Jahmings Maccow: “I” – explores new areas without losing reggae authenticity

Jahmings Maccow was born in Crocus Hill overlooking Crocus Bay on the Island of Anguilla, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. Jahmings started singing and playing the harmonica at the age of 5 with a choral group at school in St. Kitts. At the age of 8 he built a steel drum and tuned it himself with excellent results. And by the time he was nine everyone in Anguilla was talking about him as one of the best singers and poets in school. Jahmings Maccow  became the leader of the “Public Works Steel Band” at 12 and the keyboardist of the band “The Flames” at 13 in St. Thomas.

Jahmings Maccow moved to New York City, and the 42nd Street Movie Theatre is where it all happened for him during the late 70’s and early 80’s. From there it was on to Studio 45 where Jahmings and his band, Catch-A-Fire Band had a fortunate spell. After disagreements, the band broke up and Jahmings moved on to the South Bronx where he formed “The Enforcers”, doing studio work for studio work for artists such as Max Romeo and Sugar Minott. In the fall of ’87 Jahmings moved to Los Angeles where he attended the Dick Grove Music School, while finding success as a songwriter.

Jahmings Maccow
Jahmings Maccow

Jahmings Maccow has continued to make music, and on “I” he exhibits his worthiness with what could be considered the most solid and consistent of his solo efforts. Jahmings continues to push the musical boundaries of reggae while always having a rootsy foundation, as he moves through rock and blues territory. There are no bad Jahmings songs and this 3-track EP reinforces my opinion.

From when Jahmings kick off the EP with the slow-burning “Passing Through”, he explores new areas without losing his reggae authenticity. But he separates himself from the plethora of cookie cutter reggae musicians out there. The deceivingly simple, yet profound lyrics do an exceptional job of synchronizing many ideas that you’ve probably been trying to coordinate in your head. By the time you hit the second and title track, “I”, you will be totally in love with Jahmings’ voice. It is edgy, but smooth and soothing, and incredibly easy to listen to. This track is intense, radiating Jahmings’ creativity with a personal, introspective backdrop that spouts truth in every direction.

However it’s “Horizon Train” that truly captures my attention. It is in constant rotation in my car, my bedroom, the living room, my work studio –  the track bridges the gap between roots reggae and that catchy mainstream, modern pop sound, in the same way Bob Marley so easily manipulated this specific melodic and rhythmic blend. In fact, “Horizon Train” wouldn’t be out of place on any classic Marley album. This is an excellent crossover track, with Jahmings displaying skilled lyrical delivery and an unmistakable charisma over a beat that chugs and grinds like a steam train building its momentum. You will find yourself humming and singing along before you know it!

“I” is the type of EP that never gets old, just sit down put the music on and follow along with the words and become addicted. Jahmings Maccow comes from another generation of musicians and his music shows how the dumbing down of the American music scene has been so successful. Jahmings is far removed from the hype and gadgetry, preferring a more musical, spiritual and personal perspective, which is beautiful. As the EP goes on, you can sense this classic feel and sensitive approach, which is very soothing. That being said, this is an intensely spirited recording with great lyrics and solid music that will blow your socks off!!

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