After 10 years with Westbound Train, vocalist/trombonist/songwriter Obi Fernandez felt the need to try something new. Confessions, Waves and the Garden State record is still dominated by his unique vocal delivery and love of classic reggae and soul music, but it experiments with a wider variety of grooves than Obi has ever attempted before. Among the new experiments are: Bill Withers-inspired ’70s soul (“Over”); modern soul-pop (“Ugly Comes Out”); up-tempo Motown (“Color of Your Voice”); heavy roots radics reggae (“Don’t Turn Away”); and classic rock-steady (“It Happens to Me”).
Writing and planning the record in New Jersey and recording it on the West Coast reveals a new side of Obi’s personal style. This arrangement allowed Obi the opportunity to play with musicians he’d never played or recorded with before, including members of The Expanders, The Aggrolites, The Lions, and more. Greg Teal and everyone at Hurley Studios provided a great working environment, Brian Dixon brought his recording/mixing talents and his vast ska/reggae knowledge, and drummer/producer Eric Novod teamed with Obi to arrange this “dream list” of musical styles that comprise the songs on the record.
While it’s an introspective record with themes of love and life (on and off the road) running through it, Confessions is essentially a feel-good record. We hope the listeners will connect with the messages, but also fall in love with the classic-yet-modern hooks that run throughout. As personal as it gets, Confessions, Waves, and The Garden State is the perfect summer party record.
Obi is looking forward to putting a new, versatile band together that can make all of these tunes come alive. Songs always seem to take on a life of their own when a new live energy is captured.