September 21, 2023
Andres Roots – Vol. 12

Andres Roots – Vol. 12

Roots Art Records – 2023

14 tracks; 37 minutes

Andres Roots (his real name, by the way) is an Estonian guitarist who mainly performs instrumental music, as is the case here. He has performed at festivals in Europe and the States, including the King Biscuit, and has represented his country in the European Blues Challenge. He has been fairly prolific, releasing albums and EPs on a regular basis, although a health scare and the pandemic has meant that this is his first studio release since 2018. The fourteen tracks are all solo performances, drawn from several sources dating back to 2019. Some have been released before, some are new recordings. The album is not in chronological order, but for review purposes it is perhaps helpful to look at the material in that way.

The earliest tracks come from a 2019 vinyl only EP and they are the only tracks here on which Andres plays electric guitar. The title track of the EP, “Waiting Around” is a slowish blues with Andres playing the lead lines over his own rhythm track, a technique that will become familiar across the album; “Birdsong Thing” does fit the title but is rather repetitive. Six tracks were originally released as the 2021 Afternoon CD EP, now out of print. There is a strong rhythmic approach to “Sunstroke” and “Sherwood” provides a similarly uptempo finish to the whole album. The other four tracks are all directly related to the blues: “Picnic At Dockery’s” is certainly blues enough to evoke the title while “Bye Bye Berry” uses the familiar rhythms of St Louis’ greatest export to good effect, even referencing “No Particular Place To Go” at one point; “Blues On Green” is a slow slide piece and “Years Past Midnight” finds Andres blending Country and Blues, again using slide.

Three tracks come from a collaboration in 2022 with a theater production of N. Richard Nash’s “The Rainmaker”, a play made into a film with Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster in the 1950’s. Ethereal slide features on a quiet tune entitled “Starbuck Theme” whilst “Western Of The Month” successfully blends Country and Blues in an upbeat number. “Hawk’s Out With His Axe” was also intended for the play but not used and a re-recording of it was made in late 2022; it’s an attractive folk-style tune. Three further recordings come from that 2022 session: slide features on “So It Is, Subhuti”, an appropriately Middle Eastern feel is created for “Dromedary” and “Yuletide Blues” includes a snatch of “Jingle Bells” at the start!

There is no doubt that Andres Roots is a fine picker and those who enjoy acoustic guitar playing will be sure to find music here that suits their tastes.

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