Connections Review

Crank Up Some NEPA Originals This Summer

by Mark UrichekConnections Magazine

George Wesley
“Hold On”

For over two decades, George Wesley has been the voice of reggae, dub, and Caribbean rhythms in NEPA.Wesley has been showered with accolades such as singer/songwriter of the year in various local media and been recognized as having a sizzling, powerful live show. George is back with a new offering titled “Hold On.”

The disc, which was produced ‘live’ – with no overdubs – at WVIA studios with local music guru George Graham at the helm, is about as authentic a reggae experience as you’ll have the pleasure of hearing this far north of Jamaica. From the ultra-rhythmic, minor key, slow burn of the opener, “Fading Away,” to the gravel-throated rave-up of the frenetic “Junkie Man,”Wesley knows how to keep an audience enthralled – and dancing in the aisles. Wesley’s use of midi-guitar on the disc, with ‘looping’ (i.e. George can basically be a one-man band), enabled him to open up a whole new world of sonic possibilities– such as a faux horn section, keyboard/synth sounds, and expanded guitar tone. Tracks like the classic soul/R&B flavored “Ain’t No Trouble” are a spirited example of Wesley’s midi/looping exploration – with a robust horn ensemble complementing the swinging rhythm. The uplifting, careening “This Is The Sound” is also notable as it features a mix of fascinating synth textures, as well as a healthy peppering of steel drum sounds and good vibes that will transport you to an evening beach party under the coconut trees.

Wesley’s voice, it should be stated, is an effective instrument as well. The rough, gritty passion in his voice shines through in impressive fashion on tracks like “Your Love’s Got a Hold On Me,” and the driving, funky closer “When I’m next To You I Feel Lucky.” Just the right amount of reverb is applied to George’s voice on the discpositively dynamite vocal character. Look for George Wesley live, both with his band featuring Annette, percussion/vocals, Chris Condel, drums/vocals, and bassist Peter Fritz and as a solo “one man band” (which George nicknames ‘The Small Axe Orchestra’) at venues from the Poconos to Atlantic City.

Visit George at www.georgewesley.com.