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Bushwood | Bushwood

album review by John Powell

Bushwood | Bushwood

Contemporary reggae music is generally dedicated to the two opposite ends of the US: southern California and New York/Massachusetts. That’s all well and good, but don’t forget to check out the Sunshine State, where Bushwood, hailing from Fort Lauderdale, continue the upward streak of putting Florida reggae on the map.

Granted, these boys sound more Dispatch than Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad or Iration, but no one minds an album of acoustic-driven, reggae-inflected songs about sun and fun. Bushwood’s self-titled full-length rarely travels below surface level lyrics about first dates and partying on the beach, but you’re likely not listening to them in the first place unless you’re in search of inspiring a beach party.

The opener, “Red and White”, flies on a minor chord groove and moving rhythm lines. “I woke up early this morning,” lead singer Steve Voronokov starts, “Sunshine shining through my window pane.” Immediately is my sole criticism: for guys that get reggae music, please dig deeper. Stretch your rhymes and lines and avoid anything cliché. Bushwood doesn’t always do this.

Yet, whatever they miss in the singing is picked up by the instrumentation. Steve is also an amazing guitarist. The riffs are exemplary of this style. The grooves set by Adam Moskowitz, Jon Cross, and Claudio Napoles are spot on. “By The Water” deserves a Most Played spot on your iTunes. It’s sexy, sweet, and rootsy. “Come with me/ and take in everything,” Steve begs. “I want to lay you down and kiss you by the water.” It’s gold.

Some songs, like “Summertime”, have a looser production sound than other tracks. This song really puts on the 90s pop airs, like Dispatch or Guster, and then suddenly switches gears into a low reggae drawl. Pepper in Blues Traveler and Jimmy Buffet and you have “Drop the Anchor”, a Southern-speckled song ditching reggae altogether. I say why not only because it succeeds as a great song.

“Ramblin’ Soul” is another stand out track. It dubs out briefly, and mixes deep roots reggae with modern pop songwriting. “I’ve been searchin’ for something worth fighting for,” Steve sighs. “I’ll take you away to the palm trees,” he continues, and then, “Everybody wants somebody/ and a place to call their own.” Again, the lyrics are good, but very even-keeled.

Bushwood no doubt marks the start of a band’s possibilities. If they expand their focus from love songs and songs about “making love”, then they’ll really have something. With a second release coming in tow, it’ll be interesting to hear how playing out and a little time reflecting on this record evolves Bushwood’s ever-growing body of work.

Bottom line: Fun, acoustic reggae is simple, pretty, and head-clearing music. Highly recommended for the summertime fan.


0 # Adam, BUSHWOOD 2012-09-28 13:11
Thanks for the review John! To all of your readers, just wanted to let you know that the above album came out April 2011. We have since been working on our 2nd album, and we can promise it is LEVELS above our previous effort. We will let you all know when it is released, but for now stay tuned at our official site and come see us live if you live in FLORIDA! Thank you!
Peace, Love, & SoFla Reggae!


Twitter: (@BushwoodBand)



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