High Hopes Band Live In Studio

Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here

Longtime roots-reggae rockers the High Hopes Band made a special appearance on WERS’ own Rockers on Thursday night for Live Music Week. As one of New England’s premiere reggae bands, High Hopes prides themselves on staying true to the traditions of true roots styles which they brought with them tonight. The band is comprised of musicians that stem from various genres which makes High Hopes an eclectic and unique listening experience.

Fronted by Jason “Jahsun” Dick on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, the band is currently playing gigs in both Boston and NYC on a regular basis supporting West Indian reggae artists like JAHriffe and Zion Iron Lion. Accompanying Dick is Ryan Yorck on keys, Julie Feola on bass, Orlando Velazquez on lead guitar, Paddy McDonnell on keyboards, and O Genga on drums. Recently, Sebastian Franks joined the High Hopes band and has been writing new songs and adding new vocals to the group.

Starting off the band’s live set was “Sucka” that was written by Franks based loosely off of his experiences with love and unfortunate heartbreak. Franks vocals are rich and deep – he maintains a that classic reggae feel showing how he is the perfect addition to the High Hopes’ line-up. Franks sang, “the way you make me feel darling, it’s so unreal/got me stuck to you like glue/you make me crazy/loving you just feel feels so right.”

Up next was “Truth and Rights” where Dick took the lead vocals and Franks harmonized in background with an effortless falsetto. Like “Sucka” – both of these tracks hooked listeners from the get-go with the instantly recognizable reggae chords at the ever-so-steady 72 beats-per-minute – you just can’t go wrong.

Wrapping up this evening’s live mix was another original new song written by Franks, entitled “Brown Rice”. Also revolving around love – there may be a theme brewing amongst the new High Hopes tracks – Franks sang out his love with eyes closed, relishing the moment, from nearly beginning to end. The band’s chemistry with one another is so effortless – they are true natural performers and blossom off of each other’s energy.

This live set really exemplified why Live Music Week is so special – having so many bands come in every day showcases the diversity we have on the airwaves of WERS. Having famed folk singer Joshua Tillman followed by American rockers Divine Fits followed by the High Hopes Band within a few hours of one-another is something you can only find here on public radio like WERS.

“WERS has welcomed us back here again after last year and we are so happy for that. Public radio has definitely helped increase our listenership,” said Dick. “You really don’t get a lot of the music played on here anywhere else, it’s really incredible to be able to find it here.”

Prior to joining together as High Hopes, members of the band have been backing musicians for various artists such as Yami Bolo, Fanton Mojah as well as Midnite and Luciano. The band formed in 2000 in the new millennium, and have been rocking ever since. Their sound has been often compared to the likes of Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds, Matisyahu and Rebelution. As they draw inspiration from the great Bob Marley – High Hopes are keeping the reggae spirit alive in Boston.

By Jeeyoon Kim
Photo by  Madelyn Reese

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