Geneman: The Light
Back in 1998 I started this webstore out of my small office with one single release, Geneman's "Righteous in Christ". After receiving a complimentary copy from the artist in the mail, I was completely blown away and knew that the rest of the world needed to hear this man's songs. For years Geneman's first album was a best seller on Christafari.com and Lionofzion.com. After a while, many of you began asking, "When is he going to come out with another release?" All good things come to those who wait--and wait patiently might I add. Six years after his first effort, Geneman hits us hard with his sophomore project, "The Light".
The album starts off with a very long intro that takes you from mental images of "The Passion of the Christ" straight into the bass throbbing dancehalls of Jamaica--sanctified as only Geneman can do. Some say that his gruff voice sounds like a mixture of Joseph Hill and Tiger, but I say that he sounds like none other than GENEMAN (pronounced Jenn-eh-man). On the title track featuring Willard Burch, Geneman takes us from the Dancehall to the streets assuring us that "it's alright to be bright" with the urban sounds of "The Light".
Next up is "Heart of a Servant", the perfect song for those who are looking for something that is more in the vein of his previous release. The lyrics are undeniably Biblical; in fact, the only difference between this song and those of his initial release is in the greatly improved production. This time Geneman brought in a tight horn section and some sweet background vocals to further accentuate his distinct style. He should have started the album off with this track!
The roots continue to abound on track five as Geneman "reaches for the prize". In addition to live horns, he adds some sweet electric guitar and sax licks to this song--something sorely missed on his first release. Anyone who ever liked the vocal stylings of Eek-a-mouse will love Geneman's signature sound on this cut. What follows is a bubbly, yet mellow roots tune with the heart of worship. "Faithful" is Geneman's testimony of how faithful God has been to him. An attitude of gratitude overflows from this soothing song--a big tune!
One thing that must be said about Geneman is that when it comes to songwriting, he thinks outside the box. A great example of this is track seven, where it sounds like he took the Muppets to the dancehall with his clever use of animated voices and pulsating beats. After this, he challenges us to "Practice what we Preach". On this song, Geneman's sweet singjay melody perfectly contrasts the stunning vocals of Tonya Iris. On "Remember," he once again uses a female vocalist to compliment his gruff and textured sound. However, this time it is the sweet singing of Leesa Easton, another great female vocalist that I hope records a strictly reggae album.
In "God's Word", this artist ventures even deeper into his reggae roots over a bubbly reggae rhythm replete with a classic Abyssinian horn line. Following is the dubbed out "rise Up," that causes my ears to open even wider. The roots continue to flow with "Eternity", a song clearly inspired by Bob Marley's "Zimbabwe"; "Every man has a right to decide his own destiny." But Geneman redirects this quote from the freedom of one African nation to the eternal salvation of man in light of our eminent death and judgment.
On the final cut, "Revelation Song", Geneman is backed by a live band, something that many of you have not heard since he graced "Emancipation Proclamation" on Christafari's "WordSound&Power". This is what we have been waiting for! Come-now-man, gimme some-more a dat! I guess we will have to wait...
Overall, it is refreshing to hear a contemporary gospel reggae album that isn't about fighting Satan or how "bad" the artist's crew is--make no mistake, from the first hit to the last note, this album is about one person; Jesus Christ.
On this slamming second effort, rugged and raw reggae vocals are plentiful as only Geneman can deliver. Packed with throbbing bass, this recording is fit for any roots lover. The songwriting is original, and the musical arrangements are tight. There are also a few nice instrumental grooves at the end of some of his more dub-worthy tunes. The only beef that I have with this release is the song order, something easily fixed with your CD player's remote control. Note: If you are a serious roots aficionado, skip the filler and start with track 4 when you pop the CD in. Although it initially took some time to grow on me, now I can't seem to take "The Light" out of my CD player! Geneman has outdone himself and made the six-year wait well worth it! If you like roots reggae, you will LOVE this album! And if you haven't heard his first release don't forget to grab yourself a copy of "Righteous in Christ," while you are shopping.
Review by Mark Mohr
- Interlude (Christ Is Alive)
- Christ Is Alive
- The Light
- Heart Of A Servant
- Reaching The Prize
- Gangster Man
- Practice What You Preach
- Interlude (Remember)
- Gods Word
- Rise Up
- Revelation Song