Ashes of Babylon
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Ashes of Babylon

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Rock Reggae

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"**REVIEW** Ashes Of Babylon - Revolutionary Roots (2008 Center Street Records)"


Let me just start off by saying I literally have thousands of reggae albums and have been collecting for over a decade now, physically, digitally, however I can get my reggae crackhead fix next... thems jokes. Seriously though, I am a reggae psycho and pride my self on knowing alot about the genre and all the different artists and bands, current and veterans. But every once in a while a band or singer slips through that has been out for a few years but I have managed to miss. This band and album is one of those. A rare gem that I can't believe the rest of the world doesn't know about. Out of Austin,Texas comes Ashes of Babylon, a killer horn driven, 8 piece band with songs that are beyond catchy and harmony vocals & horns so nice it makes me want to catch the next flight to see them play live! If I had the money to blow on pleasure like that of course : ) 
The album starts off with the song "Brighter Day" a good song with scruff vocals and a nice horn intro, the song is good but the next song "One Of Those Things" is where the album starts really showing it's catchiness and songwriting skills. The intro starts with the singer, bass line and horns all singing and playing the same melody together in a way that sounds so good. Then the song just breaks into a nice old school R&Bish type reggae feel even with the "Oooh Wooo" backing vocals, then into a cymbal ride in reggae ?? almost unexplored territory usually. This band sounds so good and different and yet timeless and even without watching a youtube video you know they are gonna be AMAZING live! The third song "Making A Mistake" is just perfect in my opinion. A beautiful horn intro and then the singer, Corey's lyrics & voice (which I can't believe I haven't touched on yet) really makes this song. "Baby I'm sorry for all the stupid things I said, hurts me every time that I play it over in my head, I don't know what I was thinking, but if your not in my boat then it might as well be sinking" NICE! A great great different kind of lovers rock tune. Especially in a time when Gregory just died and it seems there are not that many around anymore, with the exception of Glen Washington who is very slow to release albums. Not that this band is a lovers reggae band at all, but just saying when they do these kind of tunes, it seems to be there nitch. With that being said, the fourth track "Rocksteady Tune" just exemplifies my opinion even more. While it's a good song for sure and definitely listenable, it just lacks the catchiness of the others. But again not bad at all, especially the dancehall mix's & dj vocals towards the end of the song. "My Woman", the fifth song, gets back to the lovers groove. Probably the best song on the cd or 2nd best song, the song starts with a nice guitar, bass and drums groove into the super catchy chorus "My Woman..." everything about this song just emits awesomeness. The subtle backup vocals, the horn parts, the FANTASTIC snare drum that pounds the song into making your head bob without thinking and again a ride on the cymbal into a beautiful ?saxophone?(I think) solo. "The ending with the "My woman" vocals repeated into the horn solo's makes a perfect ending to this great great tune. #6, "Meditations" is just SICK! Probably the nicest & catchiest 2 and half minute weed tune I've heard in a long time. Just listen to it... The 7th song, "Tell Me Why" is in the top 3 best songs on the cd. It starts with a nice verse but melts into a beautifully sung chorus that to me, vocally, sounds exactly like Quique Niera (formerly of Gondwana). It's crazy how much their voices sound similar. The ending of the song is beautiful with the guitar solo and "Make me feel so low"... The final song is "Our Stock Skyrockets". I just don't get it? This song just loses me completely. But after this song is over there is a very nice hidden gem about 20 or 30 seconds after the last song. It sounds like a live take and starts with horns and bass drums into a shuffle reggae beat and different horn solo's. Then at about 8 minutes it takes a turn into a full on song. A skanking horn driven sounding song with the chorus "I'm feeling good today, I know were on our way" then a sick horn part and breaks & stops that kill in tightness. This is a nice 10 minute, live ending jam to an overall pretty damn good studio cd. A good idea for an ending to a studio album for sure. Overall, this cd does have some songs that I didn't go crazy for but the others make up for it by being more than above average. This cd contains some of my favorite reggae songs ever, and for that, I have to recommend that if you ever have the chance to see this band live or to buy their albums in a store, DO IT!!

- Best Of Reggae (Dec 2010)


"Ashes of Babylon releases first CD "Revolutionary Roots""

For a band that had 150 people at their second showever, it's about time local band Ashes of Babylon released its first album, "Revolutionary Roots"
For the past three years, the six-piece reggae band has been depending on live performances to harness fans - and by doing so has built up a dedicated following.Now, after numerous shows from Austin to all along the southern Louisiana coast, AOB has something to sand home with their fans.
The goal was simple: to make a quality polished record that still captured the "live show" feel that is the Ashes experience.
"Revolutionary Roots" was recorded in bass player Eric Daigle's bedroom, but the album has a professional sound. "Of course there are some vocal spots I wish I could go back and tweak, but overall, we're pleased," said singer/guitarist/baritone player Corey Saucier.
The dynamics that go into recording a CD with three-part horn harmonies and two-and-three-part vocal harmonies are complicated, but AOB has made it sound easy.
"Sometimes you lose some of the horns when there are vocal harmonies and vice versa, so one of our main challenges was to keep all the tracks balanced so the listener can hear everything," Daigle said.
In the first track, "Brighter Day," the listener is immediately hit with the sound of percussionist Dan Robertson's rolling toms - then, moments later, by the unmistakable horn section. No one talks about drumming in Lake Charles without mentioning Robertson, so it is fitting that one hears him first. When Saucier's vocals come in, the whole picture begins to focus and the listener is aboard the AOB journey. The chorus begs, "Because we're workin' on a better way/And we're waiting on a brigher day."
This message of positivity and hope continues on throughout the CD - especially in the uptempo "Rocksteady Tune," with its calypso chorus and dancehall breakdown.
The rest of the album brings love songs which reggae is famous for. The one that stands out the most is "One of Those Things."
"It's definitely one of our poppier tunes on the album," Saucier said. It's the type of song that makes it OK to go talk to that person you've been dying to dance with for so long.
The album ends with a special appearance by newly rejoined band member Beau Guidry putting some poetry in motion. This tune reiterates the fact that AOB is not afraid to move out of reggae genres and into hip-hop, dub, or whatever musical landscape the band feels compelled to include.
The AOB crew had a CD release party for "Revolutionary Roots" at Luna's on Saturday.
Check out news, show dates, and more about the band at www.myspace.com/theashesofbabylon - Chris Shearman / American Press


""Ashes of Babylon: Headed For the Big Time & the Big State of Texas""

When you first lay eyes on Ashes of Babylon, if you do a double take, well you're not the first and you won't be the last. For seven white guys playing reggae music with such authenticity, the shocked reaction is a compliment.
The undeniable leader of AOB is Corey Saucier, 24, who is responsible for uniting the group's unique sound. The Sulphur native relocated to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands just after his junior year in high school when his father was transferred there.
Of course, it was pretty much a culture shock for the teenager, who was a musician, but was not a fan of reggae music at the time. He soon found that he would have little choice in the matter.
"It's pretty much all you listen to, it's all they have on the radio there," Saucier said. He remembers the first reggae song he heard on the radio-a dancehall song with lots of sirens and sound effects."I thought I would hate it, but I ended up loving it."
While he was in St. Croix, he met schoolmate Jeremy Crenshaw and his brother Jacob who were from Zachary, LA. The three started playing music together and continued playing when they moved to Georgia after high school.
Then came a twist of fate. On Easter of 2006, Saucier's parent's house burned down. It was after that incident that Saucier decided he needed to make a change. After living away from Southwest Louisiana for about five years, he returned, and quickly looked up some old friends.
He hooked up with his cousin Beau Guidry, 28, and their friends and fellow musicians Sam Chapman, 22; Max Sprigg, 22; Eric Daigle, 28, and Dan Robertson, 28. Jacob Crenshaw, 28, also joined the group. Saucier was ready to start playing and recording right away, and even had songs written before the group came together.
But, his fellow musicians, all from Sulphur except Crenshaw, had limited exposure to reggae, and would need to develop the same appreciation for it that Saucier had.
"That music was too slow for me to listen to at the time," Chapman, whose musical background includes Sulphur High School band and McNeese Jazz Ensemble, was playing punk and ska music at the time.
The band's early recordings helped to sway opinions. "I really didn't like reggae music, but when I heard what he (Saucier) recorded, it made me like it," Chapman said. "Corey plays some people's songs better than they do."
Under Saucier's direction, AOB developed a genuine sound that is very unique in this area. Just two days after coming together as aband, they played their first live show. And their live performances became the foundation for their success. They travelled around the state, building a fan base. Many of their fans were being introduced to reggae for the first time.
"Most people, when they think of reggae, they think of Bob Marley, like reggae and Bob Marley are interchangeable," Saucier said. "But there is so much other stuff out there. It's good stuff, thought-provoking stuff."
Ashes of Babylon are proud that they have opened up south Louisiana to a different genre of music. They sought to expand their audience with the recording of "Revolutionary Roots," their first album.
They recorded a CD themselves in bass player Daigle's bedroom. But the result sounds far from homemade. They created a professional-quality piece that captured the band's live show vibe. And they are proud to say their sales just went international. "Someone from Canada bought our CD on iTunes," Saucier laughed.
To say that their fans are important to them would be putting it mildly. Chapman and Saucier recount negative experiences they have had when meeting musicians they admired. Regardless of level of success they achieve, they are determined to never let their fans have that experience.
"I would rather somebody think our music isn't great than think I am not a good person," Saucier said.
That sort of reputation is a priority for AOB. In addition to recording their album themselves, they book their own shows and handle their own business. So, they are very aware of the impression they are leaving. And, anything short of professional is unacceptable.
"We played Chelsea's in Baton Rouge and the management complimented us on our professionalism," Saucier said.
They also put the same care and attention into their live shows. The goal is simple...they want the audience to have a good time. "We like to get a big crowd and get people dancing," Saucier said. "That's where the gratification is." Chapman added that it is a disappointment when an artist doesn't care about their live show.
Being a musician is about more than creating a sound in the studio. When you are playing live, there are no special effects to hide behind. These serious musicians are determined to that what you hear on their CD is what you hear when they play live. They see a successful fture including being on the road more, playing live music. They also have an appreciation for "grassroots fans." - The Times of Southwest Louisiana


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Hailing from Lake Charles, Louisiana and now based out of Austin, Texas, Ashes of Babylon is an eight-piece original reggae band. With a sound that is self-described as Louisiana Reggae, Ashes of Babylon also incorporates elements of rock, funk, soul, hip-hop, and R&B. Boasting four songwriters with unique perspectives on life and music, you'll find that the band's live shows are kept fresh by their members' abilities to change instruments and revise their own compositions on the fly. Formed in August of 2006, AoB has performed all over the south from Austin, Texas to Columbus, Georgia. The band prides itself on its performance, believing that a solid live show should be the cornerstone for their success. Since its inception, Ashes of Babylon has also cut two studio albums and amassed a catalogue of over 50 original songs. Their first album, Revolutionary Roots, was self-produced and released in November of 2008. The feeling of this album was envisioned to give an authentic picture of the band's live performance. Their sophomore album, Day To Day Living, was recorded at Yellow DOG Studios in Austin, TX and released in July 2011. This album started out in the top 30 of the iTunes reggae charts; however, both albums have been met with much critical success within the reggae genre. Both of Ashes of Babylon's albums are available for purchase on iTunes and CD Baby, and they can be found streaming online at Pandora Radio, LastFM, and ReverbNation.
Ashes of Babylon has shared a billing with numerous artists including Tribal Seeds, Fortunate Youth, Galactic, The Original Wailers, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Flaming Lips, Cas Haley, Primus, Easy Star All-Stars, Passafire, Soul Rebels, The Movement, Givers, The Green, Collies Buddz, Josh Heinrichs, Grupo Fantasmo, Blues Traveler, Sierra Leone All-Stars, and many more.