Former frontman for legendary Detroit reggae rock group The Process has, after much anticipation, released his first full-length album and it is unmatched in creative flow and artistry! Now under the moniker David Asher Band (D.A.B.), the self-titled debut album reflects Asher’s journey as an artist throughout the years. Recorded by Christopher Lewis at Fire Hyena Studios, the album further features two standout tracks mixed by the legendary British producer Adrian Sherwood (of On-U Sound Studios), who recorded and mixed revolutionary music from bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and reggae pioneers such as Lee “Scratch” Perry.
David Asher believes the magic of his new vibration is truly a shared effort between him and his bandmates. And, Top Shelf agrees — the boys are soaring with it!
Asher takes the helm on guitar, lead vocals and piano, while guitarist David Ivory leads on the guitar marvelously, Derrick L Davis puts his stamp on the drums and percussion, and William Petzhold holds down the bass (on top of co-writing my personal favorite single on the album “Deputy Dawg and the Marshall”). The essence of the work in its entirety is captivating, mysterious and artistically timeless.
The album consists of five original songs, which follow an organic rootsy style, masterfully interlaced with four well-known covers that weave and blend together the feel of the entire project. This creative collaboration and mix between the old and the new really embraces what roots reggae is about, while maintaining a fresh and unique style that showcases everything standout-ish about more modern rock, alternative or other musical genre mixes.
“We planned on doing a cover album and I hadn’t written much in quite some time, but then I got bit by the writing bug and we decided to mesh the originals with the covers. As Jah intended, the project happened the way it was supposed to happen and, all of a sudden, inspiration fell into my lap,” says Asher.
While D.A.B.’s cover work of notable songs — like Curtis Mayfield’s “Keep On Moving”, which kicks off the album, and a killer reggae influenced cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” –definitely require praise, I was most intrigued and impressed by the raw and upfront emotive storytelling in the original tracks, such as “47 Shots (The Ballad Of Milton Hall)” and “Deputy Dawg and the Marshall”. The former is an anthem about the shooting of Milton Hall, who was a mentally ill black man that was shot 47 times after being unable to pay for a cup of coffee. This chilling true story is poetically matched with mind-blowing brass instrumentals of trumpets, flugelhorns and saxes by Nicolas Pefla that build the story’s suspense and heartache.
The track “Donkey Jawbone”, originally recorded by The Process back in 1992 on their Baldhead Vex album, also makes a new statement with D.A.B.; Asher never thought the song was given justice, so he re-recorded the track for greater distinction. Other noteworthy originals on the album include “Keep A Little Faith” and the dancey, dare I say, smoothtown-groovetown number “There’s A Fire”.
Like many insta-favorite albums, D.A.B. hit some heartstrings throughout.
Yet, the beautiful closing cover of the R&B classic “Love Ballad” (originally by Skip Scarborough) is so full of power and grace, it deserves special remembrance. The melding of Asher’s deep full vocals with Mikki Sound’s crisp sultry vocals balances this one out effortlessly, making the song feel both classic and sexy. The cherry that tops this tantalizing banana split for your ears are two additional bonus tracks mixed by Adrian Sherwood at On-u Sound in England. Feast your ears on the new album available exclusively on Bandcamp below!
Purchase or stream ‘D.A.B.’ album:
- Keep On Moving
- Give A Hand
- 47 Shots (The Ballad Of Milton Hall)
- Knockin On Heaven’s Door
- Keep A Little Faith
- Deputy Dawg and the Marshall
- There’s A Fire
- Donkey Jawbone (On-u Sound Mix)
- Love Ballad, feat. Mikki Sound
- Donkey Dub (On-u Sound Mix)
- Love Ballad (Instrumental)
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.