Jeff Root w/Zack Root and Grant Clark
Gig Seeker Pro

Jeff Root w/Zack Root and Grant Clark

Westminster, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Westminster, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Rock Alternative




"Jeff Root continues his quirky brilliance with The Pig In The Python album"

Jeff Root comes up with an album of engaging, interesting, and fun rock and roll music almost yearly. The Pig In The Python CD is another offering from his fertile imagination. Root, from the Central Massachusetts area, has a sound unlike anyone else in the local music scene. His smooth, unique vocal timbre rides over his melody line with a self-restrained energy unlike anything heard before. His song ideas are over the top wholly original, never following the usual songwriting patterns. The Pig In The Python is a dynamite album due to Roots’ ability to remain wholly original. The man seems genetically incapable of following in the footsteps of others. And that’s a good thing.

Root breezes right in with opening track “The Heart Of You,” an unusually appealing song, with acoustic guitar accentuating the rhythmic twists and turns, punctuating them with charming persistence. As Root doesn’t write like anybody else, it‘s hard to predict where this song is going. His vocal glides over the peaks and valleys with a majestic ease that pulls the listener along.

Title track “The Pig In The Python” grooves along with that hip unpredictably, but when Root gets to certain places in the song, it all makes sense when we see what’s he’s done. He has his son Zack Roots playing low end notes that are at once knobby and smooth. Root, here, offers everything from rap to edgy guitar eruptions to playful intervals of keyboard to his own engagingly smooth vocal, perfectly adorning his groove.

“Are You Still Out There?’ was written for Root’s father and it shows he has a very warm, upbeat connection to his dad. This song moves with a bounce in its step, making the listener smile while tapping his toes to those peppy, almost floating rhythms he puts underneath everything here.

JeffRoot2Roots describes his ideal partner in “Someone To Share A Private Joke With,” a description that you’re unlikely to see on any dating site. The artist lays out his quirky lyrics with a persistent willfulness to keep his ideal mate interesting. It’s a treat to hear his kind of timbre over a slow build up in his groove. Listeners can actually feel this movement bringing them somewhere. Root also has a touch of eerie in his guitar and keyboard melodies. There’s a bittersweet, comic tragedy feel in his higher notes that keep the listener wondering if all is going well in his search. Amazingly, he keeps the ears glued with his hip sounds and unique artistic vision.

“The Best Present Ever” is a light, airy number that finds each instrument being gently played. Root’s quirky, mellifluous voice has its mysterious pull. You cannot help but wonder where he’s going to take the listener with his unusual articulation of his unusual songwriting pattern.

Getting back to edgy music, “Frank Finis” emerges from a mesh of grueling guitar and bracing synthesized violin. Root has things marching forward with an authoritative stomp. Over his mesh of instrumentation, Root sings out a horror story that sounds based on Universal monster movie storylines. He succeeds, once again, at creating a peculiar and interesting story backed by music that’s different and gripping.

“Pentatonic Mozart” is Root’s quirky, beautiful, moving tribute to Ray Davies and the time in his life he discovered The Kinks and the new sound that unusual band offered. Root throws in a few riffs from “You’ve Really Got Me” to emphasize his enthusiastic response. Root sings warmly while playing a sweet organ melody that puts across all the joy he’s received from that band. This one is just a delight to listen to, especially when he borrows that timeless riff.

“If Death Were A Temptress” isn’t just an unusual song title. Root actually contemplates death as a metaphor for the things in life and in the universe that could kill us, no matter how fascinating they are. It moves forward with a murky, bumpy low end and an pop rock guitar riff. Put Root’s smooth, flowing, quirky voice, articulating his odd visions, and we have a winsome little piece of art.

JeffRootRoot goes for the pop-rock quirk even more with “Cupid’s Tongue.” His lilting vocal melody, playfully tap dancing over sweet piano notes, tickles the ears and takes them along for a pleasant ride. This is definitely an artist that makes you wonder what would’ve happened if he had been in the right place at the right time. There are some new twists in this seemingly simple pop ditty that could’ve revolutionized the music we hear every day on the radio.

Going up-tempo for “My Compelling Reality,” Root makes the song climb ever higher into one’s consciousness with its energized lift. There’s so much motion and purposeful stride to this number that you feel compelled to follow it. Along the way, the listener gets a rocking piano line, combustive guitar phrasing, and the Root personality and character voice to make it even more lively.

“The Sex Apprentice” plays upon exotic foreign tones, giving it a faux middle eastern electric guitar melody and keyboard notes that sub for sitars. It all makes for a colorful, intriguing backdrop to a tale of sexual intrigue in foreign lands. Lyrical images put the apprentice into all sorts of sensual rendezvous. Root’s unique vocal timbre is particularly well-suited to this suggestive ditty.

“The Tenacious Future” finds Root telling people to learn how to swim or sink like a stone. His muscular guitar rhythm is a solid backbone for this cautionary tale about where our present day society is heading. More assertive here, Root lays down a compelling case to get ready for what’s to come, and he does it with solid musical authority.

JeffRoot3Root closes out his album with “Psychotic Romance,” a tale of dating someone who is dangerous and out of touch with reality. A modern day worry for many, Root, tastefully, makes light of the kind of person who can’t get someone out of his head, no matter how abusive that person is. He sets up some clever contrasts that makes his song compelling. His rhythm guitar soothes while his subject matter disturbs. His sprightly piano melody contrasts with the basic drive of the rhythm section. It’s pop-rock madness as maybe Frank Zappa or Warren Zevon would’ve imagined.

Jeff Root is definitely a local artist who should be an international artist. He keeps his music fresh without even trying because he views differently from others certain subject matters while traveling unique songwriting paths. That he can come up with such material every year offers another clue to his over the top abilities. If the best music is local, then Jeff Root is one of the best, and he proves it again with this latest release The Pig In They Python. - Bill Copeland

"Jeff Root reflects his strange brilliance on The Wild Fandango CD"

Jeff Root is a beautifully strange rock and roll singer-songwriter. On his latest CD, The Wild Fandango, the metro-west recording artist mixes numerous styles not usually combined to come up with fun, enjoyable pop rock songs. Like a film score composer, Root creates an entire mood and setting. He also likes to tell odd tales in each song.

Four of the songs on this album were initiated in one of the workshops hosted by Ray Davies. Davies is clearly an influence on many of Root’s creations, which means you grab hold of whatever genre or style you feel like playing in the moment and have a lot of fun with it. All of these songs succeed because Root is unafraid to follow his creativity wherever it may take him.

The tango flavored folk-rock title track fuses elements of gypsy rhythms to classic rock sensibilities. There really is no one term that can describe what Root has come up with here. He puts together numerous influences to create something that Tom Waits may have invented. Roots has one of those raw vocal tones that keeps his song sounding rootsy and grounded. The result is an exotic sounding number that intrigues on numerous levels.

“Smell My Glove” is a basic form rock song influenced by1970’s bands like Kiss and The Sweet. Thematically about a dominatrix doll, Roots extols his love for an inanimate object, his raw vocal practically shouting over a determined rhythm guitar and a kitschy cool lead phrase. Though simple, the music still impresses in the way Roots uses these musical clichés to celebrate his humorous lyrics.

A dark folk-rock song “Ghosts And Tombstones” gets its character from Root’s assertive vocal dynamics. He puts emphasis in just the right places so you know you’re listening to a crafty narrator. It’s a treat to listen to his eccentric emotive voice over his bony, spectral keyboard notes.

More rocking and edgier than his previous songs, “Lead Balloon” is an amusing enjoyable romp through rock music styles from the British Invasion straight up through the end of the classic rock era. Roots sings it almost like an anthem, with boyish enthusiasm, as he references The Beatles, John Sebastion, The Loving Spoonful, and many others. In fact, his song title is a reference to John Entwistle’s comment that a new band Jimmy Page was putting together would go over like a lead balloon.

“Praying Mantis” has an eerie, droning keyboard melody and forlorn acoustic guitar. There are also electric guitar bends creating more odd tension in the music. From that platform, Root digs deeper into his earthy roots timbre to sing it with a considerate foreboding. It’s like a slow walk toward a dire fate that Root creates, almost like a perfect film score.

Rocking accordion underscores Root’s list of dangerous defective people in “Out Here In The Sunlight.“ Shards of lead guitar phrasing and rollicking piano give this all a carnival music edge as Root does his best circus barker best at the microphone.

“So Far Away” feels like a country roots folk thing with ocarina notes blowing sweet intervals in the background. The fulsome chorus is loaded with purity of voice and sincerity of heart. This song could credibly be played on classic rock, alternative rock, and modern country radio. It’s a complex mix of styles not easily pigeon holed.

Root gets campy in his lyrical theme on “Love Rays And Laser Beams,” a fun rock and roll song with allusions to science fiction films. The one-man snappy rhythm section of Root’s bass guitar and drumming put a lot of kick and motion into this, and that is what makes it such a fun song.

“Tell Me” plays like an old time jazzy show tune. In fact, it even has a crackling vinyl record sound effect to root it in an earlier time period. You can picture people dancing and acting on stage to its jaunty rhythm and its lilting cello line from Mary Carfagna. Root sings it through a device that replicates older recordings, giving this a lot of charm. You wish the piece could be much longer to enjoy its waltz through the past.

Back into pop-rock territory, “In Heaven’s Light” wafts into Ray Davies/Kinks like eccentricity. The down tempo thumping rhythm section keeps this tune rooted in a playful mode. The interplay between Root’s lead and backing vocals make for another layer of fun while a perky keyboard melody are a treat for the ears. This is another of Root’s sweet confections that you wish could be a little bit longer.

“Existential Anxiety” opens with a majestic pop rock organ sprawl. But that keyboard magic and an edgy persistent guitar phrase only speak to part of the song. Root has an intuitive sense of how, when, and where to inject his character-rich vocal. He finesses the hell out of his vocal line, and it become one of those moments when you realize how some of the greatest talent remains on the local level.

A sorrowful cello line, again from Mary Carfagna, meanders moodily through “Maudlin Movie Soundtrack.” Root’s easeful crooning of his lyricist’s plight of meeting a film company’s deadline inspires both sympathy and humor. Only a singer with Root’s rangy possibilities of emotion and timbre could pull off this black comedy song. The clever lyrics come to vivid life as Root infuses them with emotion while remaining self-restrained in his delivery.

Eccentric lyrics over an odd, backwards guitar line mark the ever so cool rocker “Kerouac King Kong.” There are so many spicy guitar lines bouncing around it isn’t funny. Sounding a little more Mark Knopfler influenced here, Root bends and sustains his higher pitched guitar notes, contrasting them against one another then playing them against his backwards phrase. This one is definitely for people who like their rock and roll with some sophistication.

In “The Curse Of The Mojo Hobo” accordion fills and brief electric guitar intervals create a Tom Waits like rock and roll by way of gypsy jazz by way of circus music. Root warmly wraps his colorful narrative with exotic old world sounds, and he sings it all in such elaborate expression of tone, timbre, and technique.

Root closes out his album with the surf-rock 1960s style organ tune “Secret Agent Lady.” A mild parody of Johnny Rivers‘ “Secret Agent Man,” this blend of spy drama and oldies rock format by way of classic rock guitar stylings is a fun entertainment piece. It also ends the album on a good note, reminding us of Roots interest in humor and old school rock and roll.

Root accomplishes a lot in these 15 tracks. His immense talents, knowledge of music and pop culture, and an unfettered sense of expression come together in one heck of an impressive work. It’s art. It’s entertainment. It’s genius. - Bill Copeland


My One and Only - forthcoming in 2016
The Pig in the Python - 2014
The Wild Fandango - 2012
Fossil Rock - 2011
Genre Circus - 2010
The Secrets of Love - 2009
Toadstool of the Realm - 2008
Kerouac King Kong - 2007
Angst Cretin - 2005
Ordinary Guise - 2001
The Spirit of '67 - 1999



A contemporary evolution of the great 60s groups (Kinks, Beatles, The Who, Lovin' Spoonful) with catchy, innovative, compelling music and provocative, engaging lyrics.   Fronted by Jeff Root - vocal and guitar, with his son/collaborator, Zack - bass and longtime drummer/business partner Grant Clark.