Review: The Ambassador – Live in Ocean Beach

Review: The Ambassador – Live in Ocean Beach

The Ambassador – Live in Ocean Beach
1.) Fighting Song
2.) A New Season
3.) Sunshine
4.) Most High
5.) Powerful Love
6.) Chained
7.) Bring Me Your Cup
8.) Song Of David

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Record Label: Peacemaker Records
Official Website: The Ambassador Website

Group Background:
The Ambassador AKA Stephen Gabriel Lewis is a West coast convert and a longtime musician. In 2004 Lewis had turned to the US after a stint in Korea as an English teacher, only to partner up in his first musical endeavor known as The Seed. Based out of Virginia, The Ambassador began to hone his skills as a solo performer as well as releasing original music as The Seed’s frontman and guitarist. In 2009, The Ambassador’s turned westward as he relocated to San Diego to plant new roots and start a new project.

After his debut EP of 2009 and a 2010 Haiti Relief Benefit EP titled “Sunshine”, The Ambassador released his first full-length solo Album New Roots, which was “World Music Album of the Year” award in the 2011 San Diego Music Awards and the 2011 Virginia Reggae Awards. This summer, The Ambassador recorded eight songs on the fly with a full band during a performance in Ocean Beach, and serves as the most recent collection from SG Lewis and company.

Album Review:
The Ambassador’s music should not be overgeneralized by its reggae overtones. Truly at the heart of SG Lewis’ music belies a rather soulful vibe, boasted by an assemblage of constructive lyrical auras and heart-warming rhythms. With their most recent work, Live At Ocean Beach, the west coast quintet stepped up to the challenges of recording their first live album. The Ambassador breezed through five originals, debuted two new songs, and even skanked through a reverb-deluged cover of 1993 UB40’s hit ”Bring Me Your Cup”.

The Ambassador recorded their third release during “Reggae Night” at Gallagher’s Irish Pub in San Diego. The show was recorded over an eight-channel Digi rack, using six microphones to catalog the whole set. The live aspect naturally produced a reverby, echoic layer behind the music itself. Flawless guitar solos, thunderous bass lines, and even a few extra dub effects thrown into the mix.

As in any live atmosphere, a simple mistake has the potential to stick out like a sore thumb, even ruin a recorded set. However, The Ambassador band went note-for-note, even for the freestyles that SG Lewis versed during one of the the new songs titled “Chained”.

Overall, Live In Ocean Beach was the end-product of good practice, planning, and execution. The balance between upbeat, bass-driven song and stoney one-drop rhythms would appeal to the best of both crowds. One of my favorites for it’s head-rocking effects is ”Most High”, while ”Song Of David” is a rather stoney melody. SG Lewis’ Lyrics continue to mature and always seem to be forethoughtful as well as motivational.

Written & Reviewed By: Matt Emodi

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]