Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Rhythm Express “Day in May” featuring Maiko Watson

Season two for the Rhythm Express has seen an alteration in the front line with the addition of former girl group member - Sugar Jones, winners of the first season of Popstars in 2001 – Maiko Watson. Sugar Jones scored a #1 hit in Canada with “Day’s Like This” and has sold over 200,000 recordings.

With the relocation of supreme frontline vocalist/guitarist Selena Evangeline to London, England the call went out for a side-mate to compliment the steady presence of singers Michael Dunston and Ammoye Evans. Express drummer Everton “Pablo” Paul consulted with daughter Liza Paul, a gifted playwright /performing artist herself and Maiko’s name was put forward. 

First season the Express explored the voluptuous catalogue of ska, reggae, funk, soul and New Orleans classics. Year two – it’s all about the originals - a band caught up writing their own material. Watson not only brings a voice packed with punch, clarity, big soul and immediacy - she’s also a gifted composer/writer. Evidence of that is the universally accepted – Soul Nation – lyric scripted with partner Michael Dunston – another member of the Express with a flair for writing on point, additionally expressed in his timely message in Black Lives Matter/The Ghetto – from 2015.
Recently, the rhythm section caught fire with the original, “Welcome to Funkastan,” a throw-back to the James Brown/Sly & Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire era. 

Singer Ammoye is riding the number #1 position on the reggae charts with “Sorry.” Jesse “Dubmatix” has been touring, a big presence in the European reggae circuit – both as a performer and producer.

For the Express, it’s all about the studio - that one new single each month. 

Entering June we have a gem, “Day in May” a collective write between rhythm section and Watson. Maiko sculpted a gorgeous neo-soul melody and poignant lyrics over a rhythm/chord base. It all starts with the four-piece; an idea, a scrap of paper, a feel and then turned over to the front line.
Day in May is both sensual and timely. It’s the seasons in big change; rebirth, empowerment, the flowering of new relationships  - resolution!

Set free, Watson pushes the harmonic structure with vocals vertically stacked over free-flowing melodic motifs that weave, intersect and cross one another – having more to do with a finely crafted jazz solo than contrived radio fare. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit radio – on the contrary. With summer’s heat and long restful nights, tempos slow and melt into an aural/visual mix.
You can catch the Rhythm Express at the TD Jazz Festival June 25, 2016 – 12:30 p.m. Nathan Phillips Square. Joining the front line, singer/songwriter extraordinaire Julian Taylor!

Lead vocal/backgrounds Maiko Watson
Executive Producer/drums: Everton “Pablo” Paul
Producer/arranger/keys: Bill King
Engineer/guitar: Shane “Shakey J” Forrest
Graphic Design/bass: Jesse “Dubmatix” King
Day in May: Lyrics Maiko Watson - Composed: Watson, Bill King, Everton Paul, Shane Forrest, Jesse King.

7 Arts/ Side Door records

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