SOJA - Get Wiser Live DVD

When SOJA recorded the Get Wiser Live DVD, a bonus-added concert version of its Get Wiser album, at the State Theatre in Falls Church nearly two years ago, the Virginia-based reggae roots band packed the house and stacked the deck. With an expanded lineup that featured guest appearances by conga player Milton "Go Go Mickey" Freeman of Rare Essence, the Eddie Drennon String Quartet and members of the Puerto Rican reggae band Gomba Jahbari, SOJA gave the capacity crowd what it came to hear, and then some.

But even without additional help, SOJA (short for Soldiers of Jah Army) has no difficulty demonstrating why it has become a big concert draw. Frontman and songwriter Jacob Hemphill's voice -- a pinched, soulful tenor -- immediately sets the band's sound apart, and bassist Bobby Lee Jefferson's vocals add appealingly gruff and exuberant contrasts. A devotion to conscious roots music couldn't be more obvious on "Be Aware," "Faith," "Bring Back Truth" and other tracks, but the band's melodic flair and percolating grooves are key to its growing appeal.

That's never more evident than when Freeman teams with the band for an extended version of "Sorry." The string section and Gomba Jahbari's horns and vocals are also welcome on other performances, with the latter helping to underscore Soja's affinity for Latin-tinged funk. Hemphill's Santana-esque guitar solos surface throughout the concert, too. The extras include the usual backstage visit and two bonus tracks that sum up Soja's recurring themes: "Rasta Courage" and "True Love."

Open My Eyes mp3
By My Side mp3
My Life Alone mp3
Faith Works mp3
What Would...? mp3
Strong For Them mp3
Can't Tell Me mp3
Be Aware mp3
I've Got Time mp3
Sorry mp3
Bring Back Truth mp3
You Don't Know Me mp3
911 mp3
Rasta Courage
True Love

90 minutes

Released 2008