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Andres Roots -  Roundabout

Roots Art Records

12 tracks: 38.45 minutes

The reach of blues music at the start of the 21st century is nothing short of phenomenal. Whilst it is pretty easy to understand how the blues can have a significant presence in English speaking countries, is less clear how those with English as a second or even third language, can even feel the groove, let alone produce original and sometimes stunningly good blues as may be found on this CD.

Estonia, a country in eastern Europe, has its own small but highly skilled bunch of blues musicians. here some of them are joined by a smattering of Scandinavian, British and American artists to produce an album which could happily find a place on the shelves of the most dedicated roots blues collector.

The principal musician on this CD is Andres Roots who comes from Estonia and who is a multiple instrumentalist whose skills range from the one string diddley-bow, through harmonica to drums as well as delivering some tasty slide guitar. He is the composer of all 12 tracks on the CD and is joined by musicians from the USA, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Finland.

The opener, Duck Soup, an instrumental, features Andres on his diddley-bow with a rhythmic accompaniment and is a delightful touch of old timey music. The vocals on a number of tracks are provided by Eric Gebhardt from the USA who has a voice which is probably best described as Tom Waits meets Johnny Cash. Dave Arcari, and hails from Scotland also provides vocals on two of the tracks which come with an equally gravelly vocal style. Jukka Juhola, from Finland, who also wields a cigar box guitar, and goes by the delightful pseudonym, Black River Blues Man, provides a nice vocal on Thru The Valley which comes, believe it or not, with didgeridoo as a supporting instrument. Harmonica ace (third place in the 2009 World Harmonica Festival) Janso Jokelin also a Fin, provides some tasty harp on a number of tracks.

Increasingly finding a worldwide audience, Andres Roots, and his friends have here produced a modern sounding, traditionally based album, showing that the Mississippi delta is much more a state of mind than a geographical concept. Recommended.

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South ( a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central, 10am Pacific).

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