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  • Bryon Harris

'Red Omen' by Ed Roman Radiates With Positive Vibes

Hailing from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada, Ed Roman has a list of credentials that most artists only dream of. He has been on regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations worldwide. He is a 2014 Artists Music Guild Award Nominee, a 2014 International Music and Entertainment Association Award Winner, a two-time 2015 IMEA Award nominee, a 2015 and 2016 Josie Show Awards nominee, an Akademia Awards Winner, and a two-time Indie Music Channel Award winner. And that doesn’t even begin to list all his accomplishments, but I hope it has raised your curiosity.

Ed is an indie-pop rock singer-songwriter with a Jamaican reggae vibe. His latest album, ‘Red Omen’ is a 13-track CD that opens with the title track “Red Omen.” The energy reminds me of Paul Simon’s Graceland work. It starts with an up-tempo syncopated, percussive rhythm followed by a warm guitar solo, a bass line that "wows" and a hearty laugh from Roman which is a nod to the lyrics in the choir, “I said excuse me. It’s not my fault. He’s playing the crime so he can’t get caught. I said excuse me, I must confess, well give me two words, well in my defense, laughing mad, I'm laughing mad."

I’m only 40 seconds into hearing Roman’s music for the first time and I can already tell you – he’s fantastically “in the pocket.” For musicians, “in-the-pocket” is a term that describes players who are spot-on rhythmically and have impeccable timing when moving in and out of grooves, time signatures, tempos and vibes. Roman is not playing basic material on the downbeat; this is music that’s rhythmically rewarding and Roman makes it sound like a walk in the park. It’s clear that rhythm runs through his blood.

The next tune “Tough Cookie,” invites you to sing along, “And in the cure. You can be rest assured in incarnation. Now leave your hesitations and sing “Hey, Hey, Hey Sha-la-la-la-la." Trust me, you will be singing along. Roman’s music is an infectious, pick-me-up, a positive good-feelin’ cure for the soul. Mid-way through he lays out a wonderful, ragtime-like piano solo. “Tough Cookie” is followed by a tribute song to radio DJ Wolfman Jack. “I Wish the Wolfman Was Back” has a funky-fun-groove as Roman sings in wolf-style-rap with vocal effects. It’s great fun! He even howls.

Next up is “I am Love” which was my favorite song on the album. This song has elements of rock, reggae and soul. The chorus pops and the lyrics are universal, “I am a messenger. I am a radical. I am Love.” Roman raps, “It’s not what you believe, It’s what you do.” Then the song busts into some funky back-up soul harmonies.

The song “Time Itself” is about the fleeting, creeping-up-on-you nature of time with the lyrics “time speeding up so fast, twice the speed of sound itself and doubling up the mass.” I would have been disappointed if Roman didn’t play with the tempo of the song, but of course he delivers accelerated tempos like a musician on a race track in double-time, complete with a ripping guitar solo.

“The Way She Goes” is an old-fashioned, crooning, love-song. You can visualize a couple on a ballroom dance floor and at the same there’s a touch of charm and fun. “You treat me Like a Fool,” breaks from the up-tempo feel-good vibe and offers a more serious side of Roman with some rich, minor harmonic content. In several of tracks, Roman shows his talent for exploring different cultures that fans of world music with love. The song “ETA” opens with a classical chorus then jumps into a an up-tempo flamenco Spanish dance and “Nothing More To Say” has a Native American energy with vocalizations that sound like a rain dance. “Lay One Down” is a mid-tempo with a folk structure in 4/4. “Lay one down for my brothers. Lay one down for my folk. Lay one down for one another. Lay one down and let it go.” The CD ends with an extended mix of “I Am Love. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up what Roman is about. Roman is a messenger. Roman is a radical. And Roman is love. He’s also an amazing musician and songwriter who knows how, “To Lay One Down.”

Recently, Roman traveled to Jamaica to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to the island, while shooting the music video “Jamaica.” He is also a Heart Songs for Veterans artist, donating money to help veterans with his single and Top 10 video, "Lay One Down." Red Omen was produced with renowned producer, Michael Jack. Roman has won over legions of fans around the world, known as “Ed Heads.” If you are ready to be an "Ed Head," or just want to explore Roman's music further, you can visit his website.

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