The RootSoul Project

The RootSoul Project


Soulful vocals, Inventive Guitar Work, Polished Live Performance, Professional Attitude, Diverse Set List of Covers and Originals, Well Received by Wide Range of Listeners, often compared to Ben Harper, and Ray Charles


RootSoul Project is duo from Wilmington, North Carolina that blends the soulful aspects of numerous genres from rock and blues, to reggae and hip-hop. The band has been together since Spring of 2004, and has performed alongside names like Tim Reynolds, Culture, Victor Wooten, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Corey Smith, The Nappy Roots, Matisyahu, and Widespread Panic. RootSoul Project was also a house band at The House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach through the summer of 2008.

RootSoul Project is just what the name says it is. It started as a project to fuse the styles of roots music that the band loves with the styles of rock & roll, hip-hop, and soul that they grew up listening to. The result is a sound that pays homage to their musical role-models, while staying fresh in its approach and delivery. RSP tries to emphasize versatility in their shows, transitioning between contemporary and traditional styles of music without alienating the listeners.

Randy McQuay (vocals, keyboard, guitar, harmonica, drums) fronts the group, writing most of the songs and laying down the soulful vocals that have become the calling card of RSP. His vocals are heavily influenced by classic soul, reggae, country, and hip-hop, and are often compared to singers like Otis Redding and Ray Charles. Randy’s musical education started in high school, and continued through college, where he began to learn the piano, and majored in percussion.

It was in college where he met back up with a high school friend, Justin Johnson (lead guitar, slide guitar, bass). Justin’s main influences have been blues, bluegrass and early rock n’ roll. During a gig in the summer of 2002, Justin was asked to sit in on a few songs with Randy’s band. The few songs turned into the whole night, and he began playing every gig with Randy, adding his unique style of lead guitar to the band's sound. Eventually, the group’s name was changed to The RootSoul Project and Randy and Justin began touring around North and South Carolina either as a duo, or with a full band.

In January of 2005, Randy and Justin went into the studio with a few friends to record their first album, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica, slide guitar, percussion, and cello. The tracks were recorded and produced by Tommy Brothers at Audio Genesis in Wilmington, NC. The songs formed their first album, “Little Things”, which has received a great response from fans, solid reviews, and airplay on several radio stations.

Another year of gigging and writing followed, and in the Summer of 2006, RootSoul Project went back into the studio to record a self-titled, full band album. This time they brought along TJ Prystal (drums), Mike Hickman (bass, cello), and Rich Zimmerman (saxophone). The recording was done at Matrix studios in Wilmington, NC, and released in 2007.

In 2008, RootSoul Project went back into the studio to record an all gospel album, with Randy and Justin recording all of the tracks themselves on guitar, mandolin, bass, drums and harmonica. Once again the recording was done with Tommy Brothers at Audio Genesis.


"Little Things" (2005)
"The RootSoul Project" (2007)
"Will You Be Ready?" (2008)

Set List


Little Things
Wrong Again
I'll Sing for You
Right Here
Just Leave
Ain't Changing Me
Nobody Said It Was Painless
Whether the Weather
I Saw a Girl
Everything’s OK
Things Have Changed
Worst Case Scenario
Come Back Home
Rehab Song
What Do I Gotta Do
Looking Back on Times When I…
I Sing to Jesus
Every Time I Think of You
Will You Be Ready?
I Don’t Want Your Cup of Coffee
When My Ship Comes In
I’ll Be Somewhere Singin’
While This Crazy World Spins Around


Ray Charles
A Fool for You
You Don’t Know Me
Georgia on my Mind
I've Got a Woman
The Night Time is the Right Time
Mess Around
Drown in my Own Tears
Lonesome Boy Blues
Hallelujah, I Love Her So
Hard Times

Eric Clapton
Before You Accuse Me
Running on Faith
Walking Blues
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Wonderful Tonight

Stevie Wonder
I Wish
A Place In the Sun
Isn’t Sh