August 19th, 2009 The Reggae - SOJA Born In Babylon Review

SOJA reggae Born in BabylonWednesday, September 2, 2009

SOJA 'Born In Babylon' Review

I must admit that I've never paid much attention to 'SOJA'. I don't know why. I have no plausible excuse. I guess I wasn't willing to give them much of a chance since most of the state-side reggae bands I've heard in the past have not impressed me. Over the years there has been very little originality on the American reggae scene. Too many imitators and not near enough originators. I never purposely placed SOJA in this category, I just blindly assumed they were like all the rest. That was a huge mistake! How could I have missed such a treasure? I've definitely learned a valuable lesson: Not all American Reggae is what it seems. There are bands out there that are producing Reggae of the highest quality whilst bringing originality to the genre. SOJA is definitely one of those bands. (Check Rebelution for another)

Their 3rd full-length album 'Born In Babylon' catapults them to the upper echelon of Reggae Bands. The music is tight and the selection is right. Jacob Hemphill epitomizes what it means to be a reggae songwriter with simple, yet multi-layered lyrics and messages. "This is the album we've been wanting to make for ten years", says Jacob. "At first we were hard-core old school, then we got new school and inventive. This is what we've learned from all that. 'Born In Babylon' is hard roots drum and bass, big wide guitar and vocal melodies, and two and three sided lyrics, and two and three sided messages." Beautifully stated!

The title track leads the way. Layer 1: Critics and judgemental ones beware! There's no tolerating mindless criticism as Hemphill asks: 'Who do you think I think I am?' Layer 2: Hemphill declares 'I got the feeling that there's more like me, Born in Babylon but you just got to be free.........I WON'T STOP.' A very pointed beginning.

From there the listener is treated to track after track of quality reggae music. Losing My Mind, Used To Matter, and Bleed Through are smart and insightful tunes with horn arrangements that would make Lucky Dube proud. You and Me with Chris Boomer (and a well placed violin) is smooth and mellow. Hemphill and Boomer compliment each other perfectly on a well-penned tune about a love that won't quit.

Decide You're Gone is one of the gems of the record. Hemphill's voice is crisp and expressive with the horn section again playing a prominent part in the bubbling riddim. I Don't Wanna Wait is superb lyrically, melodically and musically. A militant stance against political corruption coupled with a message of personal responsibility. Absolutely brilliant!

Germaican sensation Gentleman along side Empress Tamika shows up on the powerful lovers tune I Tried. The sullen and bluesy Thunderstorms adds another nice dimension to the record while the stripped-down Here I Am featuring Marley, Rory, and Eric of Rebelution is a fabulous, though unwelcome, conclusion to the album.

From top to bottom 'Born In Babylon' does not disappoint. It is an album that will impress even the most seasoned reggae listener. SOJA is for real. BUY THIS ALBUM .

The beautiful thing about it for me is this: 'Born In Babylon' is my first SOJA album. That means there are 5 other albums and EPs that I haven't really heard. I can't wait to go back and listen to see how they arrived at 'Born In Babylon.' The magnificent journey that is Reggae Music continues....... What a ride!

August 17th, 2009 Tour for new album “Born in Baylon”

SOJA reggae Born in BabylonWASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2009) Washington D.C. based reggae band SOJA announced today that their highly anticipated, third full-length album Born in Babylon will be released digitally worldwide, exclusively on iTunes (CDs will also be sold at all upcoming shows) on August 25, 2009. The album follows up their successful 2006 release Get Wiser which debuted in the Top 10 Reggae albums on iTunes, and has remained in the top 100 since its release. Since 2000, the quintet has issued two full-length albums and two EPs on their label DMV Records.

Now, SOJA is ready to release 14 new tracks on Born in Babylon. SOJA shares about their new album, This is the album weve been wanting to make for ten years. At first we were hard-core old school, then we got new school and inventive. This is what weve learned from all that. Born in Babylon is hard roots drum and bass, big wide guitar and vocal melodies, and two and three sided lyrics, with two and three sided messages.

In July 2009, SOJA released the first single and music video for I Dont Wanna Wait off the Born in Babylon album. Since the album has been available for pre-order, it has hit as high as #3 the iTunes Reggae charts, foreshadowing a big success for their new release.

Originally formed in 1997, SOJA consists of lead singers, Jacob Hemphill (guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass), as well as Patrick OShea on keyboard, percussionist Ken Brownell and drummer Ryan Berty. The band has become renowned for using a unique blend of reggae, hip-hop, and rock to influence their sound, while staying dedicated to creating music with a real message and promoting a revolution. They have also dominated touring, averaging 150 shows a year visiting every major city in the United States and traveling internationally playing to crowds of up to 16,000 people. The band has also shared the stage with notable artists such as Citizen Cope, Matisyahu, Ben Harper, Slightly Stoopid, Damian Marley, Govt Mule, Umphrees McGee, and Steel Pulse to name a few.

For the rest of 2009 moving into 2010 SOJA plans on touring the United States extensively while promoting Born in Babylon. They also plan on further expanding internationally- with tours in new markets such as St. Maarten, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Tahiti, Poland, Spain and Germany.

For more information on the upcoming album, plus national, and international tour dates, please visit SOJAs website at or MySpace at

For media inquiries with SOJA, please contact Jordyn Borczon at MLC PR at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 818-706-8080.



Upcoming Shows:

Aug 22, 2009 - Falls Church, VA (US) @ The State Theatre - w/ Mambo Sauce (21+) | more info

Aug 23, 2009 - Falls Church, VA (US) @ The State Theatre - w/ Rebelution & Iration (All Ages) | more info

Aug 27, 2009 - Charlottesville, VA (US) @ Is Venue - w/ Jah Works | more info

Aug 28, 2009 - Blacksburg, VA (US) @ Virginia Tech University - w/ Pete Francis | more info

Aug 28, 2009 - Blacksburg, VA (US) @ Awful Arthurs - w/ Mambo Sauce | more info

Aug 29, 2009 - Greenville, NC (US) @ Pantana Bob's - w/ Jah Works | more info

Aug 30, 2009 - Wilmington, NC (US) @ Diesel (formerly Marrz Nightclub) - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 1, 2009 - Charleston, SC (US) @ The Pourhouse- w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 2, 2009 - Savannah, GA (US) @ Live Wire Music Hall -w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 3, 2009 - Orlando, FL (US) @ Club Firestone - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 4, 2009 - Saint Petersburg, FL (US) @ The State Theatre - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 5, 2009 - Hollywood, FL (US) @ Hollywood ArtsPark - Dubfest | more info

Sep 6, 2009 - Jacksonville, FL (US) @ Freebird Live | more info

Sep 8, 2009 - Atlanta, GA (US) @ Vinyl - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 9, 2009 - Nashville, TN (US) @ Exit In - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 10, 2009 - Chicago, IL (US) @ Double Door - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 11, 2009 - Madison, WI (US) @ Annex - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 12, 2009 - Clarks Grove, MN (US) @ Harmony Park - Harvest Festival | more info

Sep 13, 2009 - Omaha, NE (US) @ The Barfly - w/ The Movement | more info

Sep 15, 2009 - Boulder, CO (US) @ Fox Theatre