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Awake by Julian Marley
Released: May 2009
Label: Universal Records/Tuff Gong Records
Julian Marley doesn't have a deep talent, but he has an expansive one, and when he lets go of the looming specter of his father and allows himself a little room, he's a very likeable artist. This Marley can't speak with authority of prophets or the healing of nations -- he sounds, frankly, bored on roots-oriented material like "Boom Draw" or "Jah Works" -- but give him a love song and he makes it bloom. Songs like "All I Know" or "Stay With Me" cleave to the sunny side of the Marley canon, and that's not a bad place to be. Brothers Stephen and Damian guest; Damian dazzles on "Violence in the Streets."
Sarah Bardeen
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