Reef is a great place to hear pop, soul, jam or a fusion of them all. But there's something about reggae at Reef that's a little like coming home.
Taj Weekes' story follows the same path of many a roots reggae singer. The youngest of 10 children, Weekes was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. As a young man, he left his island home for Toronto, (brrr) Canada. A move to New York netted him Adowa, which includes Radss Desiree on bass, Shelton Garner on lead and acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Delroy Golding on percussion and Adoni Xavier on guitar just to name a few.
While working on the follow-up to their successful 2005 release, Hope and Doubt, both of Weekes' parents passed away. "I was wallowing in my grief," Weekes says in his bio, "and I wrote a song called 'Clay Dust To Dust,' which was incredibly depressing. But it was then I realized that it's not about me. Sure, I lost two people, but there are millions of people dying every day. So right then, I scrapped all the songs I had and wrote 12 new ones. I wrote about the world instead of myself."
Weekes' second release, Diedem is, by all means, a response to the world. "Louisiana" is a transparent look at the New Orleans flood from both a political point of view and a spiritual one, with little more than Weekes' unique, effeminate voice and a sorrowful piano punctuated by bits of percussion as he sings, "An unwanted rocking chair / beckons to the sky / so did the people in 's-i-ppi. / Is it race or class / oh will help come at last."
Though many of the songs on Diedem are heavy-hearted, an overreaching message of hope comes through in both the lyrics and the music. Hearing Weekes' and Adowa while sitting amid the island decor at Reef, it won't be hard to believe him.
July 12, 9:30 p.m., $5. Reef, 105 S. 6th St., 208-287-9200.