Andres Roots – Breakfast in September
Roots Art Records
Andres Roots is an Estonian guitar player who has produced 11 new tracks and one cover that are performed solo except for “Tango Walk” where he is joined by Halvo Liivamagi on guitar. Roots uses a vintage AMG-2 Tricone resophonic guitar on the acoustic tracks, a Tokai Love Rock on two cuts and Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster with pickups hand wound by his cohort Liivamagi on three other cuts and a Walden t550 acoustic with another custom handwound pickup on “One For Mezz.” This is a guitar lovers dream album as Roots lets us see his mettle. His prowess on the guitar is quite evident- there is some really cool and interesting picking on these cuts.
Referred to as “The King of Estonian Blues,” Roots is a major league slide guitarist, songwriter and bandleader. He works out of Tartu, Estonia, he is known as the country’s ‘internationally best-known player of pure blues.’ He seamlessly mixes old style, pre-war blues, swing, and ’60’s rock into a beautiful mélange of guitar sounds. He is quite the impressive guitar wizard.
Roots begins with his Resophonic on “The Sheik of Hawaii, Pt 1,” a song that sounds more like it has Indian influences than Hawaiian. Roots fingers blaze over the frets as he picks frantically yet artistically. “Tango Walk” is a beautiful duo with Halvo plays a handcrafted Blues Machine guitar while Roots is on his Jazzmaster. The interplay us lively and enjoyable- the two are quite familiar and in sync as they wind through the instrumental. “4 AM Hot Dog” is a rollicking and fun cut on the Resonator. “Leif’s Guitar Blues” takes us to the Tokai Love Rock, a Japanese adaptation of the famous Les Paul guitar. Played with a very cool distortion through a ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox amp, it’s very dirty and old school sounding. Roots cleans up nicely with “No Iguanas,” another spectacular cut on the Resonator. “Waltzin’ Blue” completes the first half of the CD. Roots is back on the Jazzmaster and plays a lighter sounding tune for us as he gracefully slides up and down to the listener’s delight.
“Jook Jones” is another nice Resonator tune showcasing Roots’ abilities on this steel guitar. “One For Mezz” is the lone cut on the Walden and is played through the Lunchbox amp. Here the sound is not overdriven as Roots effortlessly picks and glides through this cool cut. “When The Saints GO Marching In” is the lone cover and Roots showcases the Resonator as he plays with fervor. The Tokai returns for “7th Heaven” and we get another intensely cool sounding piece to savor. Things begin slowly put then Roots lets loose and romps and blazes as he plays another cool-y distorted and interesting piece. “Stumbleweed” contrasts as a clean sounding song once again on the Resonator. The pace is swift as Roots begins and then slows things down in the middle for an interesting change of pace before shifting back into high gear to close things out. The album concludes with “The Sheik of Hawaii, Pt 2” where he plays the Jazzmaster through the Lunchbox amp. The sound is intense and sweet. The sound is completely different from the opener and offers a nice contrast stylistically to finish things off. We still have that thread of Indian influence but the sound is completely different on this guitar and amp. Well done!
Roots offers this all-instrumental guitar album and I think he hit a home run. The sounds are varied and interesting. The fingering of notes, chords and bass line is exceptional. One can see why he won the first ever Estonian Blues Challenge and Best Guitar Prize in October 2017 and went on to represent his country in the European Blues Challenge in Norway in March 2018. If you like the Resonator and well done instrumental guitar work then look no further. Andres Roots will give you a ride to remember as you play this CD over and over again. I really enjoyed this one!