Album Review: Mojomama
Album: We Are One
Mojomama’s latest effort We Are One is a clear progression from their last album. The seamless blend of Rock, Blues, Soul, and uncompromising groove makes for a great listen. Self-described as “a result of our cultural realities of the past four years” the band puts it all on display this new record. The album shifts genres and styles across it's entirety, pulling from the undeniable strengths of each of it's members. It’s an album full of musical influences, woven together to produce a roller coaster ride through thirteen tracks. Great vocals, powerful guitar solos, funky bass lines, and clean pocket drumming makes me hope the band finds a well deserved large audience.
The album opens up with the title track and first single, "We Are One" which starts with a shuffle back beat and catchy slap bass line, reminiscent of Toto’s “Rosanna”. It is clear when lead singer Jessica Rogalski comes in why she has received the accolades she has, considering she has won “Favorite Female Vocalist” for 2015 and 2018 from the Colorado Blues Society.
Track two, "I’m Searching" steps back into the blues, clearly Mojomama’s comfort zone. The band is grooving hard on this track with the funky rhythm section firing hot. As a fan of Albert Collins, I found this one to be one of my favorite tracks on the album. It nails the funky side of the blues, with a very tasteful guitar solo that takes the listener through a "Who's Who" of blues and rock players. The pinch harmonics flirt with Billy Gibbons and I hear licks from Cream's legendary live version of Crossroads. Definitely a rock punch, but still a player that clearly understands the blues.
Another stand out from the album is "Point of View". It has a "Black Velvet" feel, a classic blues backdrop, that seems older than time. That groove wasn't invented, but discovered, as if it was there long before drums and guitars were. The band's commitment to the groove swells with confidence and conviction. Strong vocals and a long fade that the drums really start to stretch out on during leaves me wondering what happened after the fade. Did the band play on for another 3 minutes just enjoying the moment? Definitely left me wanting more of what was about to happen!
Mojomama's ability to take classic old grooves and breathe fresh air into them without losing the root of what made them classic in the first place is no easy task. As a whole the record feels like a band that grew up listening to 70's blues and southern rock albums. In that era of roots music there was a rock edge, but still a generation closer to the classic blues albums of the 50's and 60's. Somewhere between Johnny Winter, The Allman Brothers and ZZ Top with a modern touch that you would hear on a Tedeschi Trucks Band production. I use those examples as a reference of the attitude of how many ways heavily blues influenced rock music can be interpreted. I feel this set walks the line between 70s blues rock, classic Muscle Shoals and Stax, but with their own Mojomama fingerprints smeared all over it. Quite a mix and quite a record!
Check out this interview as well...
Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career. Mojomama was formed in 2002 in Boulder Colorado by Jessica and Paul Rogalski. We started writing songs together and it just started clicking from the very beginning. There have been different musicians in the band over these 20 years but the music is always evolving and moving in a positive direction.Our 7th and latest album "We Are One" is being released in June of 2022. Who are your musical and non-musical influences? Musical influences range from Aretha Franklin to Steely Dan to The Meters ,all the old school funky music.Non-Musical influences are friends and family from over the years.Seeing everyone on their own path and just owning it. What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician? I would say Steely Dan AJA What song do you remember most from your childhood? All those catchy 70's songs seem to come and go. Afternoon Delight,Brandy,you know what I mean.
What's your favorite accomplishment as a musician thus far? Having Mojomama last this long and contributing so much to the music. Tell me about your favorite performance in your career. I would say when I got to stand next to the great bassist Chuck Rainey and we both played Rock Steady with Mojomama at my music school,Mojo's Music Academy. What's the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you? Stick to what you believe in with your music and your card will come up. How has your music changed over the years? The new album has more funky songs and even a latin tune. We didn't try to make the album with just one style of music. What inspires you to write the music you write? Some of these recent songs I've been inspired by watching a documentary about a band and I'll say to myself,I need to write a song like that. You'll hear a couple tracks on the album. What inspired you to play the instrument you chose? I was drawn to the bass by going to the junior high dances when they actually had bands perform. For some reason I always watched the bass player more than any other band member. How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past? The previous album Red White and Blues was geared toward us playing in Memphis for the International Blues Challenge and wanted a strong blues record to bring along for the ride. Do you feel like you are continuing to grow musically? We feel like we're growing musically and not afraid to take chances and be honest to ourselves. If you could play anywhere or with anyone in the world, where or with who would it be? Red Rocks with the Tedeschi Trucks Band How does music affect you and the world around you? Music is with me every day.I pick up my bass every morning otherwise I get a little grumpy. We also own a music school Mojo's Music Academy and it's wonderful to teach and influence our students of all ages. If you could change anything about the music industry today, what would it be? I would either get rid of the streaming subscription sites that don't pay hardly anything to the artists or create a fair share for both sides. What are your biggest obstacles as a musician? There are way too many of us shooting for the same bullseye and everything is so saturated these days. What strengths do you have that you believe make you a great musician? I am open with different styles of music as a listener and player. Do you have any weaknesses that you're actively working to improve on? Always working on everything from improvisation to grooving as hard as you can. Do you have any anxiety about performing live? I still get a bit anxious before the bigger shows but once you settle in on a song it is all good. Do you like to perform or do you prefer to record in a studio? Live and studio are 2 different worlds and I can do either one all day long. What do you think about online music sharing? I am not a huge fan of sharing because artists aren't making any money and we just did a 12 song CD that wasn't free to make. Do you ever give your music away for free? It's become the new industry standard and I hear musicians say they have come to accept it.I can't avoid it but I still don't like it. Tell us a fun fact about yourself. My name comes from Prussia in the 1300's and was originally Rogalla Von Beiberschtein ,, might be my new stage name.. Other than being a musician, what was your dream job growing up? Are you currently in that same field today? I always wanted to do music and play bass. Give us some advice for new musicians just starting out in the industry. Write your own music and be true to yourself. What are your interests outside of music? Fishing,some sports and SPAM How do you promote your band and shows? ALL The social sites and email list. What is the best way to stay updated on current news; gigs, releases, etc.? Get on our band email list at www.mojomama.net Anything you would like to share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums? This New album "We Are One" really shows Mojomama in its top form from performance to creativity. It's out on our website now as a download or physical cd and hitting streaming sites June 17 2022. New T-shirts and stickers are coming too. Are you available for private parties? If so, how would someone contact you about booking? We do private events often and have 3 weddings in 2022. Feel free to ask me at email@example.com What's next for your band? Lot's of great shows this summer throughout Colorado and promote the new album. Anything Else You Would Like to Include? Just be kind to one another and support each other in these days of confusion and competition for the top spot,we're all in it together.