Friday, December 29, 2023

Looking Back on 2023

2023 saw the release of the first Andres Roots album since 2020 and "Vol. 12" has now received more praise from critics than any Roots Art release in ages - here's a few select quotes:

"It’s almost as if muddy waters were flowing into the Gulf of Riga. Musicians of this sort run counter to all expectations, and upset various purists." - Ted Gioia, The Honest Broker, USA

"Mixing blues of every origin... energetic and poetic, that we never grow tired of listening to." - Christophe Mourot, Soul Bag, France

"Roots has a great sense of blues as it fits in today's world." - Bman's Blues Report, USA

"If you still harbour doubts about the instrumental attraction of one man and his guitar in a, say, concert situation, you have no reason to. For Andres wields magic that many others lack." - Pete Hoppula, Blues News, Finland

"Let yourself be immersed in the world of acoustic slide guitar blues, a world that Andres Roots masters like no other." - Eric Schuurmans, Rootstime, Belgium

"Estonia's finest, and one of the prime acoustic blues instrumental players." - Norman Darwen, Blues in Britain, UK

Work also continued on the upcoming album with Red Mouth and Jantso Jokelin, with two more tracks released digitally: "Retirement Blues" and a new reading of the instrumental "Django". A note to vinyl lovers: the 2014 Estonian tribute to Hurriganes compilation that features a version of Ten Years After's "Hear Me Calling" by Andres Roots, Raul Terep and Mikk Tammepõld has now been re-released on vinyl!

A return to form was also evident on the gig front, with 64 concerts in 53 venues in 29 towns and villages in 5 countries: 28 in Estonia, 24 in Finland, 4 in Latvia, 4 in Germany and 4 in the UK. Live collaborations included sets and/or jams with Jantso Jokelin (FI), Ismo Haavisto & Matias Partanen (FI), Pan Salmenhaara & Herbert Quelle (FI/DE), Sir Douglas Groovers (FI), The Rhythmbreakers & Curtis Brazis (FI/US), Louie Fontaine & John DC Washington (DK/US/LV), and Pat Fulgoni (UK).

On other occasions, Andres Roots shared billing with Ahmed Ag Kaedy (Mali), Etuk Ubong & the Etuk Philosophy (Nigeria), Banjolectric (US), Faarao Pirttikangas & Nubialaiset (FI), Black River Bluesman & Bad Mood Hudson (FI), Tomi Puukko (FI), Otto Mikkola (FI), Steve Augarde (UK), and many others - including Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate Ron Whitehead (US).

In January 2024, Andres Roots will be returning to Latvia, in April to Germany, in May to Scotland, and - if not before! - in July to Finland. A few summer festival bookings in Estonia ought to be revealed soon enough, too :)

As always, a big thank you to everybody who attended gigs, put on gigs, wrote about gigs, took photos or filmed gigs, bought records, played records, wrote about records, made records, broke records - and to everyone that's been kind. Thank you, and Happy New Year!  

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