A real treat for the listener is this unlikely reggae album from the unlikely source of Ohio. Gingermon's "Baked to Perfection" is an engaging release that should carry through all the way to the fall of 2019. This sounds like a summer radio smash. Hopefully, this album will have some legs. It deserves a wider listen. A collection of funky reggae, dub, and pop all combined through the mind of Gingermon. Irish American reggae, is now its own category due to the Ging's effort here.
Taking his cues from the reggae greats, Gingermon has hit upon an interesting formula for giving us a new take on traditional reggae/dub/pop music. One of the stand out tracks to me is "Tomorrow's Never Coming", a catchy song reminiscent of the acoustic reggae hit single of "Sitting in Limbo", or a hip-happy summer track by Sublime. There are delicate melodic touches sprinkled throughout with a bell like keyboard dancing around fast acoustic runs, against a wall of treated back ground vocals. This track also features the Predator Dub Assassins, who add a different feel and color to this interesting offering.
Another really good track that deserves attention is his kick-ass reading of the classic Johnny Cash song, "Folsom Prison Blues". Now Stick Figure did a version, but I dig the vibe on Gingermon's a bit more. He seems to have gotten the true essence of the song translated, not by making the song an exercise in heavy-os-ity, but by drilling down into the acoustic rhythm of the song, which is keeping very much in line with the acoustic elements of the original version. People forget today that what made Johnny Cash's version have weight and feel heavy and real, was Johnny Cash. Not his instrumentation. Gingermon sticks with letting the words do the talking and keeps it feeling together by letting the heavy words and melody work off the lighter acoustic rhythm. He then makes a good choice and a nod in homage to the original recording of the song, by replicating the classic Luther Perkins solo that has been indelibly etched into the ears of countless generations. It was a smart and classy move and I hope Gingermon's version takes its place among the very best of the interpretations of "Folsom Prison Blues" ever recorded.
Reggae music in general, has been one of the most segregated of musical communities, where the biggest reggae artists have always been black. There may be exceptions, but very few stand-out white artists come to mind in being a purveyor of real down-home reggae music. Gingermon is one of few I've ever heard that understands the music from the inside out. There are a couple of examples on here of something that could be accused of being a retread. "Sativa" is one of those songs that struck me like that, in the beginning. You have heard the musical ideas and the instruments on a thousand reggae releases before. Then the subtle touches of the arrangement start to penetrate. The cool horn lines, and the EMD like synthesizer touches, the hooky chorus starts burrowing in your brain and next thing you know, you are singing that "You love Sativa" as much as the singer does. Overall. "Baked to Perfection" is just that. The sound of an artist doing what he loves, and not caring what others may define as reggae. This is Gingermon's reggae, and that is the kind of reggae I can get down with. Irie, mon, Irie all the way.