Review: Andres Roots – Redecoration Day

Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 6, 2010

When we received the new single from Andres Roots, we contacted Andres directly to ask him some details on the record. What we got back, we decided to publish directly.

Andres Roots “Redecoration Day” (single) –

RAR1001

Roots Art Records

1. Redecoration Day feat. Eric Gebhardt (Roots) 2:49
2. Brothers Grim feat. Bottleneck John (Roots) 2:09

Eric Gebhardt – vocals (1)

Bottleneck John – vocals (2)

Andres Roots – rhythm & slide guitar

Kalle Kindel – drums & percussion

Uku Püttsepp – trumpet (1)

The original idea was to cut a song with Eric “Red Mouth” Gebhardt to promote his Estonian tour – we did 9 gigs in Estonia in late May, some as a duo, some as a trio with the Finnish harpist Jantso Jokelin of the Ataturk Band, and one with the 4-piece line-up on “Redecoration Day”. However, as I was in the studio recording the backing track for Eric the morning after my Dad died, I got a little carried away and played more songs than I was meant to. So Eric cut the vocals for “Redecoration Day” in Alabama and Johan “Bottleneck John” Eliasson cut the vocals for “Brothers Grim” in Sweden.

I’ve played with John in Slovakia and in Estonia in 2005 and he’ll be doing some shows here again in August, although I myself will be at the Kuopio Blues & Jazz Festival in Finland at the time. In addition to the single, there’s two more tracks in the can with Bottleneck, four we cut with Eric during the tour, and a few more with various other vocalists coming up. To cut a long story short, I think there’ll be an album out in autumn by yours truly, featuring friends from all over.

The two tracks on the single are the latest songs featured in my lyrics book “Build Me A Statue” which was published in May along with the single. What the two songs have in common is that I have no recollection of writing either – about 6 months apart, I found the lyrics among piles of paper and figured “OK, this sounds all right…”. However, “Redecoration Day” can safely be traced back to my kitchen renovations last summer – we’d just moved into a flat with the kitchen painted blue and grey, and that was a bit much for the Roots family 😉

Playing drums on the single is Kalle Kindel, currently touring the Netherlands as a member of the Estonian-Ukrainian folk band Svjata Vatra. I first hooked up with him in 1998 while with blues rockers Fin Del Mundo – our first show together earned me my first “Best Instrumentalist” award and Kalle a mention on the radio for his “great Ian Paice-styled drum solo”. In 2000-2001, Kalle was the original drummer with Green Bullfrog (not the Ritchie Blackmore outfit!) which also included myself and future Bullfrog Brown vocalist Alar Kriisa and bassist Peeter Piik. By the time Green Bullfrog became Bullfrog Brown in 2003, Peeter had gone and Kalle was briefly back for the occasional show. Having now finished his drum studies, he has moved back to Tartu and well, yeah – we do enjoy playing together when we can!

Uku Püttsepp, who plays trumpet on “Redecoration Day”, is also a drummer, really – but I heard him playing trumpet at a jam session organized by one of my former guitar students last year and got his contacts. Both Uku and Kalle will be heard on many more tracks on the album. The songs were recorded at White Room Studios in Tartu, Estonia by Asko-Romé Altsoo – a noted producer with whom we go back a long way, too. Eric’s vocals were recorded at 414 in Sheffield, Alabama by Lynn Bridges, who I hear does quite a bit of work for Fat Possum. Bottleneck’s vocals were recorded by Johan Eliasson at Sörehammar Studios in Lit, Sweden – Johan Eliasson and Bottleneck John being very much the same person.

The single is the first CD put out by Roots Art OÜ – a company recently founded by myself & the Mrs. She did the artwork, and for the most part, it will be her work that the company will be dealing with: Siret’s done cover art for a great variety of bands and artists over the years (including Black River Bluesman, Alaska Kalan), posters (most recently for the Kaavi Blues Fest in Finland that featured Bottleneck John), etc. For Bullfrog’s “Moon and Central” last year, Canada’s Blues Underground Network even gave her the “Best Original Cover Art” award.

The video for “Redecoration Day” was also shot in two locations: Eric was filmed in Alabama, the band in Tartu, Asko-Romé put it all together and it seems to have done the trick – all the gigs we did with Eric had a good crowd. Next week, the video should be featured in a music show on Estonian National Television – everyone can then go and vote online for it to stay featured! 😉

What else? The last night before leaving Estonia, Eric told me something I wish I’d known while promoting the tour: he’s a descendant of Jesse James and his grandmother was actually a consultant on the very first film ever done about the famous outlaw. Nevertheless, his Estonian tour was supported by the US Embassy in Tallinn and the songs we cut during the tour in Tartu were funded by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

On my myspace page http://www.myspace.com/andresroots , you can already hear two of those songs: “Lemon Days” with Eric on vocals and Jantso Jokelin on harmonica and beatboxing, and “Shades” with Bottleneck on vocals, Jantso on harp & Kalle on drums.

Andres Roots

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