music review: Local reggae band 77 Jefferson brings beachy vibe to KC

Kate Baxendale

Local band 77 Jefferson combines reggae and rock to create its own signature sound.

Members Joel Castillo, Miles Brown, Justin Howard, Kyle Crouse and Richard Faught have spent the past five years touring the country, playing nearly 1,000 shows. The band has also collaborated with big reggae names such as Jah Roots and Fortunate Youth.

The band’s fourth album, “Truth and Love,” is a compilation of heartwarming love songs and mellow harmonies. The track “Keep on Movin’” is reminiscent of an uplifting Bob Marley song. The lyrics say, “Don’t you give up, no never give in, you got to keep on movin’.” “Keep on Movin’” is the only track with an essence of rock. A mild guitar interlude toward the end keeps in stride with the steady tempo.

“Waitin’ On” is an endearing love song with simple, beautiful harmonies in its repetitive chorus. The track is a personal favorite because of its beachy vibe. The mellow accompaniment, with its simple loop, makes it one of the more memorable songs on the album.

Lead singer Castillo has spent a lot of time in Hawaii. According to the group website, this “is probably a contributing reason why 77 [Jefferson] captures smooth, laid-back beach vibes while hailing from the heart of America.”

“The Sound” features Eddie Blunt of High Tide, and its uplifting beat makes it perfect for a Friday night party. The track begins with the line, “This is the sound of a new beginning.”

It proceeds with catchy repetition of the line, “Girl, move your body so we know you get down.” “The Sound” is a track that entices the listener to dance to the rhythm of reggae music.

“On the Run” has a funky reggae beat, featuring Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth. This song’s sound is comparable to American rock artist Citizen Cope.  “On The Run” sounds more like a rap as Castillo and Kelly alternately spit sharp  verses.

“Lovely” is a short and sweet track about an unnamed love interest that ends with a stylish saxophone solo as the album fades into the drastically opposite “On the Run.”

“Call Me Up” is a simple and relatable song, ideal for jamming in the car. The catchy chorus and happy melody are sure to brighten an otherwise mundane commute to campus.

“Compare to Nothing” is a romantic date-night song, with lyrics that confess, “I’d do anything to be part of your world.”

The album concludes with the title track “Truth and Love.” The song is a beautiful ending to a smooth and mellow collection of songs. The acoustic guitar complements Castillo’s raw vocals and the lyrics reiterate the album’s message.

Up next: 77 Jefferson is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. on Oct. 18 at The Riot Room.

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