Review: Wester Joseph’s Stereo Vudu (Released 2011)
By Greg Allard (originally published in INsite Magazine)
If you’re the kind of person who mentally categorizes music by genre, you might be confused during your first listen to Wester Joseph’s “Wester Joseph’s Stereo Vudu,” but you shouldn’t be confused by what his influences are.
The first track, “Lion and the Lamb,” sounds like Afro-World Music, “Road Song” sounds like prog rock, “Let it Ride,” sounds like Jimi Hendrix mixing funk and acid rock, and “Slowly Sleeping,” is soft rock. By the time you get to the fifth track, “Lawdy Lawdy Blues,” you have entered into the world of jazz. But the versatile Wester doesn’t stop there.
On the album’s next song, “The World We’re Living In,” Wester does his best Curtis Mayfield as you’re taken into the world of Wester-soul music. On “Livin’ This,” Wester begins with Barry White-esque pipes and then morphs back into Mayfield again. “Every Beat of My Heart” reminds one of Peter Tosh playing reggae, while the ninth track, “Last Call,” has elements of Motown woven into its fabric.
“Dream 159,” is once again jazzy, while “Dusty Groove,” and my favorite track on the album, is a rocker dedicated to those great musicians who have come before us.
“Down the Road” is more jazz rock, while in the album’s last piece, “The Storm,” Wester dabbles in good old fashioned Americana, trying his hand at acoustic folk rock.
“Road Song,” his ode to the road and home, is something any touring musician can identify with. “Let it Ride” sounds like a channeling of Jimi Hendrix’s voice from “Crosstown Traffic.”
With lines like “restless and carefree—that’s the American way,” his lyrics are also observant and philosophical.
The Miami-born Gainesville resident of Haitian parents has more than music going on these days. Besides releasing Stereo Vudu in 2011, Wester just did an acting bit in a recent film directed, written and starring Billy Bob Thornton called “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.” In it he plays Connell Lambert, a 19-year-old guitar player, who performs (sings and plays guitar in the film) in addition to doing dramatic scenes. He was cast by Billy Bob directly.
We look forward to seeing what kind of actor Wester is, but as a musician, the conclusion is that it’s virtually impossible to put the eclectic man into any specific category, unless there is a genre called “very good.” iTunes classifies him under indie rock, but wherever you place him, he’s a talented singer-songwriter, capable of creating and playing a variety of sounds very well.
Wester Joseph Lead Vox, Guitar
Ekendra Das Drummer, Percussionist
“Q” – Quintina Crawford Lead, Back-Up Vox
Lacy Gifford Lead, Back-Up Vox
Eduardo Arenas Rhythm Guitar
Danny Rochell Lead, Back-Up Vox, Keys
Cory Klein Bass Guitar
Roberto Glaser Percussion