By Lisa Lamarre
When I found out Morgan Heritage was coming to New York City, I knew I had to be there no matter what! I’ve been a fan for quite some time and dying to see them live. I honestly didn’t get into listening to full studio albums until recent years, so I made it a point to listen to their newest release “Here Come the Kings” from start to finish. In short, I was blown away! There are very few albums that I can listen to straight through and not skip any songs, and this is definitely at the top of the list.
Morgan Heritage has always been able to fuse roots reggae elements with R&B, hip-hop, and even a little rock & roll. “Here Come the Kings” embodies all of that and more. From their socially- conscious tracks to powerful love songs, the soul of each groove is never lost. The title track of the album has been in my head since I first heard it. They make a clear and bold announcement that they are back in full force and ready to bring the roots back to the game, and they can’t be disputed with tracks like this! Some more of my faves include “The Return,” “Lookin’ for the Roots,” and “Call to Me,” a beautiful upbeat love tune that tugs at the heart strings. Peetah Morgan sings his heart out and makes you feel every lyric. They also do a cover of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “The Girl is Mine,” that stays true to the original but adds a fun reggae swing to the beat. Overall, the album is a great comeback for the group after exploring individual projects. They are consistent with their sound and what they are known for: blending genres to deliver impactful, entertaining music.
So let’s talk about the show at B.B. King’s Blues Club. I was super-crazy ecstatic first of all. DJ Norie and his team kept the crowd moving to some reggae favorites as we awaited the live show. The show opened with a set from Jemere Morgan, son of Gramps’ Morgan, who is starting out his music career and following in the family’s footsteps. He performed three upbeat reggae-pop songs; I called them “Young Bwoy Tunes” since they were mostly for the ladies. I look forward to hearing more of his music and interviewing him in the very near future.
Morgan Heritage came out with energy and you could tell they were ready to put on a show. They opened with “The Return,” again making clear that they are back. They played a good mix of old hits like “Down by the River” and my favorite, “She’s Still Loving Me” while giving a good sampling of tunes from the new album. They keep the momentum going and go from song to song seamlessly. Peetah, Gramps, and Una make an incredible vocal team, and their passion for the music is beyond evident. I sometimes see artist who lose intensity for their own music after having played the same songs for a while, but Morgan Heritage delivered an incredible performance from start to finish. Also have to make mention of their musicians: the lead guitarist and bassist killed it for sure. Definitely had to give them props backstage after the show. I was able to get some great video footage of the show so be sure to check the Workaholix Media YouTube channel, or in the video section of Workaholixmedia.com
Anyhow, what you should have gathered from this review: You need to see Morgan Heritage live ASAP if you haven’t already, and BUY the album!! Personally, I’m officially semi-stalking them and seeing them live as much as possible! Shout out to DJ Norie and his team @TeamNorie for having me out. J Peace and blessings to all!!