Everton Blender

Visionary

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Reggae fans will surely enjoy Everton Blender's winning island collection Visionary, which takes listeners on an hour-long Rasta ride that stays faithful to the genre. Lyrically, listeners uninitiated with Rasta culture and dialect may have a difficult time deciphering some of the words to Blender's songs. To that end, a read through the liner notes is recommended, as Blender's wordplay is gloriously steeped in heritage and inner strength. The laid-back and sunny "Lovers' Holiday" is a steady grooving reggae fiesta that puts forth the simple and charming gesture, "I want to make a date with you/and make my dreams come true." It is reminiscent of Bob Marley's charming "Three Little Birds." Blender takes another romantic turn on the bright and innocent "Loving You." Beenie Man guests on the effective, signature life-is-hard reggae song that is "Slackness," while the jammin' "Jah Never Fail I Yet" inspires audiences' inner warrior to, with love and dignity, persevere against all odds. "Kanta" continues on the album's prevalent endurance theme, and is a banner moment where Blender serves up speedier, meatier reggae fare. This song has a bit of a militant edge to it as Blender sings, "They want to see my family walk and beg bread/They want to see I lose my head." This is a powerful song with great meaning and symbolism. Legalizing pot gets a nod on "Brain Food," which questions, "How you fi legalize them gun/and no legalize the herb?" The song really captures the essence of marijuana's high regard in Rasta culture and, after listening, presents a good case on its behalf. There are plenty of reggae artists who try to inject something different to the genre, to create a sort of neo-reggae. While this proves successful sometimes -- such as in the case of Shabba Ranks -- sometimes it's just cool to stay faithful to the tried and true, which Blender does, and does so well. He is an uplifting visionary, indeed.

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