by Kate Langenburg, Stoudsburg Courier
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.
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
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
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 either site.