Root Doctor
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Root Doctor

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"An Old Soul with a Lime Twist, (08/02/06)"

Hailing from Michigan, Root Doctor has quite a southern influence on their album. These guys have a tight sound with an amazing vocalist blazing down the path. Been a Long Time Coming has a mix of originals along with a few covers from the Malaco and Stax Record labels from Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee, respectively. There is also a cover of the old Willie Brown "Mississippi Blues." Root Doctor is a band that lets Freddie Cunningham lead with his voice while the band creates the dark night sky behind the shining star. The Doctors do use the roots of the music to blend their sound.

No matter how they put this album together it would sound good. Each song is so strong that you want to hear the next song. There are four songs on here that are covers that I would say are very hard to pull off for most bands: "Last Two Dollars," "The Turning Point," "Respect Yourself," and "Rainy Night in Georgia." Root Doctor holds their own on each song. They play each song with their own style while keeping the song to its original sound. The songs are also spread out through the album to keep a great flow throughout. These guys even place the only acoustic number, "Mississippi Blues," right smack in the middle of the album; while most albums save the acoustic number for the last track.

This album uses a good dose of organ very effectively. The horns are played in just the right spots. The guitar parts are added in only when needed, there are no guitar solos just for the sake of having a guitar solo. Root Doctor goes after an older Soul sound and does a good job of hittin' it. The originals on the album sound good and the covers prove that this band knows where it is coming from and where it wants to go. Hopefully this lineup stays together for a long time. This group has the focus to make the long haul and should hit the road often with their sound. There are still plenty of veterans of the Soul school around touring, but to hear other groups hit that sound and bring it to the audience is always a welcome addition. I'm looking forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.

- Blues Wax


"Belongs On Your Christmas In July Shopping List"

Their's is a good sound. Blues on the cusp of funky jazz, with plenty of soul on the side. The vocals (including the harmonies) and the individual players (listen for the B-3) make the arrangements so likable. At times this could be a "bluesed up" take on Motown -a little Stax anyone? Their home base of Lansing, Michigan is just 90 miles from the Motor City (the same distance that Key West is from Cuba), but Root Doctor could just as easily be from the Bay area, East St. Louis or Memphis.


"Michigan Roads" (track 2) is a geography lesson for a state that has known better days. It was once a musican-friendly mecca for migrants with auto industy ambitions from the Delta and other points South. Where it's headed now is anybody's guess. But talent still clings to the terrain.

Top notch singing and playing make this album a contender, and the liner notes are an asset. Root Doctor is Freddie Cunningham (on lead vocals), James Williams (on bass guitar and backing vocals), Jim Alfredson (on Hammond organ, keys, and lead vocals on the title track), Greg Nagy (on guitar, backing vocals, and lead vocals on "Mississippi Blues"), and Matt Hayes on drums. The Sofa King Horns-all four of them-are flanked by three additional trombones, is that impressive or what?

High Points include the guitar work on "Me and My Wife" and "Michigan Roads", the Memphis-like groove that infects, "Love Bones" and "The Turning Point", and two fine covers-- "Respect Yourself" and "Rainy Night in Georgia", brim with soul. Been A Long Time Coming belongs on your Christmas in July shopping list.

George P. Seedorf
Big City Rhythm and Blues, June and July 2006
- Big City Rhythm and Blues


"The consummate working band, worthy of any festival or club audiences' attention."

Lansing, Michigan-based Root Doctor recently made an excellent showing on the Living Blues radio charts with this record, and deservedly so: Been A Long Time Coming is a beautifully executed project, from the performances to the repertoire and production. Balancing traditional blues with soul and even prewar country blues material (Greg Nagy's John Hammond–inspired reading of Willie Brown's Mississippi Blues), Root Doctor emerges here as the consummate working band, worthy of any festival or club audiences' attention.

Freddie Cunningham is an authoritative blues singer whose voice wavers and perforates like a hard-nosed version of Bobby Bland. This is delightfully apparent during straight soul numbers like the Brook Benton hit Rainy Night In Georgia and a powerhouse read-through of Leo Graham's Turning Point, a strong composition made popular in 1975 by Tyrone Davis. On the latter track, as with most of the R&B material, the Sofa King Horns form a brass stronghold as robust as any performing traditional soul today.

Memorable original songs bookend the album, and the first two tracks are at once instrumentally savvy and lyrically inventive. Me And My Wife shuffles through a blues that celebrates marriage (rather than being heartbroken by it), and Michigan Roads cites new and unlikely blues highways over sly funk.
EH, Living Blues Magazine, June/July 2006

- Living Blues, EH June/July 2006


"Traditional Does Not Have To Be Complacent"

My first encounter with Root Doctor was infectious, the band dancing its way into my head. For three days I listened to the album; then I started listening again from the beginning. Root Doctor took me on a journey from their Michigan base to the Mississippi Delta, for a shuffle down the street of Chicago and even on a jaunt through Georgia, conjuring images and memories I am sure are not mine - but while submerged in the experience I am unable to decipher my reality from that of the songs. Root Doctor continually mixes it up from track to track, proving the flexibility of both the band and the genre.

The vocal stylings of Freddie Cunningham were a surprise, meaty and delicious from start to finish. Moved along by James Williams on bass and vocals, and Matt Hayes on drums, the rhythms provide a perfect place for Greg Nagy (guitar, vocals) and Jim Alfredson (Hammond B3, keyboards, vocals) to evolve and complete the sound. Fun, energetic, and soulful, their music is a promise to rhythm and blues that what is past is as close as the present: traditional does not have to be complacent.
Pip McKay - Elmore Magazine, May 2006

- Pip McKay - Elmore Magazine, May 2006


"The Blues is Alive and Well.."

The Blues is alive and well and Root Doctor has been carrying the torch in Lansing, Michigan. In fact they've been named "Best Blues Band" four years in a row there. Been A Long Time is an impressive showcase for Freddie Cunningham's rich baritone and a crack band that effortlessly swings from 12-bar blues shuffles (Me And My Wife) to horn-fueled soul (The Turning Point) to Staxy R&B (Respect Yourself) to acoustic Delta Blues (Mississippi Blues). There's even a Van Morrison-inspired number sung by keyboardist Jim Alfredson. Speaking of Alfredson, he also impresses on the Hammond B-3 during My Foolish Pride, one of 5 originals here. Though the band nails the 7 cover tunes (including Last Two Dollars, Rainy Night In Georgia, and Love Bones, featuring the Sofa King Horns), the new songs stand out best. On the soulful ballad Hold On, Cunningham delivers a vocal in the league of one Lou Pride and guitarist Greg Nagy shreds on the funky Michigan Roads. Hope these guys tour out West real soon.
Blue Critic Encinitas, CA - www.bluescritic.com

- Blues Critic


"Strong classic soul undercurrent.."

It's easy to get jaded as we regularly get inundated with dozens of blues records a month, most decidedly unmemorable. Root Doctor is a band that made us take notice, blending a powerful mix of R&B, soul, funk and hard blues delivered by terrific vocalist Freddie Cunningham.

Root Doctor's sound harks back to the 60's and 70's era that melded soul, blues and funk similar to band like Tower of Power, Blood, Sweat and Tears as well as drawing from soul factories like Muscle Shoals, Stax and Hi Studios. Interestingly the record was recorded through a mixing console purchased from the legendary Muscle Shoals Recording Studio. Custom-built and delivered to Muscle Shoals in 1978, the board was used on sessions by Aretha Franklin, Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Blue Bland, James Brown, and many many others. Underpinning Root Doctor's sound is a strong classic soul undercurrent delivered magnificently by front man Freddie Cunningham in a warm, rich baritone. The band has great chemistry, laying down a deep groove on soul drenched numbers like a steamy version of Johnnie Taylor's classic Last Two Dollars, the irresistibly funky, catchy Love Bones and a great R&B hook on Been A Long Time Coming featuring vocals by keyboardist Jim Alfredson. Root Doctor handles the blues with equal authority on numbers like the down home acoustic blues of Mississippi Blues, the tough Too Late To Try To Do Right or the chugging good time feel of Me And My Wife. Throughout the band is rock solid featuring stellar guitar from Greg Nagy, fabulous Hammond organ from Jim Alfredson who gets plenty of room to cook and batch of soulful horn players that give the whole project that classic soul/R&B feel.

Hopefully this new record will spread the word about this fine soulful outfit who certainly deserve wider recognition. Been A Long Time Coming is knockout disc from start to finish and fans of classic soul, R&B and blues should enjoy this one immensely.
Jeff Harris, WITR Rochester NY - www.baddogblues.com

- Jeff Harris, WITR Rochester NY - www.baddogblues.com


"A Real Gem"

This CD immediatly starts by aiming right at the middle of the target with an almost jump blues shuffle in which, from the very first notes, Greg Nagy's guitar causes your jaw to drop. Not only because of the man's dexterity, but also because of his "controlled" imagination. Indeed, neither a uselessly logorreic guitar hero nor a servile emulate with no personal input, Greg isn't the kind who delivers the same licks heard over and over a thousand times everywhere else. On the contrary, his touch marries authority to originality, with just the required amount of delicacy it takes to make the whole thing even more fluid. And when you just have closed your mouth, it's Freddie Cunningham's voice that nails you to your seat. His singing can compare to the greatest blues and soul vocalists together! Hardly recovering from this mix of velvet and strength, you start to enjoy Freddie's vocal caress when Jim Alfredson knocks you down with a Hammond B3 solo as inspired as Nagy's one. Meanwhile, bassist James Williams and drummer Matt Hayes elaborate a rhythmic backup that turns the music into the alchemy of a perfectly tight band. As soon as the first song ends, you can only look forward to hear the following number. It arrives in the shape of a funky blues that could make the late Albert Collins himself rise from his grave, soon followed by a beautiful slow blues, then it's a great soul song you'd think good old Stax days are back. And it goes on for about an hour with a variety of sounds digging into blues and soul, including a real horn section featuring tenor, alto and barytone saxes, a trumpet, and three different trombones on three different songs, playing sharp shaped arrangements, the full monty! There even is a country blues track warmly sung by Greg Nagy who plays Mississippi Blues solo. You should have figured it out by now, Root Doctor is a band that's going to be heard of a lot in the near future, and their first album is a real gem. So, if your usual retailer doesn't have it, make shame of him and run to the closest computer to order it as soon as possible from www.rootdoctorband.com!
René Malines Paris, France (in Virus de Blues issue # 8, June 2006)

- René Malines Paris, France (in Virus de Blues issue # 8, June 2006)


"Soulful Vocals"

Soul/blues outfit out of Lansing, Michigan recording their tunes direct to 2" analog tape through a Neve 8068 mixing console purchased from Muscle Shoals Studios, the very one that handled sessions by the likes of Aretha, Skynyrd, Johnnie Taylor and James Brown. Jim Alfredson makes the stand out contribution with some gorgeous Hammond B3 as well as writing credits for the five originals. Freddie Cunningham is the man with the soulful voice showcased superbly on the bands cool rendition of Rainy Night In Georgia. A couple of exceptions to the general rule appear in the shape of Mississippi Blues giving guitarist Greg Nagy a solo acoustic/vocal outing before cranking up the old Strat for the straight ahead slowish blues Too Late To Try To Do Right with Jim doing all the right moves on that B3. If you like your soul/blues then there's something here worth checking out and if you're a fan of the Hammond sound then it's definitely worth a listen.
Al Tait, Blues Matters UK, April 2006

- Blues Matters UK, April 2006


"Freddie Cunningham may be the best soul blues vocalist working today"

I was impressed with this disc the first time I heard it and my listeners apparently agree. Been getting calls for Last Two Dollars and Too Late to Try to do Right since the first time I played them on the air. Solid groove, soulful vocals and great songs. This disc has it all. Freddie Cunningham may be the best soul blues vocalist working today.
Mark Hillsman - Host of the Blues Blowout, Pirate Radio WIVI 96.1 FM
St. Thomas Virgin Islands

- Blues Blowout


"Root Doctor Has Never Sounded Better"

Been A Long Time Coming succeeds because the band has found its home in that tributary of the great blues river that became citified, wore evening apparel and got soulful, in the style of R&B greats Bobby "Blue" Bland or Jimmy Witherspoon. It's a classic style but with 21st-century pizzazz, and Root Doctor has never sounded better."
Lansing State Journal - www.lsj.com

- Lansing State Journal - www.lsj.com


Discography

Root Doctor: Been A Long Time Coming
#8 Living Blues Radio Charts Feb 2006
Top 25 several months running
Winner of 2006 WYCE Jammie Award, and just nominated for Detroit Music Award!

Photos

Bio

Root Doctor is based in the fertile Michigan music scene, but its roots extend far and wide. Spanning almost two decades, Root Doctor has steadily honed its sound, taking the blues world by storm with its debut studio release in 2006, "Been A Long Time Coming" (Big O Records, 2405). Critics and reviewers alike continually praise the earnest appeal of Root Doctor's sound. With airplay on over 400 stations around the globe, including XM satellite radio, "Been A Long Time Coming" firmly establishes Root Doctor's successful mix of soul and blues.

Anchored by founding member Freddie Cunningham's powerful baritone voice, Root Doctor features the talents of Jim Alfredson on Hammond B3, Rick Bole on drums, Greg Nagy on guitar, and founding member James Williams on bass. Root Doctor's music speaks with sincerity and authority across demographic lines. Root Doctor packs a soulful blues punch, equally at home on the largest or most intimate stages.

"Just what every good doctor should order: a solid, tasty and balanced program of well-sung blues and R&B originals and covers, fueled by guitar, organ and horns. The enthusiastic response BEEN A LONG TIME COMING has received is well deserved!" ~ Dick Shurman (world reknown producer)

"... an amazing Michigan talent..." ~ Muskegon Chronicle, after opening for Macy Gray

"What a great band...you guys were smokin..." ~ Frank Malfitano, Detroit International Jazz Festival (Root Doctor shared the bill with Taj Mahal and James Cotton)

"You saved the festival! You were awesome. It's all anybody can talk about." ~ Reotown Festival chairperson Ronda Lisky (Root Doctor headlined)

"One of the best acts we've ever had..." ~ Three Rivers Harmony Festival Chair Jon Rice (Root Doctor headlined)

"... Root Doctor emerges here as the consummate working band, worthy of any festival or club audiences' attention ..." ~ Living Blues Magazine