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SOJA gets poetic

BY KEVIN JACKSON
Observer Writer

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poetry in Motion, the seventh studio album from Virginia-based reggae band SOJA, was released on Friday. The 11-track set released on the ATO Records label (a label founded by rocker Dave Matthews) features songs that focus on global affairs.

Life Support, Bad News, Sing to Me, I Found You, Moving Stones and Fire in the Sky are some of the tracks which tackle issues.

SOJA was originally formed in Arlington, Virginia in 1997. Its current line-up comprises Jacob Hemphill (lead vocals), drummer Ryan Berty, bassist Robert “Bobby Lee” Jefferson, Kenneth Brownell on percussion saxophonist Hellman Escorcia, Patrick O'Shea on keyboards, trumpeter Rafael Rodriguez, and Trevor Young, lead guitar and harmonies.

SOJA's previous studio release, 2014's Amid the Noise and Haste, produced by Dwayne “Supa Dups” Chin-Quee, became the group's highest-charting title on the Billboard 200 albums chart when it debuted at number 20. The album earned the group its first Grammy nomination for Best Reggae album.

Their second Grammy nomination was earned from its 2016 release SOJA: Live in Virginia.

SOJA has scored three number one titles on the Billboard Reggae album chart. 2012's Strength to Survive, which sold more than 60,000 copies, topped the chart for multiple weeks; so too Amid the Noise and Haste.

SOJA: Live in Virginia was also a chart topper.

SOJA performed in Jamaica at the 2015 edition of the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival in Trelawny.