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Sol Roots / Blog

show review: Robert Randolph, Sol & Funk Root, Bobby Parker, Howard Gospel Choir

The Congressional Blues Festival is one of Washington DC’s premier music events. Past headline acts include artists such as Levon Helm, Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Bill Wax said “this festival presents a lot of shades and reflections of the blues”. The CBF is dedicated to giving back to American Roots music and has partnered with Music Maker and Blues Foundation.

This year the musical lineup was Robert Randolph & the Family Band, guitar legend Bobby Parker, the powerful Sol & Funk Root, and the spirited Howard Gospel Choir. The crowd was lined up in anticipation to get inside, to hear all the great musical acts, and to enjoy the food and drinks.

As festival goers entered, they received a taste of great music: Sol & Funk Root. Sol is an incredible guitarist and vocalist who has performed with musical heavyweights Taj Mahal and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, as well as with a broad range of roots, blues, and funk pioneers. Sol started off strong, leading his band Funk Root into an unusually funky twist on the tune Serve Somebody. The band then dove into several spirited originals Work It For Me, Sweet Sugah Momma and Your Love. Sol and his second guitarist Bobby Thompson (SOJA, Junior Marvin) both energetically played off of each other, trading tasty licks, and complimenting each other perfectly, as the crowd swarmed close to the stage and begin to dance. The drummer and bassist locked in tight grooves for Sol to dance over with his fiery fretwork. Sol presented an array of funk, blues, r&b, & rock music catering to the festival crowd and ended with the infectious groove of their original Let’s Get Down.

With crowd warmed up and ready, the Howard University Gospel Choir took the stage. This joyful choir skillfully performed When the Saints go Marching In. Their heavenly voices blended perfectly and had the audience singing along. The director then broke it down for their tune Thank You for These Blessings and then the lively O Happy Day. Their sweet harmonies and arrangements were a nice addition to the festival and reflected some of Robert Randolph’s gospel roots.

Next up was blues legend Bobby Parker and his five piece band. Bobby Parker kicked into high gear with a fast pace instrumental and then hit the audience with a slow blues. An Albert King cover and Superstitious provided two funky blues tunes that allowed Parker to showcase his stinging guitar playing. Parker's playing made it clear to see how he had influenced Santana, Jimmy Page, and John Lennon. The crowd enthusiastically cheered as Bobby Parker performed his hit Watch Your Step, perhaps not even knowing this song was later covered by Santana and others. Parker's set ended on the shuffle drag of Goin to New York. The crowd was fired up and ready for him to continue but also excited for the upcoming headliner.

Anticipation filled the air as Robert Randolph took the stage for the final performance of the night. Robert began with his screaming pedal steel intro echoing in the huge hall and then the band dropped into the groove of Look Where He Brought Me From. Marcus Randolph provided rock solid drum beats and Danyel Morgan locked in incredibly deep bass grooves and vocal harmonies, as band broke loose with I Need More Love. Lenesha Randolph with her beautiful soulful vocals sung “Anybody out there feel good?” as she received an enthusiastic response from the crowd. Guitarist Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce, Soulive) had a chance to really shine on this jam. Robert then slowed down to a hypnotic beat of You’ve Got to Move. Then the band boogied hard with the up-tempo Shake Ya Hips. Lovely ladies jumped on stage and shook their hips as Randolph shook out some licks on his guitar. Robert lit up the night with his unique pedal steel guitar and vocals, the band swayed, and the audience cheered heartily. What a perfect way to end the evening!

The CBF continues to give back to roots of American music. This was an incredible event with extremely high quality acts.

Shakori Hills Spring 2010 Festival - Jambase review

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance is a wonderful celebration of music, arts, and dance set in the beautiful North Carolina countryside. This vibrant festival offers four days of incredible music featuring some of the best international, national, regional, and local bands. The diversity and quality of the musical groups at Shakori Hills is impressive, and Shakori Hills is known for being a very relaxed, family friendly and earth-conscious festival.

The big name acts at this April's Shakori Hills included banjo master Béla Fleck, the Malian musician and bandleader Bassekou Kouyate, world psychedelic jammers Rusted Root, Americana musician Abigail Washburn, and the festival founders Donna The Buffalo. On the last day even Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones stopped by with his bass, mandolin, and keyboard for a few powerful guest appearances!

Among the many other spectacular groups who performed were Sim Redmond Band, Sol Driven Train, Hobex, Asylum Street Spankers, Hackensaw Boys, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Sol & Funk Root, and Great American Taxi.

Here's a healthy sampling of photos from Shakori Hills. If you missed this spring festival, the 2010 fall festival is right around the corner!


Photos By: gabriel Nelson KEVIN JAMES Artists in this gallery: Great American Taxi, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Bela Fleck, Casey Driessen, Rusted Root, The Smart Brothers, Hobex, Eilen Jewell, Chiwoniso, Sol & Funk Root, Greg Humphreys, Hackensaw Boys, Ralph Roddenbery Band, Bowerbirds, Whistlin' Britches, Captain Luke, Cool John Ferguson, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Scythian

Words by: S. Taylor | Images by: Kevin M. James & Gabriel Nelson

from: JamBase | North Carolina Go See Live Music! http://www.shakorihills.org/

[Published on: 5/3/10]

show review: The Wood Brothers, Joe McGuinness, & Sol in Richmond VA

The Wood Brothers are touring the east coast promoting their new album Loaded. The fans loved the Richmond Virginia concert that included the opening acts Joe McGuinness and Sol.

“We’re glad to be performing in Richmond for the first time!” declared Oliver Wood to an enthusiastic crowd at the Capital Ale House. Friday March 12 was The Wood Brothers second stop on a two week tour of the east coast. The brothers are promoting their new album Loaded on Blue Note Records that was produced by John Medeski. The downtown Richmond crowd was focused and appreciative of the Wood Brothers making their city a stop on their musical voyage. Sol and Joe McGuinness were both two extremely talented opening acts that complimented the Wood Brothers Virginia show perfectly.

Starting the night off with a bang, Sol, a fiery guitarist and soulful singer, kicked into some bluesy songs that included a local harmonica player Wave Milor. Sol performed a set of originals and his super solid bass player Mike Tony Echols provided Sol some space to stretch out and wow the crowd with his guitar virtuosity. Sol’s album includes musicians that work with Corey Harris, Jah Works, and Hobex. Oliver Wood compared Sol to songwriter Mutlu (Philadelphia based Mutlu works with The Wood Brothers fellow label mate Amos Lee).

Next up, Atlanta based Joe McGuinness presented very some tasteful guitar finger picking and also breaking out an electric banjo. McGuinness performed many originals including one of his signature songs “My Name Is Joe” and a cover song by another Atlanta underground blues legend Bill Sheffield. Joe’s CD release also includes guest appearances by the great guitarist Sean Costello. Joe ended his set with “I Feel So Good” and everyone in Capital Ale House was certainly feeling good!

Oliver gave thanks to the opening acts and The Wood Brothers jumped into “Stealing” and “One More Day” with the crowd singing along. Chris Wood tore into his stand up bass, ripping out grooves, with Oliver perfectly strumming infectious rhythms on his old Gibson guitar. Both brothers would occasion break into emotional solos that brought cheers from the audience. Tyler Greenwell provided some very tasteful drumming and percussion work. Tyler also works with Colonel Bruce Hampton, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeski and others. The musical connection between guitarist Oliver Wood and his brother Chris Wood was incredible. Chris Wood’s bass was rumbling through the sound system and he would hit high vocal harmonies to accentuation Oliver's lyrics. Capital Ale House was set up for mostly sitting and dining, but even the first opening act the music had folks up dancing. The dancing was brought to a head with The Wood Brothers performing their slinky rhythm on the tune “Spirit”.

The night ended with The Wood Brothers returning for an encore to perform “The Luckiest Man Alive”. The feeling was though out the air: the crowd felt lucky to be at a great concert and you could sense The Wood Brothers felt so lucky to be celebrating life and music with such an enthusiastic audience.

The crowd gave heartfelt cheers to The Wood Brothers presentation of stripped down acoustic songs, danced to their rocking electric songs, sung along with well know tunes, and listened attentively to the brand new unreleased tunes and songs from their newest album Loaded. The Wood Brothers put on a wonderful show, getting a great first taste of their fans appreciation in Richmond Virginia.


Sol Freedom review on Home Grown Music Network

We're very happy to have just begun working with Home Grown Music Network.

Leeway's Home Grown Music Network is a collective of independent bands, representatives, venues, stores, fans and people all working together to improve our world through good music!

The recent HGMN review of the CD release Freedom is here:


Sol featured on Music is Music Blogspot

Thanks to Music is Music Blogspot for spreadin all the great info about the east coast music scene! Here's a quote from their recent blog...

"Sol - Freedom Sol is an amazing talent! He is a guitarist/singer/songwriter and producer. His music makes you feel good- and that ain't bad! I have been listening to this CD (Freedom) consistently for an entire year... The songs have a great sound and cover several styles like deep blues, laid-back reggae, pure funk, psychedelic rock, and smooth R&B..... The main players here comprise of Sol and his band, but there are some brilliant new sounds complementing them like electric piano, horns and even a flute.... Sol puts into each song just what it needs. He can be take a nod to the traditional and still be original and fresh. There is not any over-the-top production and no showboating on the album. There is no need to pretend when the music is as pure and free as this! Everyone should hear this album!

now give yourself a New Year's present and GO BUY ONE (or more) OF THESE ALBUMS TODAY!"

"Freedom" song of the week for RockOm-

Sol was honored to be involved with RockOm recently! please visit the site below and connect with RockOm!


RockOm is an online community to celebrate, share and explore the common ground of music and spirituality, inclusive of all faiths and all musical styles. We at RockOm have created this venue to be a haven for spiritually-inclined musicians to share and promote their art, for listeners to encounter the power of their musical expressions, and all to forge new friendships, help each other, and discuss and further explore the bonds of music and the spirit.

Sol interview with CrossHarp Chronicles- featuring the best in Roots Music

Cross Harp Chronicles focuses on the best in modern day roots music. Cross Harp Chronicles recently sat down with Sol for an interview! The full article can be viewed at:


The article discusses: the spirit and philosophy of Sol's music; Sol's funk, blues, hip-hop, and world music roots; Sol's influences (including Guitar Gabriel, Taj Mahal, Cool John Ferguson, etc); and Sol's latest musical performances and CD releases.

Freedom album in top 15 for 2008! Green Arrow Radio

Green Arrow Radio specializes in funk, oldschool, jam, and world music- (created by the Funk Soul Music Director at WHUS)

the Album "Freedom" was in their top 15 albums for 2008! (alongside Sean Costello, Taj Mahal, Bill Laswell, PBS, Marcus Miller & more in top 60)!

Thanks Mister G & Green Arrow Radio!!!

discover more great music at www.greenarrowradio.com

"music for open minds & thirsty ear-holes"

direct link at: