Odel Johnson

Odel shares his cultural home of St. Ann’s parish with the likes of Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and Burning Spear, all of whom have served as sources of great inspiration for this self taught drummer and songwriter.

With his critically-acclaimed and Juno Award-nominated 2005 debut solo release, Mind & Body Sold, Odel Johnson demonstrated the breadth of his artistic talent.

Jamaican born and Canadian resident Odel Johnson’s second album titled ‘Redemption’ gets a late summer 2010 release on Ohm Grown Records. Johnson is a percussionist and drummer, but it’s his vocals that really impress on this piece; his voice occasionally reminds me of Burning Spear and Peter Tosh, with unhurried and righteous fervour. The standout track is the opener ‘Chronicles’, a reminder that we write the stories of the times.

Backed up by a crisp band and brass section, musically there is nothing out of place, and it’s not strictly reggae, with a North American rock influence. ‘Trod Natty’ is rock reggae; tunes such as ‘Testify’ are more rock than reggae, with power chords and howling lead guitar, and ‘Change’ will have Grateful Dead fans turning their heads.

The last three songs are back on a roots tip, with the title track ‘Redemption’, a paean to grandmotherly love and advice, “She spoke to us of His Majesty, Reminding us of family”. That’s followed by the excellent ‘Dry Harbour Mountains’ about St. Anne in Jamaica, with its Mac the Knife style bassline. There is a sweet rocksteady song “For the love of you’ rounding off the album.

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