Soldiers of Jah Army

Soldiers of Jah Army

Aug. 14, 2002

Soldiers of Jah Army, or SOJA, a reggae band based in Arlington, has put together a new CD that spreads their message of musical freedom with an uplifting theme.

The band is comprised of Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar), Bob Jefferson (bass), Ryan Berty (drums), Ken Brownell (percussion), and Eric Rogers (keyboard). With their latest independent release, "Peace in a Time of War," SOJA expresses musical consciousness and an understanding of what's going on in the world around them.

The five members of SOJA have blended their instrumental music with powerful lyrics.

This is especially evident in the track, "Peace in a Time of War." In this song, SOJA expresses disgruntlement with many political leaders and displays political awareness that is rare in today's pop culture.

"We're not a watered-down form of reggae but we're not hardcore either,” said Jefferson. “We have a universal message and a sound that can appeal to a broad range of people.”

"Peace in a Time of War" is a record that blends the sounds of Bob Marley with the commercial appeal of rap-rock band 311. Tracks such as "Mother Earth" have an eclectic sound is created with the mixture of strong vocals and guitar.

“‘Mother Earth’ is definitely a favorite of mine," said Brownell. “The song has an universal message and describes how mankind is raping Mother Earth and taking all of her resources.”

Soldiers of Jah Army's CD was recorded and mixed with Jim Fox, an experienced reggae engineer who’s worked in the past with Black Uhuru and go-go godfather Chuck Brown.

This collaboration is what gives them their blend of classic reggae roots with up-to-date musical beats.

“Jim Fox definitely took our music to the next level,” said Brownell. “He helped us create a sound that can pick up where Bob Marley left off.”

With a new CD being released in November, Soldiers of Jah Army are currently on tour and can be seen at Jaxx in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 15 and at Club 5 in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Aug. 18.