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ALBUM REVIEW BY MARLON: “IT IS WRITTEN!”

Marlon Burrell

By Marlon Burrell

The number seven in Christianity is symbolic of among other things, completion and perfection. Inspirational reggae artist Wayne Stoddart seemingly got the seven year itch, as his last album “Love Convictions” was released seven years ago in 2007. During that time, he has not been musically dormant and his work has culminated in his latest album “It Is Written.” This project finds him in his usual roots, rock, reggae mode with inspirational messages. It also shows musical and artistic growth with a willingness to experiment. Stoddart who serves as executive producer, made the decision to install Wailers and Reggae Force band member Aston Barrett Jr. as the album’s producer which turns out to be a prudent decision. This is Barrett’s first stab at producing an entire album (all but one song) but you couldn’t tell by the end result. He does have production experience and musical pedigree in his favor, which is masterfully displayed here. He plays live drums on all but one track and the influence of his late uncle Carlton Barrett of Bob Marley & The Wailers fame is evident. He also plays bass on three of the tracks which is his father Aston Sr.’s primary instrument in his role as music director of the world-renowned Wailers. Barrett Jr. is also a multi-instrumentalist like his father and his musicianship on various instruments is displayed throughout this project.

WayneStoddart:ItIsWritten

All of the songs on this album were written by Stoddart with three co-authored. The songs convey Christian themes effectively without being preachy and are enhanced by expert production. “Three C’s” demonstrates this balance perfectly and is laced with sweet harmonies that can be found through the whole album. Stoddart wrote the song over ten years ago but decided to wait for the right musicians to work on the song. That is a seemingly a divinely inspired move. It was released as a single in 2012 and is featured in the movie “Disorientation” that same year. It is presented here with a new mix.  “Turn It Around” is another outstanding track with a hard hitting rhythm and first rate saxophone phrasings as always from the great Dean Fraser. There are three vocal collaborations here and the guests were perfect choices for their respective songs. St. Matthew shines brightly on “Righteous Revolution” where a DJ style reminiscent of Sizzla is present. This is a powerful cut worthy of massive reggae airplay. Tamara Brooks (aka Tamara James/Teena Tamara) formally of the female group TNJ gives an outstanding vocal output on “Taking Over” with Stoddart playing the role of the DJ and Mr. Fraser playing expertly on the sax. “Black And White” features DJ Troy Genius who is Red Rat’s brother. Another track that is really worthwhile is “Fulfilment Of The Bible” which Stoddart originally recorded in 1996 as the lead singer of the group Dynamis. It was his first recording. It is given new treatment by Barrett and what a treat it is.

Wayne Stoddart

Wayne Stoddart

This album features exceptional production and musicianship as well a musical diversity. Check out the country styled “Back To My Life” where the two genres are segued seamlessly. How about some modern day ska? It’s found here with “Dance In The Rain.” There is roots reggae with a contemporary feel on “Charity” and “Settle Down,” the latter produced by Dale “Dr. Dizzle” Virgo. There is even a piece of dub here where “Charity” is deconstructed to its bare essentials. This seemingly lost art is on display here with engineer Rohan Dwyer’s mixing skills at front and center. There is plenty of good music to be found here. The musical and production standards are high and there are plenty of life application messages. “It Is Written” has lots of balance with several musical gems and is a great listen.

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