â€œIron Like A Lion In Zionâ€
One listen to Matisyahuâ€šÃ„Ã´s Live at Stubbâ€šÃ„Ã´s and you canâ€šÃ„Ã´t help but be impressed with what flows out of the stereo. The singerâ€šÃ„Ã´s voice is soft yet powerful, raw yet melodic. With syncopated 2-4 echoed guitar strokes and a robust percussion presence, the mesmerizing dub-reggae sound is as fluid and compelling as anything coming from the spiced-rum island of Marley and Red Stripe. What makes this album so intriguing, however, isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t only the music, but the lyrical content. With a solid footing in the pulsating Jamaican sound and lyrics firmly rooted in the beliefs and mysticism of Judaism, his mix of religion and reggae is absolutely unexpected but triumphant.Born Matthew Miller, this 26-year-old Phish-following ex-Dead-Head is making waves in the music world as Matisyahu, his religiously transformed Hasidic Jewish self. Being a devout follower, the music on Live at Stubbâ€šÃ„Ã´s (on Jewish centered imprint J-Dub Records) mirrors his strong beliefs. Throughout the album, Matisyahuâ€šÃ„Ã´s voice extends from soft and lulling, to excited and impassioned as he sings (he even rocks a 3-minute beat-boxing session). With the emotional charge and sincerity (not to mention the vocal range) of a young Bradley Nowell, and in the same vein of contemporary American reggae acts such as Pepper and Slightly Stoopid (minus the punk), Matisyahu showcases his united, yet dichotomous, love for music and faith with lyrics such as, â€šÃ„ÃºMe no want no sinsemillaâ€šÃ„Â¶ / Torah, food for my brain let it rain till I drown.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The album itself is part primer in Judaism, part social commentary, and all homage to the music and faith he holds so dearly to his heart.