77 Jefferson
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77 Jefferson

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"Sledgehammer"

Sledgehammer (77 Jefferson, 2007)

I'll be the first to admit that I don't usually care for reggae-rock hybrids. I tend to find that the noisy electric aggression nullifies the organic soothingness of reggae. However, Sledgehammer, the debut album from Kansas City quartet 77 Jefferson, is about as good a reggae-rock fusion as I've heard. Its cohesive sound comes partly from the fact that the band doesn't go the loud, brash punk route that a lot of reggae hybrid groups favor. Rather, they go with the natural laid-back flow of reggae and add a similarly easygoing light rock vibe, something akin to the tropical energy of Jack Johnson. It's intriguing that they can capture a "beach vibe," coming from about as far from the ocean as possible in the US. Each track presents a tasty blend of styles, from the dub offering "Mike's Wicked Dub" to the folky, acoustic "Once Again" and "Reggae LP" to the straightforward roots reggae of "Catch and Release" to the pre-digital dancehall jam (with a hip-hop twist) "Youthman" to "Starboard Remix," a spacy mix of jazz and dub. Mellow reggae-rock hybrids like "Same As Before" and the slinky "Show and Low" form the bulk of the album, though, and only on "Out of the Ground" does the rock side threaten to overpower the reggae. Lead singer Joel Castillo's heartfelt vocals propel the tunes with a nasal yet soulful tone, offset by occasional echoes and distortion effects that give it all a modern flair. It's rare that you can say that any album, regardless of genre, has a fresh, unique sound, but Slegehammer is such an album. Ironically, it doesn't hit you hard like a sledgehammer, but rather flows over you like a cool breeze. Hear for yourself at www.myspace.com/77jefferson or cdbaby.com.






Track Listing
1. Righteous
2. Slow and Low
3. Same As Before
4. Got That Day Off
5. Don't Get It Twisted
6. Mike's Wicked Dub
7. Once Again
8. Youthman
9. Stay Wise
10. Come Out Tonight
11. Out of the Ground
12. Everything Change
13. Starboard [Remix]
14. Reggae LP
15. Catch and Release

- www. reggae-reviews. com/77jefferson. html


Discography

"Sledgehammer" (2008)
Available on cdbaby.com and itunes.
www.cdbaby.com/cd/77jefferson
streaming tracks available @ www.myspace.com/7jefferson

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Bio

Joel Castillo, Ryan Castillo, Miles Brown, and Mike Dunn began playing together in the summer of 2006 in a basement on 77th and Jefferson in Kansas City, Missouri. They recorded a 7-song EP/Demo called "Songs For Selene" and played their first show in September of 2006 at Californos in Westport KC, MO. They have been touring for the last 3 years having played over 250 shows in over 100 cities and 20 states promoting their debut album "Sledgehammer," which was released February 23rd, 2007. 77 has earned a reputation for giving high-energy performances all across the Midwest and beyond and endorses an organic "do it yourself" mindset by writing, recording, and producing their own music. 77 Jefferson has helped to promote and encourage a reggae uprising in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest. In two years, 77 has played many festivals such as Wakarusa 2008, Tulsa Reggae Festival 2008, Peoria Reggae by the Riverfront 2008, Gaea Retreat Summerfest 2008, Jah Roots Summerfest 2008, KC Hempfest 2008, Kansas City Reggae by the River 2007, The Crossroads Music Festival 2007, Roots Family Reunion Festival 2007, Jah Roots 420 Reggae Festivals 2007 and 2008, and many more. 77 Jefferson has shared the stage with many internationally known reggae artists such as Lee "Scratch" Perry, Luciano, Mikey General, Ossie Dellimore, Sugar Minott, Junior Reid, Yabba Griffiths, Devon Brown, Yankee B, Pato Banton, Jah Roots, The Mystic Roots Band, and Karly Roots. They have also played with many other artists of different genres like Cas Haley, Steve Ewing (The Urge), Whild Peach, Part One Tribe, Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, 3rd Alley, Josh Fischel, and many more. Their latest album "Sledgehammer," is available on itunes, cdbaby, and participating distributors and retail stores across the globe. 77 Jefferson highly encourages copying, downloading, and burning their music. 77 is currently recording their second album at KC Recordings, which will be available this fall.