NEVER GONNA BE THE SAME
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Produced by: Lewis Richards
TILL THE MORNING EP
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Produced by: Arne Frager
Marin reggae band Fighting Smokey Joe releases its first full-length album with “Never Gonna Be the Same,” a collection of bouncy original tunes broken up by the title track, the record’s lone ballad.
Mill Valley-based lead singer Monica Thiede and guitarist Dave Powell, who formed Fighting Smokey Joe in 2010, stick to the same reggae pop formula that made last year’s EP, “Till the Morning,” such a promising beginning for the band.
Once again, Thiede and Powell show a flair for the catchy hook and a command of the off beat rhythms and upstroke guitar chords that make reggae so irresistible as dance music. The horn section of Chris Traynor and Adrian Olmos punch up the sound, adding much-needed variety.
Powell takes flight with some imaginative and impressive guitar work on “Let You Go” and has some fun with the spaghetti western intro to the tune “You Will Never Know.”
As a lead singer, Thiede’s powerful alto and emotional delivery cut a pioneering path in a genre dominated by men. Bassists Tim Baker and Lewis Richards team with drummer Scott Wittenberg to build a rock solid rhythm section. Lacey Johnson adds backing vocals.
The album was recorded at 17th Street Recording Studios in Southern California’s Costa Mesa with Richards producing. He also plays guitar and bass on the title track, the ballad that closes the album and breaks from the standard reggae groove of the first nine songs on the album. Thiede sings with passion and commitment on the song, which is reminiscent of some of the open tuning hits by the Rolling Stones. “Never Gonna Be the Same” shows that Fighting Smokey Joe doesn’t always have to be the same. – Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal
“All I Need Is You,” has all the elements of a hit radio single – Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal
“A mix of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, and Sublime all in one bite, Fighting Smokey Joe is just getting goin’ but they’re already fightin’ and smokin’.” – Pacific Sun