Doctor Oakroot
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Doctor Oakroot

Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Homemade Music"

[Oakroot] evokes the deep blues of the Mississippi Delta on a homemade cigar-box guitar, and both have roots in the 19th century. - The Charleston Gazette (WV)

"True and unique voice"

"Dr Oakroot has a true and unique voice that, like Tom Waits, has a way of identifying him as the performer as soon as he sings the first words. Laid back but with a rich texture of hard living his voice expertly carries the story along."

~ Matt Borczon - Uncle Enos Magazine, Spring 2008

"Expect the Unexpected"

"In live performance, Oakroot's playing and singing come across as viceral and dark...Expect the unexplected..." - Chiemi, Somerville News

"Scary Dude"

My favorite gem of the Fall calendar is Dr. Oakroot, who sings simple, dark songs on homemade guitars. Yes, he's made them all himself out of cigar boxes and pruned limbs and they have crazy names like the Gourbanjitar, Diddley Jo, Diddley Bo, and Morning Star Ukelele... [Oakroot could] whip out his Diddely Bo and lure a whole gaggle of wonder-eyed youngsters into the thicket for a demon song raising. -

"La blusa Doctoro"

[Doctor Oakroot] verkis muzikon per gitaroj memkonstruitaj el cigarskatoloj. Kiam oni ludas per skatolo, bastono kaj kordo, oni ne povas kashighi kaj la muziko estas neordinara.

(English translation) Doctor Oakroot made music with guitars he made himself from cigar boxes. When one plays with a box, a stick, and a string, one cannot hide and the music is extraordinary. - La Ondo de Esperanto, No-4 aprilo 2008

"Crowd Favorite"

Dr Oakroot... clearly a crowd favorite... - The Herald-Sun, Durham, NC

"Mean Slide Delivery"

[Doctor Oakroot]'s been playing guitar for 30 years and has developed a mean slide delivery. - The Independent Weekly

"21st Century Blues"

Doctor Oakroot's intent is to take the Blues and move what seems to have become a sometimes static musical form and move it into the 21st century. His lyrics are intricate, deep, and literate, and his guitar work is superb, particularly his clean, on the money slide-work. His vocal work is emotionally compelling without any obvious attempt to emote. - Jim Graves, host, Free Flight, WFSS 91.1 FM

"Blues Style"

Doctor Oakroot is a longtime, mostly blues-based musician in and around Durham, NC. He writes and performs in traditional style sometimes, and then moves into progressive blues (more varied and complex progressions than 1-4-5) , and finally into modal style, with no progressions. Interesting music, and even more interesting conversation. By request he performed a blues he had written in Esperanto (he has done several) themed around suicide, and also played one that began as a completely extemporaneous song about love written on the spot for a cousin's wedding. - Jim Graves, host, Free Flight, WFSS 91.1 FM

"Red Lion - 6th Act - Doctor Oakroot"

I missed most of Oak's performance last year in Carrolton, so I was really excited to catch him in Red Lion. He took the stage after a very hot afternoon. His performance followed my Jug Fusion hard rock set and Johnny Lowebow's punk set...and Doc knew how to deliver the goods. THIS GUY IS SOOOOOOO SMOOTH. I just sat back and took his music in like an ice cold beer. I kept saying to those around me, "I can't believe how smooth he is." Doc blew me away.

His smoothness can be attributed to several awesome ingredients in a perfect mix: his baritone voice + the use of nylon strings on his cigar box guitars. While most of us are stringing our CBGs with steel strings, Doctor Oakroot uses weedwhacker string and fishing line...and it's perfect for his performance.

Also, Doc is technically amazing in his guitar playing. This guy is pulling out big ol' jazz chords in finger-twisting 9th and augmented chords. He's a total original. He also keeps a tic-tac box kazoo (his own invention) tucked between his fingers and whips it to his mouth in the middle of songs.

I can't think of a better person to wind down the show. He was incredible. On top of everything else, he gave away one of his own cbgs to a lucky attendee.

Totally smooth. Technically brilliant. Pure class. Period.

Thanks Doc. It was an incredible concert. Can't wait to see you again in Hinton. - Shane Speal


Shroud for the Dead (2008)
Happy Birthday (2007)
Huntsville 2006: live at the flying monkey (2006)
Love and Death (2004)
Hapless Fool (2003)
Mythical Creature (2001)
Bosnujo (1999)
Bars & Churches (1998)
All available at



Doctor Oakroot was born in a taxi with no brakes, "and, " he says, "I been rolling ever since. I rolled right down to Hell, pulled up the Devil by the tail, and brought back some dark, dark songs."

And he plays those songs on quirky guitars that he makes himself. "I have a deep conviction that a true musician should make his own instruments. My grandma made her own dulcimer and I make my own guitars - it's a tradition."

Oakroot's guitars are decorated with pyrography (wood burning). He says, "I can't draw worth a damn, but I do it anyway." The designs inspire the names of his instruments - The Goblin, The Cyclops, The Weeping Goddess.

Folks get a big kick out of Oakroot's quirky creations whenever he plays... and an even bigger kick when he pulls out a very simple two string instrument, plays a couple of songs, and then gives the guitar to a lucky audience member - a regular feature of his shows.