Jamiah On Fire & The Red Machine – Winners Never Quit
Self-Release – 2015
10 tracks; 34 minutes
Jamiah Rogers is the son of a musician and has been playing since he was just four years of age. Starting on drums, he switched to guitar and won the award for the top guitarist under 12 at the Chicago Music Awards three years running. Still in his teens, Jamiah has been playing in an electric trio since he turned 16 and this is his debut release, featuring ten songs all written by Jamiah and his father Tony. Jamiah plays lead and rhythm guitar and handles all vocals, with bass duties split between Jamiah and Tony with Jalon Allen on drums. Strangely the CD cover shows a trio of very young guys of which Jamiah is clearly the oldest so perhaps that is his regular band, billed here as ‘The Red Machine’.
Recorded on home turf in Chicago, the style here is heavy on the funk with plenty of choppy rhythm work backed up by heavy drums and bass, Jamiah riding that wave on his solos, as he does very well on “I Like You”. The title track has Dad’s wise words to the eight year-old Jamiah: “You’re a winner and quitters never win; you might not get everything you work for but you’re gonna work for everything you get”.
The opening track “When Will It Happen” has some clichéd phrases (“patience is a virtue”, “good things come to those who wait”) put together over the chugging rhythm, Jamiah wondering when the hard work will pay off. Vocally Jamiah is fine but his solo is pretty histrionic with lots of screaming wah-wah which is also the case on the slow blues “It’s Alright To Cry”, a shame as Jamiah shows some subtler touches in the rest of the tune.
Not surprisingly with titles like “Boogie Shack”, “Play For You” and “Find Your Groove” the groove-based approach dominates the rest of the album. For a very young man Jamiah has a good voice and can clearly play guitar but it would be good to hear him in a wider range of styles.