Album-Review: Josh Heinrichs - Satisfied
Former lead singer of the band Jah Roots, Springfield, Missouri-born Heinrichs has a style that can be as varied as the multitude of artists in reggae around the globe. That is what works in the modern era of downloaded tracks versus album-oriented songwriting. And by the looks of it, his music has made quite an impact in the digital download arena. On his latest set, the vibe builds from his obvious success in Hawaiian reggae with its tendency towards the romantic and melancholic. Several collabs are present, as well as remixed versions of album tracks.
The release opens with the title track, Satisfied with a vocal that harkens to early Jah Cure in its phrasing and in the qualities of Heinrich’s vocals. The rhythm is a straight one-drop with a bubbling keyboard sound and strong bass current brightening up the well-mixed tune. So Far From Home the album’s second tune really has a Jawaiian feel with a relaxed, keyboard-heavy rhythm and Heinrich's tenor vocals sweetening the message of making up in romance. The song Ganja an ode to the herb, is peppered with moody keyboards and a heady guitar solo, its version is performed with Brooklyn, NY-based Jah Roots bandmate, SkillinJah, a truly skillful chanter with some quality rhymes. He performs also on Fight and Fuss - a call for peace in the streets.
Frequent pared-down tunes, using acoustic guitar and the sweet tones of the Hawaiian ukelele set the pace for contemplation of our place in the universe. The lyrical flow plays a part in the set as equally as the guitar sound, with frequent, lengthy intros where the verse comes in later than the standard pop pattern. On Sunday Afternoon the temperature rises in a seductive shout out to a young love from the past, a true story seems to be told in the ultimate pop tune structure.
Acoustic guitar with gentle piano as a call and response are the centerpiece of Back To Me which never raises above a ballad tempo, the backdrop of the singer’s lament for love lost. The way in which the vocals are recorded reminds one of Jack Johnson, a real up-front mix, combined with a cooled-down drum and bass pace that allows the singers to flex their vocal muscles with finesse. This is particularly apparent on the tune What Can I Do a duet with female vocalist Rexie Adlawan from Inity Collective. .
Closing the set is Crusin which features Regan Perry (who could be a Jack impersonator) and a bluesy slide guitar. Heinrichs takes us on a journey towards “smooth country roads and a feelin’ in my soul, reminds me of you and this feelin’ it ain’t brand new.” These two seem to have a bromance with a “big Cadillac, gangster stylin’ in the back…”
As Josh Heinrichs the solo artist evolves, his vibe as a chilled-out yet strong singer will likely produce songs that stand the test of time as reggae/pop classics.
Josh Heinrichs - Satisfied
DIGITAL RELEASE [GanJah Records]
Release date: 10/18/2011
02. So Far From Home
04. Fight and Fuss feat. SkillinJah
06. Sunday Afternoon
07. Back To Me
08. What Can I Do feat. Rexie Adlawan
09. Blazin Again
10. Satisfied (Acoustic)
11. Ganja feat. SkillinJah
12. Cruizin feat. Regan Perry
Featured artists: Skillinjah