Monday, June 13, 2016

Darren Poole’s Rootsy-Gutsy Blues Tribute: Rootbone’s Debut Release

Waterdown based band recorded at Catherine North Studio

Rootbone is a Hamilton (Waterdown) based band featuring Juno Award winning guitarist Darran Poole, formerly of the band Fathead. The band has just released the debut album 'The Long Road Home.'

RootBone is the creation of songwriting team Poole (guitar and lead vocals) and Bobbi Richards (percussion and vocals). To round out the band they brought in veteran musicians Bob “Omar” Tunnoch on fretless bass and Jim Casson on drums. Other seasoned sidemen include Mark “Bird” Stafford on harmonica, Shakey Dagenais on piano, Gene Hardy on tenor saxophone, William Sperandei on trumpet, and Gary Kendall on bass.

‘The Long Road Home’ contains ten original songs that tout the full range of roots blues textures and grooves. Nothing ever gets boring. Bobbi Richards’ lyrics are the typical blues themed life-crisis, living-on-the-edge tales. With Casson nailing down every beat it is hard for the band to forget why they showed up. The album speaks confidently and brashly at times, especially in free-wheeling and exciting rock track Lucinda. More of a funky attitude comes out with Toll Jumping where the groove is sweetened with Bobbi Richards’ congas.

Poole’s double chorus guitar solo screamed, “sit up dude, you’re in for a listen!”
Harmonica fans will enjoy Right Time where Bird gets to step up front with some lead lines and solo space. His harmonica is used more subtly in Born to Play but no matter because “you gotta do what you do when you’re born to play...” Kudos to the production team and arrangers for creating interest and variety all throughout the album. In Wrong Way Jack Poole has a funky guitar solo that stands apart in my mind. The horns in Stacked Deck added a tasty, exciting edge to this laid back, funky number. Gene Hardy’s crazy tenor solo more than matched Poole’s guitar energy. The opening track Tables Gonna Turn perfectly sets things off. The fast shuffle, horn shots, riffs, and backup vocals had me from the get go. Midway through the tune Poole’s double chorus guitar solo screamed, “sit up dude, you’re in for a listen!”

Bobbi Richards and Darran Poole

Poole has also played with The Gary Kendall Band, Mark “Bird” Stafford, Phil Guy, Guitar Shorty, Dawn Tyler Watson and The Maple Blues Revue.

He won a Juno Award for “Blues Album of the Year” from his work with Fathead.


Darran Poole & RootBone 

Short video of the album recording session:

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