Mojomama – We Are One
CD: 13 Songs, 62 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Improvisational Blues, All Original Songs
“Rise up from the ashes. We are human. We Are One.” This is the motivational message from Denver, Colorado’s Mojomama. This quirky quartet provides a thirteen-dose, one-hour course of their kind of blues medication. It’s one part rock, one part psychedelia, and one part what I call “improvisational blues.” Make no mistake: it’s not jazz or anywhere near it. However, nearly all of the thirteen original songs on this album have a freeform, nonchalant, jam-session vibe. This band is at its best during displays of instrumental showmanship. Lead singer Jessica Rogalski can hold a note longer than I can hold my tongue during Thanksgiving dinner, but her range lacks some versatility. Her fellow musicians Paul Rogalski and Bob Murnahan romp and stomp on guitar, and Colin Brown pounds his drums with panache. Tom Cleary guest stars on keyboards, and Amber Delaurentis on background vocals.
In case Mojomama hasn’t crossed your radar yet, they were a semi-finalist at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis for 2018 and 2019, representing the Colorado Blues Society. In 2015, Mojomama won Best Self-Produced CD and Favorite Female Vocalist for 2015 and 2018 from the Colorado Blues Society. They also won the Best Band award at the Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Awards in February of 2019. Jessica has earned some stage credit singing with Susan Tedeschi at the 2009 Snowy Range Music Festival and with Janiva Magness at Otis Taylor’s Trance Blues Festival 2014 Etown Hall.
Tracks three and four, “Point of View” and “Shelter From the Storm,” encapsulate this album in terms of its overall atmosphere and style. The former sounds the most like pure blues, and on the latter, Jessica bares her soul and vocal cords. There’s no question that Mojomama loves the genre and puts forth maximum effort on every song. However, on certain numbers, that effort seems rather Herculean. The best blues artists make near-impossible riffs, solos and melodies sound as easy to play as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Here you can tell how much work they’ve put into their art – the highest form of play, as someone famous (that I can’t remember) said.
If Mojomama wants to be more widely known outside of Colorado, they’d do well to invest in more polished productions with well-seasoned studio musicians. This won’t ruin their vibe a bit. In fact, done right, it’ll enhance it. Famous and even medium-famous guest stars can help with name recognition, too. As is, they’re good – and their guitar prowess borders on excellent – but a boost from blues veterans will help them make that final push from good to great.
When it’s all done, We Are One is some solid blues-rock fun!
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