Project #4 Kate Langenburg A&E Article: “Musician Reviews – George Wesley” by Kate Langenburg
When you hear the word "reggae," you probably think of Bob Marley, Jamaica, and pot smoking. If you are shaking your head yes and are trying to think of more things that are stereotypically related to the genre, you are in the majority. But how about breaking out of those images you commonly envision? Here's something to break down those stereotypes - you can find real reggae right in your own backyard…
Good news for reggae fans. You don't have to travel all the way to Jamaica to hear quality music. George Wesley, a local musician from Kingston, Pennsylvania, has been bringing the sound to Stroudsburg for quite some time now.
In his latest release "Hold On," Wesley's island vibes and good feelings bring a much needed break from the realities of the mundane work week. Adding to that is the fact that he usually plays once per month at Front Row Sports Bar of Stroudsburg, where music lovers can sip a tropical drink and relax while they listen to his music.
"Hold On" is filled with tracks that are very much reminiscent of an old school reggae style. Reggae icons that come to mind are Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, and of course, Bob Marley.
Wesley manages to add a new sound to that old style, incorporating a synthesizer in the mix of instruments. This, in turn, helps him create the sounds of many other instruments, like trumpets, steel drums, and organs, right on his own guitar.
Toots and the Maytals
Speaking of which, I especially enjoy the steel drums in track five, which is entitled "This is the Sound." The instrumental tune features many sounds in Wesley's repertoire of instruments, but the steel drums steal the spotlight, giving the song a happy sunshine sound that makes me want to dance instantly. Besides the steel drums though, slide guitar, organ, and horns all take their turns, creating the get up and groove' feeling.
Almost all of the tunes on Wesley's new CD are uplifting and inspirational. That general emotion can be seen right in the song titles, such as "Hold On to Your Dreams," "Your Love's Got a Hold on Me," and "When I'm Next to You, I Feel Lucky." Wesley also preaches peace and love in his songs, an idea that perhaps comes very much from the Rastafari Movement.
All of the songs heard on "Hold On" also have an infectious groove that's almost impossible to ignore. Wesley's live shows come to mind here, in that there is always a group of people grooving right in front of the stage. One of the aspects of the music that makes it so easy to groove to is that many of the riffs remain uncomplicated and brief. The accompanying bass lines lay down a catchy back beat, helping the audience to really feel the deepest passions of reggae music.
Wesley shows all the signs of a talented musician, both on the CD and onstage. That is something that can not be overlooked. His live performances sound spectacular, like the CD, which is a clear indication that no doctoring has been done to the music in the studio.
For more information on George Wesley, please visit www.georgewesley.com or www.myspace.com/georgewesley. His CD
"Hold On" is available for purchase on