Cut Loose with SOJA Tomorrow Night at Webster Hall

May 16th, 2013

Bassist Bobby Lee Jefferson and lead singer and guitarist Jacob Hemphill met back in elementary school, bonding over shared tastes in music. And beginning in middle school they started to meet the others, drummer Ryan Berty, percussionist Kenneth Brownell and keyboardist Patrick O’Shea. The band is based in Northern Virginia, where the five of them live, but since the quartet’s first album came out a decade ago, there’ve changed names—dropping Soldiers of Jah Army for SOJA—and embarked on countless tours, plus saxophonist Hellman Escorcia and trumpeter Rafael Rodriguez have come on to deepen the socially conscious group’s sound. Reggae isn’t as big in the U.S. as it is in other places. In fact SOJA plays before thousands in South America. But SOJA, whose fourth LP, Strength to Survive (stream it below), came out last year, don’t even always stick to reggae. Watch them cover “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” above, and then head directly to Webster Hall tomorrow night to kick off your weekend right.