REVIEW: RJ Kaneao’s “Toru”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Island style reggae lef a bingbung o salang!

RJ Kaneao is a reggae artist who talks about “the roots of my soul” through a very passionate album called Toru (Motu), and he shows he could become the next Ziggy Marley if he puts his 10,000 hours into it.

With tracks like “Warrior”, “Answer My Plea”, “Why Do You”, and Back In My Arms” he celebrates Hawaiian pride along with love and romance. In other words, he is not afraid to share his strength as a man and as a lover, so the ladies will dig this immediately. As a vocalist/guitarist you get to hear him go at it in songs that are well played, written, and arranged. The album is split between fantastic roots reggae and heavily formulaic Jawaiian songs, but he has to pay the bills, right? In the songs that are Jawaiian, he provides the same island stylee that Sean Na’auao has done over the years, and it feels good. Yeah, perhaps puppy love died 30 years ago but not in Hawai’i, where manners are still an issue and even though it may be asking for something more enticing, it’s still nice to hear.

He definitely has the makings to become a star outside of Hawai’i and the Pacific Rim, although more at rock/jam band festivals than in the traditional reggae market. Then again, someone prove me wrong. While he doesn’t show it too much here, he could easily do pop and soul, and perhaps he’ll experiment with that in the future. As is, if this guy isn’t getting airplay throughout the islands, SHAME ON YOU!!!

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