The jblogosphere has been full with talk about Matisyahu. I downloaded some Matisyahu songs from his website out of curiosity. I was pretty sure that I would hear some pretty mediocre music that passes as good since its "Hasidic". After listening to the songs, I must admit that I was wrong. This guy is really talented, and he is accompanied by three other talented musicians (Aaron Dugan - GUITAR, Josh Werner - BASS, Jonah David - DRUMS). I don't know if the other musicians are partners with Matisyahu on his spiritual trip. They are certainly partners with him on his musical journey, and the four make up a very tight combo.
I was particularly taken in with the song "King Without A Crown", played live. It starts very softly, switches to a reggae rhythm with the Dugan playing chords on the offbeat. Matisyahu sings/raps some real tongue twisting lyrics about his love for Hashem. The chorus has a kind of Mediterranean beat while the guitar plays counterpoint to Matisyahu. After a few screams of "Yuh" (I guess that's Matisyahu's version of "yeah"), the band switches into a solid rock beat. Werner plays eighth notes from all over the neck to give the underpinning to Dugan's searing guitar solo. The song ends with some nonsensical reggae words like "zee-why-oh" and a final "yuh". (If you think about it "ai yai yai" isn't any better than "zee-why-oh".)
In my opinion, these guys are good by any standard. Matisyahu sings from the bottom of his heart, and as our sages said, "Words that come out from the heart enter the heart."
I also give a lot of credit to Matisyahu's rabbi for not stifling Matisyahu's desire to play and perform this kind of music.