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Reggae from the snowbelt

Burning Bush
Burning Bush
By The Uplifters

Self-released: 2002

Buy it now

This review first appeared in the Autumn 2002 issue of Turbula.

Providing what should be unneeded evidence that a music style, once created, belongs to the world are Massachusetts' The Uplifters.

A reggae band from the Northeast corridor? And why not? Can rhythms not be learned, styles studied? After all, a Japanese band won the world salsa contest a few years back, an American combo won a Celtic music competition in Eire, and a German outfit recently came to the U.S. and won a bluegrass play-off.

The Uplifters would probably be even tougher on the purists if they played a very strict definition of reggae, the way white Dixieland bands sticking to the original definition of jazz manage to so grate on the nerves of jazz critics.

But The Upflifters' music covers a lot of ground. Based on reggae, it includes rock, R&B and jazz elements – sort of like the best music coming out of Jamaica, come to think of it.

There's a pleasant little groove going on here, with a solid rhythm sections and a tight little horn section. David Linhart's vocals don't have a lot of range, but he knows the limits of his instrument and stays safely within them.

What the band doesn't have yet is any truly memorable songs. All baker's dozen songs here were written by the members of The Uplifters, and while all are nice enough, none really stick in your head once the CD is over.

They come up with a great song or two, and The Uplifters may be ready to take on Jamaica's best.