Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots

Beale Street to the Bayou

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Victor Wainwright's band the Wild Roots are quickly establishing themselves as one of the best good-time bands on the blues bar and festival circuit. What they offer is a broad-based and even eclectic range of music, everything from jazz-swing and acoustic rural sounds to upbeat party music based in electric blues. Wainwright is also as diverse, playing a variety of different keyboards while singing with a slightly rough edge that might remind listeners of John Hammond, Jr. Bassist/producer Stephen Dees wrote or co-wrote nearly all of these tunes in typical themes that anyone can relate to. The cool swing-to-rock beat of "Mighty Man," the ultra-funk "Wild Root Jam," and a take on the Ray Charles evergreen "What'd I Say" complete with Farfisa organ give a strong indication of what has influenced Wainwright. Then there's the slide guitar- and harmonica-infused "Sold Down River" or tale of lost love "Not Afraid" that indicate the bandleader also has deep roots in folk-blues. Even hard rock is not beyond their purview as they do an energetic cover of the Pat Travers hit "School of Hard Knocks." There's something for everybody courtesy of Wainwright and his talented band, the perfect group to see live, or to have a primer to their next roadhouse gig.

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