s arrangement, that pairing becomes a whole that stands out among today’s love songs. When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and those not noted, they make the whole of the record a work that is certain to win applause from the group’s most devout fan base and maybe even garner some new fans. That could include fans who come to the group’s upcoming live shows on its winter 2018 tour, which launches Jan. 24 in Albuquerque, NM. The tour currently runs through Feb. 18 in Colorado Spring, CO and includes performances in Seattle, WA; Bozeman, MT; Eugene, OR and a number of other cities across the midwest and west coast — weather providing.

New Kingston’s new album A Kingston Story: Come From Far is a work that is certain to appeal to the group’s most devout fan base while also possibly earning the group some new fans. That is due to a mix of familiar musical and lyrical material and some newer material that fits easily into any mainstream Top 40 pop radio station’s rotation. Between that material and the group’s more familiar material, the whole of the album proves over its 10 songs and 32 minutes to be another strong new effort from the group. It is available now in stores and online. It likely will be available at the group’s upcoming Winter 2018 tour stops, too. more information on A Kingston Story: Come From Far is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://newkingstonmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NewKingston

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NewKingstonLive

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.


Count Rebelution’s New LP As Another Of 2014’s Best Indie Albums

Courtesy:  Easy Star Records

Courtesy: Easy Star Records

Rebelution released its fourth full length studio effort this week.  Count Me In, the band’s latest album, is an equally impressive piece for any reggae fan regardless of one’s familiarity with the California-based quartet.  Eleven tracks comprise Rebelution’s new album.  Among the songs included on Count Me In are a handful of pieces that are rooted in the standard relationship issues.  The band also delves once again into the socially conscious roots of reggae on other tracks on the record, too.    One of the best of those socially conscious songs is ‘More Love.’ This song is especially important considering the state of the nation’s youth today. Another of those more socially conscious songs is the album’s penultimate track, ‘Against The Grain.’ And while it isn’t necessarily socially conscious ‘Roots Reggae’ pays homage to the socially conscious roots of the genre that has made the band a fan favorite. This trio of songs stands out most to this critic. But they aren’t the only songs that will impress listeners. There are eight more songs from which listeners will find their favorite(s) on this album. And in listening to said songs, audiences familiar and not so familiar with Rebelution’s music will agree that there is plenty to like about this record.

Rebelution has crafted an album in Count Me In that is just as good a first impression for new audiences as it is a re-introduction for those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work so far. One of the key pieces that stands out as proof of this is the socially conscious song ‘More Love.’ Front man Eric Rachmany sings in this song, “More love/That’s what we need to succeed/Not dollars/Not what we need/Let’s give them love/So the youth can achieve.” This critic’s interpretation of this chorus is one that says this nation’s youth need to be more loved, plain and simple. Maybe if kids were more loved, there wouldn’t be so many school shootings. Maybe there would be less bullying. Maybe kids wouldn’t be afraid to try and succeed. It may not necessarily be the message that the band was trying to send. If not, then apologies are in order to the band and its fans. Rachmany sings in the song’s second verse about looking in the mirror and seeing things more clearly. It serves to heighten the message of togetherness and support. Rachmany comes across as saying that if we see more clearly, we’ll have more empathy and more love. In turn, we’ll give that love to the next generation so that that generation can succeed where this generation failed. That socially conscious vibe isn’t relegated to just this one song, either.

Much as ‘More Love’ pays homage to the roots of reggae with its socially conscious lyrics, so does the album’s penultimate track, ‘Against The Grain.’ The song’s closing verse is the one that best highlights this. Rachmany sings in the song’s closing verse, “To power through and through it’s a constant struggle/But we got what it takes for sure to survive/Alright…well they same I’m out the game/It’s me against the grain/Come on rise.” He comes across as saying to listeners, don’t be afraid to stand tall and proud. We can survive no matter what people will say and do. Reggae is known for boasting positive lyrics of all kinds. It’s not all just protest music. It actually serves even more of a purpose. And this song in particular proves just that. Because it does, it makes Count Me In all the more enjoyable for listeners no matter how familiar audiences are with Rebelution.

‘More Love’ and ‘Against The Grain’ are both prime examples of Rebelution carrying on the long-held tradition of reggae presenting an important social conscience. There is at least one more track included in Count Me In that presents that conscience. It presents the conscience in question in a manner slightly different than that of the previously noted songs. The song in question is the aptly titled ‘Roots Reggae.’ The song harkens back to the days of Bob Marley with Rachmany singing, “We’re groovin’/Nothing like roots reggae music/Now turn it up/I wanna lose it/Nothin’ like roots reggae music/We’re groovin’/The rhymes of the music/It’s alright…You wanna jump/You wanna shout/You wanna stand/You wanna shout it all about/I let the owner know/The music got you, yeah.” It’s a celebration of the joy brought by the music. And the use of the keyboards, horns and drums to craft such a vintage sound makes the song all the more a celebration and joy to take in. Whether it be this song, one of the others mentioned here or those not mentioned, audiences will each find at least one reason to be *ahem* “counted” among those that call themselves fans after listening to this record.

Count Me In is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/count-me-in/id860352132.   The band is currently on tour in support of its new album. It will be in New York, New York tonight and at the House of Blues in Boston, MA tomorrow, June 12th. The band also has a performance at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina scheduled for June 20th. Tickets can be purchased for that show online at www.bandsintown.com/event/7925266/buy_tickets?affil_code=fb_29914385736&artist=Rebelution&came_from=128. Fans can see the band’s most current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest news from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/rebelution and http://www.rebelutionmusic.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.   Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.