Jam-Tex Top Ten!!!

The Jam-Tex Top Ten: June 2008

  1. She & HimVolume 1 [Merge Records 2008]
  2. Taj Weekes & AdowaDeidem [Jatta Records 2008]
  3. Richie SpiceGideon Boot [VP Records 2008]
  4. James McMurtryJust Us Kids [Lightning Rod]
  5. Half PintNo Stress Express [Varese Fontana 2008]
  6. Rootz UndergroundMovement [Mystic Urchin Music 2008]
  7. LucianoJah is My Navigator [VP Records 2008]
  8. My Morning JacketEvil Urges [Ato Records 2008]
  9. The RaconteursConsolers of the Lonely [Warner Brothers 2008]
  10. R.E.M.Accelerate [Warner Brothers 2008]
She & Him’s album Volume 1 takes the number one slot because it sounds like nothing else coming out right now. The so-called Indie/Pop/Country mash up makes for a quite refreshing musical experience. It sounds like Phil Specter and without machines. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel make magic on trakcs like “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here.”
Richie Spice, Taj Weekes, Rootz Underground, Half Pint, and Luciano all released essential roots reggae albums this 2008, providing perfect tunes for a beautiful summertime soundtrack.

Richie Spice’s album Gideon Boot and especially the tracks “Di Plane Land” and “Wrap Up A Draw” weave together meaningful message, positive vibes, and sweet reggae music. Taj Weeks’s song “Hollow Display,” Luciano’s “Sweet Jamaica,” Half Pint’s “Babylon Release the Chains,” and the Rootz Underground’s “Hammer” display the best of roots music pulsating out from the Caribbean this summer.

James McMurtry’s album Just Us Kids reveals the feelings of the majority of working-class Texans toward the current presidential administration, making it the best political music coming out of Texas. “Cheney’s Toy,” the searing insightful critique of the failed Bush presidency, captures the political disaster and economic tragedy that is Bush and Cheney’s legacy. Following in the footsteps of the powerful album Childish Things, McMurtry’s Just Us Kids piles on the political criticism soaked in some of the best Texas folk, rock, and roots music blossoming out of the Texas Plains and Hill Country.
Jim James is the voice of modern folk rock, resting atop the rock band from Louisville, Kentucky–My Morning Jacket. The new album Evil Urges displays the Kentuckians’ talent and beckons to the music fan to see these youngsters rock live. For an example of Jim James’s vocal talent listen to his collaborative work with Calexico on the track “Goin to Acapulco” (a Bob Dylan cover) from the soundtrack I’m Not There.

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Jam-Tex Top Ten!!!

Welcome to JamTex

Texas and Jamaica link up connecting roots music traditions here at the JamTex blog. Music pulsates through both cultures, filling the evening air with intoxicating rhythms, beats, and melodies. Jamaican folkways produced amazing original forms of music, including mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, lovers rock, dub, and dancehall. The sounds formulated out of a vast cultural milieu. Music from native Caribs, Africa, China, and India to American musical forms like New Orleans Jazz, Motown Soul, Memphis Rhythm & Blues, Country & Western, and Rock & Roll, which all influenced the Jamaican music experience.

The state of Texas, the most independent state in the United States, geographically sits where continental North America meets Latin America. Flamenco, Tejano, Mariachi, Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Bluegrass, Polka, Western Swing, Zydeco, Folk, and Rock met in Texas and fused into Texas roots music. Some might even argue that blues and jazz music originated out of East Texas, where African Americans like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Scott Joplin changed popular music forever.

As a connoisseur I’ve listened, collected, and appreciated the fine music playing and exploding out of these two North American bastions of sound. Although two very different places, Jamaica and Texas have several interesting similarities, such as a boastful bad boy-outlaw mentality that both cultivate. And the authentic people of both places hold deep soulful attachments to music, which expresses true feelings and reflects societies in Jamrock and Tejas. 

This blog celebrates the new and old music of Jamaica and Texas. It explores the originators like Bob Wills and U-Roy. It pays tribute to the copasetic psalms of Willie Nelson and Bob Marley, to the songwriters, dub pioneers, boss deejays, blues pickers, country fiddlers, and Third Coast rappers. From Austin to Kingston, from the sound systems of Boston Bay to the Fort Worth honky tonks, this blog explores and follows the musical worlds of Jamaica and Texas. Welcome to JamTex!

Welcome to JamTex