If there is one album we were really looking forward to it is this one, Samory I’s new project alongside Winter James’s Overstand Records, titled ‘Strength‘. The album which will be released on November 17, is dedicated to Samory’s son Jahseh contains 11 new tracks, including 4 collaborations.
The first collaboration on the album is on the guitar driven opening track called ‘Outside” where the voices of Samory and Lila Ike perfectly blend together as they chant “Counting the winnings from humble beginnings”.
The second song is the in May 2023 released ‘Crown‘, a soulful track with that typical laid back Samory I vibe which we know so well from his previous Black Gold Album (2017 – with producer Rory “Stonelove” Gilligan). The horns on this track are provided by veteran Michael “Bami” Rose (Sax), Robin Hopcraft (Trumpet) and Henry ‘Matic’ Tenyue (Trombone).
A next track on this album is the in November 2022 released ‘Blood in the Streets“. A track that, hence it’s name, touches on the topic of gun possession and the increasing violence in Jamaica and the lack of protection from the government.
On ‘Continent’, the second collab, Samory teamed up with the Palace Pickney Jesse Royal, a collaboration that can’t go wrong as proven with this track. Also on this track, taking care of the backing vocals, is the soothing voice of Chevaughn ‘Qyor’ Clayton.
With ‘My Son’, a homage to Samory’s son Jahseh, track 5 on the album, Samory returns to the roots supported by the heavy basslines of Donald ‘Danny’ Dennis and with Squidly Cole on Drums.
“Wrath” brings a change in energy with lyrical fire contributions from Kabaka Pyramid and Capleton. Wrath feels like a more HipHop influenced track and was released with a video last august 2023.
For ‘Ocean‘ Samory I and Winter James chose to use a sample of Gregory Isaac’s 1978 track “Soon Forward”. and on ‘Stormy Nights‘ written co-written with Mortimer (and Winta James) we, again seem to hear a blend that combines reggae with hiphop inspired beats.
On “History Of Violence,” Mortimer lends his voice to this soulful track, creating a great combination of voices. To me the opening of the track has vibes reminiscent of Koffee and Daniel Caesar’s Cyanide Remix.
On ‘Jah Love‘ we return to those rootsy Reggae vibes, a track filled with horns, haunting baselines from Devon Bradshaw, guitar licks from Ian “Breezy’ Coleman and Llamar “Riff Raff’ Brown on Organ.
As we reach the last track, “Harvest,” we hear a soothing track featuring the voices of Shereita Lewis and Chevaughn Clayton on backing vocals.
About the album, Samory I says, “The album is called Strength. It represents the struggles I’ve overcome, both mentally and physically, and is also a representation of my son Jahseh, who is my driving force behind this album.” The album’s cover fits well with the vibes on the album and shows ablack and white photo of Samory with his son, shot by Yannick ‘The Therapist” Reid.
In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the album. It maintains the distinctive Samory I sound, and I recommend giving it a listen on November 17th, and adding it to your playlist or vinyl LP collection.
The album is produced by Overstand Entertainment under License of Easy Star Records.