The second full length release from Cornerstone Roots has all the elements of a homegrown roots reggae release: songs about home and belonging, the landscape of Aotearoa, political comment, the upliftment of the most high, and a guest spot from a Jamaican artist. Just like ital stew, this album warms the belly and lifts your soul.

Jah featuring the mighty Luciano is a killer. Luciano’s signature baritone melodies soar over Cornerstone Roots’ skanking one drops, meshing these two sounds as tribute to the huge influence Jamaican roots has had on our own Aotearoan reggae.

Some of the tracks will be familiar to those who have seen these guys live.  Forward Movement, Home and Calling are developed from earlier versions, with more layers, backing vocals and guitar licks.  The production is top-notch, done in house by lead singer Brian Ruawai and Daniel Howard.  Continuing the tradition of Kiwi DIY releases, Free Yourself is out on Motherland’s own label Motherland Records.

Mankiller, War and Wake Up all follow in the contemporary roots vein, with refreshing conscious sentiments on the state of our earth, sustainability, war, poverty and the youths.   It is great to see this stuff coming out of Raglan while similar ting a’ gwaan in Jamaica right now.  There’s even a deep bass dub, Steppas, to keep the dubheads happy.

Definitely check this out. Homegrown. Conscious. Ital.