Kingston Blues

by The Rhythm Express

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released September 19, 2016

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The Rhythm Express Toronto, Ontario

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Track Name: Many Rivers to Cross
The Rhythm Express Kingston Blues Side Door Records/7 Arts

Year two in Side Door Records recording studio, Rhythm Express finds their community voice penning six of the twelve songs on Kingston Blues.

Title track Kingston Blues is a ska rhythm with an elongated blues built in, the handiwork of Jesse “Dubmatix” King. This is where the communal side of the Express kicks in. Bill King steps back in time and scripts horn lines that could easily reside in the vocabulary of such Jamaican bands, the Skatalites. Everton and Liza Paul scripted lyrics that speak of the landscape elder Paul traveled in his youth; the Kingston clubs, neighborhoods, recording studios and celebrates those masters who paved the way. Vocalist Maiko Watson gives a laid back read keeping the melody true to the times - in the spirit of women who popularized reggae and ska.

The covers are there – Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me” featuring guest artist Jon Knight of the band Soulstack and Julian Taylor’s roots reggae interpretation of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross.” Band mainstays – Michael Dunston scores with an honest remake of Aaron Neville’s classic – “Hercules” and James Fountain’s Northern Soul hit, “Seven Day Lover.” Ammoye Evans revives Vivian Lee’s Brooklyn New York based underground hit, “Hard Driver” and Maiko Watson sailed into the holidays with a New Orleans blues classic and seasonal special by guitar giant Sonny Landreth – “Got to Get You Under My Tree.”
The band is now firm, and front line singers have settled in after the departure of two ground floor members, Selena Evangeline and Gavin Hope.

The Express follows the same blue print from year one; release a single a month. Each song gets special attention and time to find an international audience courtesy Radiodirectx.com.

“John Holden 9/10 – Hercules - #1 The Rhythm Express have come up with yet another classic. I love the reggae style incorporating keyboards and guitar. As usual the group has picked a song that is strong lyrically and melodically and dressed it up with a great arrangement. Hercules should command widespread appeal. John Holden, 2BACR FM100.9, Australia”
“Nigel Chorley 10/10 – Soul Nation - #1 The Temptations meet Gwen Guthrie to name just two!!! Cracking and just right for my soul show on Seahaven FM. I will add this to Friday show next week. I love this style from Rhythm Express.”

“WUTK-FM 9/10 #1 – Day in May - R&B mixed with soul...and a little bit of down tempo funk with a sprinkling of jazz mixed in. Sounds like a hit to me! Will send this one on to The Rock, and "Soul Power"!
“eldoradio*9/10 #1 – Hard Driver - A super funky track, lots of pace, nice instrumentation and great vocals. If the mic sound was a bit more “damaged”, I could not tell when it was produced, very authentic! This could be an instant classic on all funk parties! Niceness galore, good for upliftment and car chases alike! Strongly recommended and airplay guaranteed!”

The rhythm section is still a tight brotherhood composed of guitarist/engineer Shane “Shaky J” Forrest; drums/percussion/executive producer - Everton “Pablo” Paul, bassist/graphic arts “Dubmatix” King, keyboards/producer/arranger Bill King.

The voices are incredible – all with years singing soul/pop/reggae/and funk. Maiko Watson, Michael Dunston and Ammoye Evans.
The horn section still among the best; Christopher Butcher trombone, Alexander Brown trumpet, Bobby Hsu alto sax and Michael Arthurs tenor sax.
Track Name: Day in May
The Rhythm Express “Day in May” featuring Maiko Watson
Season two for the Rhythm Express has seen an alteration in the front line with the addition of former girl group member - Sugar Jones, winners of the first season of Popstars in 2001 – Maiko Watson. Sugar Jones scored a #1 hit in Canada with “Day’s Like This” and has sold over 200,000 recordings.

With the relocation of supreme frontline vocalist/guitarist Selena Evangeline to London, England the call went out for a side-mate to compliment the steady presence of singers Michael Dunston and Ammoye Evans. Express drummer Everton “Pablo” Paul consulted with daughter Liza Paul, a gifted playwright /performing artist herself and Maiko’s name was put forward.

First season the Express explored the voluptuous catalogue of ska, reggae, funk, soul and New Orleans classics. Year two – it’s all about the originals - a band caught up writing their own material. Watson not only brings a voice packed with punch, clarity, big soul and immediacy - she’s also a gifted composer/writer. Evidence of that is the universally accepted – Soul Nation – lyric scripted by partner Michael Dunston – another member of the Express with a flair for writing on point, additionally expressed in his timely message in Black Lives Matter/The Ghetto – from 2015.

Recently, the rhythm section caught fire with the original, “Welcome to Funkastan,” a throw-back to the James Brown/Sly & Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire era.

Singer Ammoye is riding the number #1 position on the reggae charts with “Sorry.” Jesse “Dubmatix” has been touring, a big presence in the European reggae circuit – both as a performer and producer.
For the Express, it’s all about the studio - that one new single each month.

Entering June we have a gem, “Day in May” a collective write between rhythm section and Watson. Maiko sculpted a gorgeous neo-soul melody and poignant lyrics over a rhythm/chord base. It all starts with the four-piece; an idea, a scrap of paper, a feel and then turned over to the front line.

Day in May is both sensual and timely. It’s the seasons in big change; rebirth, empowerment, the flowering of new relationships - resolution!
Set free, Watson pushes the harmonic structure with vocals vertically stacked over free-flowing melodic motifs that weave, intersect and cross one another – having more to do with a finely crafted jazz solo than contrived radio fare. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit radio – on the contrary. With summer’s heat and long restful nights, tempos slow and melt into an aural/visual mix.

Lead vocal/backgrounds Maiko Watson
Executive Producer/drums: Everton “Pablo” Paul
Producer/arranger/keys: Bill King
Engineer/guitar: Shane “Shakey J” Forrest
Graphic Design/bass: Jesse “Dubmatix” King
Day in May: Lyrics Maiko Watson - Composed: Watson, Bill King, Everton Paul, Shane Forrest, Jesse King.
7 Arts/ Side Door records