If ever there was a band that absorbed the roots rocking throb of the Wailers Band it would have to be Taj Weekes and Adowa on their debut disc Hope & Doubt (Alpha Pocket). Weekes’ unique vocal style and distinctive lyrical bent lift the project from homage to originality with cuts like Scream Out Mellow. Lonesome in Babylon and single word titles like Cold, Sad, Mysterious, Jagged and Blue. If you like the international reggae sound of Alpha Blondy and Nasio Fontaine, check out the unique approach of Taj Weekes and Adowa. High points include MPLA, a universal tale of the social schism that both leads to and results from the decision to grow dreads, and the introspective Life (www.tajanadowa.com).
Album review by: Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
In the past, I have shied away from covering Reggae music because it all seemed to sound the same to me. Realistically that could apply to any style of music after a while though. I have to thank Taj Weekes for opening my mind to his wonderful music. Yes, there is that familiar stylistic backbeat on many tracks; however, I heard many different genres of music come bubbling to the surface on Hope & Doubt.
Taj Weekes hails from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, and is now based in New York. His sound is a rich and pleasing mix of roots reggae flavors, and on songs like Scream Out Mellow and the chugging Cold he evokes the glory days of the late 1970s. In fact, if there’s a criticism to level at him it’s that both his singing style and his band’s sturdy, mid-tempo rockers grooves sound just a bit too Marleyesque. But there are worse things than sounding like Bob Marley, and I’m willing to bet money that Weekes will digest his influences more thoroughly as he continues to grow and develop. In the meantime, there’s plenty to enjoy on his debut album. Note in particular the very affecting MPLA, a tribute to the older brother who introduced Weekes to the Rastafarian faith.
Album review by: R. Camacho
For his debut album, Hope & Doubt, Taj Weekes has summoned up a creation that both upends the idea of modern reggae music, while maintaining faith with the overarching ethos of the form.
Album review by: Mark Lee
Rarely does an album feel warm and familiar from the first listen, but Taj Weekes & Adowa's debut effort, Hope & Doubt, gently integrates it's magic into your bloodstream from the word go. And unlike most albums that quickly endear themselves to you, this long player will keep you coming back for more long after your first cherished encounter.