“This album covers a lot of emotionally heavy stuff like mental health, addiction, existence, and relationships”
Jay Allen Sanford 2 p.m., Nov. 21
RIYL: Sublime, Bob Marley & the Wailers, John Brown's Body, D'Angelo, the Devastators, Slightly Stoopid, Raphael Saadiq
Inception: San Diego, 2008
Influences: Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Hugh Mundell, Wes Montgomery, Davis and Coltrane, James Brown & the JBs, Stevie Wonder, Culture, UB40, Hendrix, Hound Dog Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Sizzla, Clapton, Richie Spice, Living Legends, Donnell Jones, D'Angelo, Al Green, Anthony Hamilton, Steel Pulse, Sly and Robbie, Teddy Pendergrass
The Ambassador is the stage name of singer-guitarist Stephen Gabriel Lewis. “I adopted the title because of the passion I have for travel abroad,” he says, “and because of something my mother used to say to me. She’d remind me to always be a positive representative and to act as an ‘ambassador’ for the people and places where I come from.”
Before arriving in California, Lewis hosted a series of acoustic and electric shows entitled “The Ambassador Presents” in Roanoke, Virginia. After serving several stints overseas as an English teacher in Korea, he returned stateside to tour, write, and record as front man and guitarist for the Seed, whose self-titled debut album was released in April 2008.
Later that year, he moved to California, landing in Pacific Beach and launching a new career as a solo performer. “My music is a soulful mix of reggae, blues, and rock,” he says, “with influences that reflect many of the places I’ve lived and visited. Most of the songs are written with the purpose of inspiring and uplifting. That’s just the kind of thing that ambassadors are supposed to do.”