Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Andres Roots Roundabout "Roundabout" - video by Asko-Romé Altsoo, filmed @ Muusik Tartu.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 - Lookin' Back

2011 was meant to be "a year off", and thankfully, it has been – although not nearly as "off" as originally intended.

There were two albums recorded – "Leigh’s Spider Jam" by Andres Roots Roundabout and "The Hollow..." by L.R.Phoenix – plus some more experimental compositions for an international feature film soundtrack, but more on that when the editing process is complete.

Endla Jazz Club with Red Mouth. Photo by Leif Laaksonen.

There were two music videos in the Top 3 of the Eesti TOP7 TV chart in 2011: "Lemon Days" by Andres Roots, Eric Gebhardt & Jantso Jokelin, and "Death Letter" by L.R.Phoenix & Andres Roots, both directed by Asko-Romé Altsoo. Footage was shot for two more: "Thru The Valley" by Andres Roots & Bottleneck John, and "Roundabout" by Andres Roots Roundabout.

There was a live appearance on the ETV morning programme and two concert segments (from November 2010 and May 2011) aired on Tallinna TV; recorded music from the "Roundabout" and "Leigh’s Spider Jam" albums was used in the TV series "Ühikarotid" (Kanal 2) and "Köögikodanikud" (ETV).

Viru Folk Festival with Steve Lury. Photo by Andres Kütt.

There were tours with Eric "Red Mouth" Gebhardt (USA) and with Steve Lury (UK), as well as appearances at the Lahti Grand Blues Festival in Finland and at the Pärnu Blues Festival, Viru Folk Festival, Estonian Bike Weekend, Underground Blues, Guitar Jamboree, and the Baltic-Nordic Harmonica Festival, where the band also backed Dennis McMasters (USA). Club dates ranged from Graceland in Turku, Finland to the Estonian Dairy Museum in Imavere.

In 2012, there will be more gigs, including festival appearances in France (March) and in Finland (April, June). There will also be more recordings, but probably no album release – then again, "no album" was the plan for 2011 as well...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 - Some Posters

Looking back at 2011, there were many great gigs and cool happenings we were lucky to be part of. Many of them came with beautiful posters, so here's a few we managed to find digital versions of - the first six designed by Siret Roots of Roots Art OÜ.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vote For "Lemon Days" and "Death Letter"!

The annual Eesti TOP50 voting has just started: on January 7th, Estonian national TV will air the 50 best music videos made in Estonia in 2011, and until January the 5th you can vote for your favourite clip several times a day: just go here, select the video and click "hääleta". The two songs we have on the list are "Lemon Days" and "Death Letter", both directed by Asko-Romé Altsoo.

The song "Lemon Days" features Andres with Eric "Red Mouth" Gebhardt (USA) and Jantso Jokelin (FIN), was written by Andres Roots and released on his 2010 album "Roundabout". The video was filmed during Red Mouth's 2011 Estonian tour at the Estonian Dairy Museum and originally reached #2 in the weekly Eesti TOP7 chart, where it remained for seven weeks.

The Delta blues classic "Death Letter" features Andres with L.R.Phoenix (UK/FIN) and a longer, unedited version of the recording can be found on the 2011 L.R.Phoenix album "The Hollow...", where the tune is titled "Death". The video was filmed during the recording of the album in downtown Tartu, went to #3 and stayed in the Eesti TOP7 chart for two weeks.

Incidentally, the L.R.Phoenix album has just been declared the Best European Blues Album of 2011 by Canada's Blues Underground Network. In 2008, that award went to Bullfrog Brown's "Mother River Delta", produced by Andres Roots, in 2009 to Bullfrog's "Moon and Central", produced by Asko-Romé Altsoo & Roots, and in 2010 to Roots' own "Roundabout", again produced by Altsoo & Roots. The producers behind the Phoenix CD were Altsoo, Roots & Phoenix, so that makes it four in a row for the Roots Art team. British critic Grahame Rhodes writes about "the flourishing blues scene of Tartu in Estonia" in his review of the Red Mouth 7" also recorded at Altsoo's this year, and we're not about to argue!

Which brings us to the fantastic review of "Leigh's Spider Jam" by Christophe Mourot, just published in the French Soul Bag magazine: "It begins and ends with two guitar-and-harmonica instrumentals that could make one believe that some lost recordings from Johnny Shines' and Big Walter Horton's JOB sessions have just been recovered. The blue notes are of the "goose bump" kind, Estonian leader Andres Roots' velvety slide guitar is sumptuous with just the right dose of gritty riffs, and Indrek Tiisel's harmonica has a hell of a tone. These two live tracks alone are worth the price of the album...."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Festival Gigs In France & Finland

The following international gigs have been confirmed for the spring of 2012:

On March 23rd & 24th, a trio version of Andres Roots Roundabout (Tiisel-Eessalu-Roots) will be performing at the festival Le Blues Autour du Zinc in Beauvais, France; exact venues TBA.

Roots, Tiisel, Eessalu. Photo by Merle Madisson.

On April 14th & 15th, the full quartet line-up of Roundabout (Tiisel-Terep-Eessalu-Roots) will take part in the Stompin' At The Savoy festival in Helsinki, Finland. On April 14th, the band will play the festival afterparty at Juttutupa as part of the Ghettoblues event series; on April 15th, the gig will be at Katsomo during the festival's Sunday At Maxwell Street Market special.

Terep, drums & spooky lights. Photo by Kertu Vares.

There will also be a special Roots Art merch table set up for Maxwell Street, where you can buy CD's, ROMU amps, Siret Roots' handmade jewellery, and much, much more, so if you're anywhere in the area, it will definitely be worth checking out!

Meanwhile, cool reviews of "Leigh's Spider Jam" have been published in Sweden's Jefferson Blues Magazine and Finland's So order yours today - see our special Xmas offer for the visitors of!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Slide Guitar Instruction & Album Reviews

December 7th saw the publication of the very first issue of the first-ever Estonian guitar magazine, somewhat shockingly titled Kitarr. Among many other things, the current issue includes three pieces by Andres Roots: a story on ROMU amps, a closer look at Black River Bluesman's Lowebow triplenecker cigar box baritone, and a beginner's guide to slide guitar (below). Stay tuned for the next installment due in March! ;)

How to choose a slide & other stories by Andres Roots.

Kitarr also contains a lengthy review of "Leigh's Spider Jam" by award-winning author Sven Vabar and a comic strip by Steve Lury & ARR and Rajaajaja bassist Peeter Piik, who in turn reviews Riho Sibul's latest.

There were two further reviews of "Leigh's Spider Jam" published during the week: Margus Haav discusses it in the Estonian Muusika magazine and Luc Meert in Belgium's For quotes, please see The Hopefully Very Nearly Complete List Of Reviews Published Since November 2010.

Andres Roots Roundabout played their last gig of 2011 on December 8th; their first batch of international shows for 2012 ought to be announced next week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

#7 On French Airplay Charts!

What an incredible start to a week: "Leigh's Spider Jam" is #7 on the French Blues Radio Society's most played albums list for November 2011. The society - Le Collectif des Radios Blues - unites blues radio shows and hosts in France, Belgium and Canada, so this is fabulous news indeed! Merci beaucoup!

1- Beth HART & Joe BONAMASSA “Don’t explain” (Provogue)(2011)
2- Victor WAINWRIGHT & The WILDROOTS “Lit up!” (Wild Roots Records)(2011)
3- Richard KOECHLI “Howlin’ with the bad boys” (Nation Biztribution)(2011)
4- Chick WILLIS “Let the blues speak for itself” (CDS Records)(2011)
5- Keith B. BROWN “Down the line” (Dixiefrog/Harmonia Mundi)(2011)

6- David GOGO “Soul-bender” (Dixiefrog/Harmonia Mundi)(2011)
7- Andres ROOTS “Leigh’s spider jam” (Roots Art)(2011)
8- Chris DUARTE GROUP “Blues in the afterburner” (Provogue)(2011)
9- Didier-Marc BOURELLE “From nowhere” (Acoustic Roots Association)(2011)
10- Candye KANE “Sister vagabong” (Delta Groove Music)(2011)
11- TIA & The PATIENT WOLVES “Travellin’ with my guitar” (Autoproduction)(2011)
12- Olivier GOTTI “Olivier Gotti” (Autoproduction)(2011)
13- Duke ROBILLARD “Low down & tore up” (Dixiefrog/Harmonia Mundi)(2011)
14- Thorbjorn RISAGER “Dust & scratches” (Dixiefrog/Harmonia Mundi)(2011)
15- Son ROBERTS “Tell that story” (Gate Productions)(2011)
16- Bjorn BERGE “Blackwood” (Dixiefrog/Harmonia Mundi)(2011)
17- Ana POPOVIC “Unconditional” (Delta Groove Music)(2011)
18- The CASHBOX KINGS “Holler & stomp” (Blind Pig Records)(2011)
19- BIG PETE “Choice cuts” (Delta Groove Music)(2011)
20- JUMPIN’ JACK BENNY “I’ll be altight” (Boppin Records)(2011)

Time to take a bow. Photo by Kertu Vares.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cool Album Review From Canada, Pt. 2

Blues Underground Network also raves about L.R.Phoenix' latest solo album, which was recorded in Tartu, co-produced by the ARR production team of Asko-Romé Altsoo & Andres Roots, and features all of the Roundabout band: "...has gathered together perhaps the best European talent around...each track only featuring the minimum number of artists to get the point across...the great Banjo work of Martin Eessalu...Indrek Tiisel's superb playing of Harmonica and Jew's Harp..." - and so on and so forth!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cool Album Review From Canada

"Leigh's Spider Jam" is included in the Canadian Blues Underground Network's "Top Picks For December 2011" and receives a wonderful review from John Vermilyea:

"One thing you are going to get when Andres Roots is involved, is consistently great blues music, of the kind you would only have expected from seasoned Down South North American Blues Artists to have achieved, but really, throughout all the Albums of his, whether with Bullfrog Brown or not, he has never failed to amaze me concerning his ability to create Blues music that is absolutely authentic. The release of "Leigh's Spider Jam", shows not only his mastery of authentic Blues, but also his mastery of assembling many extraordinary artists to take along on his Blues journey."

Read the rest of it here and don't forget Roots Art Records' special Christmas offer on this very title - check the previous post below for details!