Standing outside Rafaela’s in Fort Lauderdale, it’s after 2:00am and people are finally leaving, everyone carrying signed posters or a copy of G Cole’s brand new album “Ocho Rios”. All looking quite pleased, and rightfully so, they just attended a listening party for G Cole’s new album and were the first to hear the complete record and see him perform two songs. A beautiful record it is.
This is the second album from the singer from Ocho Rios Jamaica. The first “This Music Vol 1” was released in 2007, and since then he’s been traveling and taking his music to the world with his band “Wraps and Kush”, a talented group of musicians who also hail from Jamaica. There were several members of the reggae community as well as radio and media persons in attendance, each got to ask questions in an open forum.
It’s here that I found out the story of this album, a personal record indeed, it has songs about and dedicated to the ladies in his life; his daughter, his wife, and his late mother. Emotions were very apparent when he spoke about his mother, whom he lost only a few months earlier.
This record drips with love, not just erotic, and family love, but love for his homeland Jamaica, love for the almighty and love for his hometown Ocho Rios, which the title track is about. It speaks of Ocho Rios as a woman he has long loved.
The album is very smooth and mature, it takes you on a journey into the heart of a man who loves and hurts, but enjoys being jovial and playful, in fact playful can be used to describe the one dancehall/soca crossover song “Hot Sexy Love” that talks about the reverse roles of a woman pursuing a man, whom she desires despite their friendship or his relationship status.
There are some sweet acoustic tracks too. “Hands that rock the cradle” a deep tale about the abuse of a young girl and a young man by those who were supposed to protect them. However, the song’s heavy content is made very palatable by pretty guitar melodies, and a happy flute. “Old Days” is a lovely rockers tune that evokes memories, taking you back to when dancehall was so nice.
Impressively eight of the fourteen tracks on the album are live, and features production by Jason (J-Vibe) Farmer, Vinni Hamilton, Duwayne Shotta Hoilett, and Johnny Wonder. Overall “Ocho Rios” is an excellent record. Reggae music is alive and well. If you don’t have a copy of Ocho Rios, you need to get one ASAP. G Cole you struck gold with this one.