Quotes from the Press
“The songwriting on Mystical Mood is excellent throughout: melodic and heartfelt with an intoxicating reggae vibe!”
“Ron’s Hebrew reggae is a unique musical genre’, that is composed of a mixture of reggae, ska, rock and roll, and blues. His music is original, fun, and positive and it will make you dance. His lyrics are universal, intelligent, relevant and wise.”
– Jewish World Radio
“Ron Wiseman’s album, its a good one, sounds like Bob Dylan doing a reggae album, Ron lyrics are great and the riddims too, I can feel that Ron loves and knows a lot about reggae music. “Mystical Mood” s a nice combination of Jewish, American, and Jamaican sound.”
– Dr Reggae- Tal Grubstein, Irie Lion
“Great combination of Jewish music & reggae that adds a fresh and exciting sound to my program on WNWR in Philadelphia.”
– Barry Reisman, WNWR AM 1540
I received Ron’s CD and I must admit I really enjoyed his music. I have put 2 of his songs on my playlist. . Ron has a beautiful style of reggae and his lyrics are poetic and strike a chord with today’s situations: both religious and political. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to his music!”
– Ageel Shatry, One World Radio
“To say the least, Ron Wiseman is a unique talent in the world of reggae music. I will definitely add his music to my program”
– Mike Roots, WTBC Radio, Reggae Explorations
“Jewish reggae! How’s that for something different and eclectic? “Mystical Mood” explores Jewish mysticism from his home in Tel Aviv with reggae closer to the Mediterranean Sea rather than the Caribbean.”
– J-sin, Smother Magazine
‘Blowing on the Coals’ – from Mystical Mood currently listed as #4 on the playlist of “REGGAE EXPLORATIONS” hosted by Mike Roots
WAPJ 89.9 & 105.1 FM, Torrington, CT USA
From Jah Radio – Ron Wiseman-Mystical Mood – Hailing from Toronto, Canada, artist Ron Wiseman has brewed up a quite interesting blend of reggae and Dylanesque lyrics (check out the lines “Talking ’bout the junkies fix the skinhead fist, and the planets course, The new Titanic and the instamatic and the Trojan horse” from “Modern idols”, for example). Mr. Wiseman also plays all the keyboard parts (including a Hammond B3). The disc also features an oud (“Measure for Measure” and “Kedusha”) as well as a clarinet (on the searing “Bribes”). “Kedusha”‘s opening horn phrases lean heavilly on Jackie Mittoo’s “Darker Shade Of Black” (cool ! ). While there are a few rockers and steppers, most of the songs are ska-inspired.
Wiseman’s vocals are eerily similar to the late John Lennon, which, coupled with the well crafted chord changes (most, if not all the songs feature a verse-chorus and bridge, makes the disc fit nicely next to Lennon’s reggae tinged “Double Fantasy” album (and, could quite conceivibly pass as a follow up !). The overall production is clean and criss, making for a very enjoyable disc overall. Not your fathers reggae, but worth 8 out of 10 stars nonetheless.
From Jah Works – By Ted Boothroyd – Rating: A – Alright, let’s get straight to the inevitable comparisons. Ron Wiseman is a Jewish reggae artist, emerging at a time when a similar curiosity, Matisyahu, is floating high on the charts – so the Johnny-come-lately must be an imitator, a copycat, right? Wrong. Matisyahu is primarily into dancehall, while Wiseman occupies a whole other niche in the reggae universe, a niche abounding in wonderful roots rhythms and bona fide singing. Besides, although Mystical Mood is only now widely available, it was recorded four years ago, so if there is any bandwagon-jumping, it relates only to the better distribution possibilities that I suspect have now opened up, not to the music itself.
So much for the Matisyahu resemblance. Let’s try early Bob Dylan. Like him, Wiseman fashions elusive metaphors and attention-grabbing images by building elaborate circles of simple, concrete words. Try this for example, from “Waiting for a Miracle”: “Attached to things you cannot have, sweet perfumes that will go bad, each one better than the last you had, and you think your sword of love will not defeat you.” Now consider Wiseman’s somewhat Dylanesque singing style, one that convinces us that he means what he says even when he’s being sly and abstract. So is Wiseman a reggaefied Dylan? Perhaps, but only in part, because not all Wiseman’s tracks fit that mold.
But if we’re going all the way back to early Dylan, why not branch off to Phil Ochs? He’s also a fit comparison, having written and performed songs that combined intelligent protest and topical commentary with dry wit and musical hooks. In songs like “Modern Idols” and “Bribes,” Wiseman offers a similar blend.
For a more contemporary comparison, how about Leonard Cohen? “There’s a war between the generals, a war between the chiefs, a war between the bridegrooms, a war between the sheets.” Cohen’s lyrics? Sorry, that’s from Wiseman’s powerful “Relatively Speaking.”
Want more comparisons? As I enjoy the clarinet and other teasing hints of klezmer within Mystical Mood, and especially when confronted by the meditative, devotional “Henaini,” I think of the Flying Bulger Klezmer Band, who sometimes slow down for something similar. On the other hand, most of the Wiseman’s arrangements are distinctly upbeat, and the CD’s most vigorous moments bring to mind The Pogues’ sizzling instrumental prowess, emphatic delivery and spirit of musical adventure.
But forget everyone else. Ron Wiseman is an amalgam, the product of his complex background, and his art is therefore influenced by those who came before. But he is himself. His tuneful, clever, affecting songs are performed with the skill necessary to please and the passion necessary to satisfy. And I’m delighted he chose such varied and strong reggae rhythms to support it all.