“As a veteran, award-winning Michigan blues outfit, singer Freddie Cunningham and Lansing’s Root Doctor have established a solid reputation for their engaging live shows. But with “New Attitude,” recorded and mastered by respected producer Glenn Brown at East Lansings’ GBP Studios, the band also sets a new high watermark for its studio work, generating blues sparks on originals – many of them written by Lisa Bonotto and keybord player Mike Skory – that ooze buckets of soul. From the classic blues vibe of “Pay the Rent” to the horn- and guitar-saturated “The Other Way” to the Cajun flavors of “Louisiana Bound,” Skory, guitarist Bill Malone, bassist James Williams, drummer Bob Gardner and a host of special guests add just the right touches to Cunningham’s vintage vocals.”
“If this, my first review of 2014, is any indication as to the quality of music I'll be working with this year then bring it on. Since 2006 this is Root Doctor's fifth release, and having all but the very first one, I do believe I'm qualified to say that "New Attitude" could very well be their best. Although the band has had a few minor changes over the years, vocalist Freddie Cunningham and bassist James Williams seem to be the common denominators on all of the bands recordings. "New Attitude" features both of them along with: Mike Skory on keyboards; Bill Malone on guitar; and Bob Gardner on drums. .... With this years Blues Music Awards already in the hands of the voters, I'm going out on a limb and saying that in a year from now, you may very well see this band and this CD on the ballot. I've already noted it as a candidate for the 2014 Blewzzy's.”
“May 11, 2013 – Soul and Blues icons Freddie Cunningham and Root Doctor out of Lansing, MI join more than 300 exceptional self-released and independent label artists, as well as former major label acts named today by Music Resource Group (MRG) as Nominees in The 12th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent bands and fans. Root Doctor’s song “The Message” has been nominated for best blues song. Root Doctor is nominated among an eclectic mix of established artists and artists on the rise whose recordings were released during the 12th IMA program eligibility period. Winners will be determined by a panel of influential artist and industry judges. The results will be announced in May, 2013. Music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 19, 2013 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox (http://www.independentmusicawards.com/imanominee/12th/Song/Blues) to determine the fan-selected program winners. ”
“Hailing from Lansing, MI, Root Doctor plays with an unbridled, soulful passion that justifies the title of their latest album. A 20-year fixture on the underappreciated Lansing music scene, Root Doctor is headed up by big-voiced frontman Freddie Cunningham, who sings for the audience, not at them; the man can flat-out deliver a song. However, Freddie is not the only major talent in Root Doctor: bassist James Williams (whose late brother Lamar played with the Allman Brothers and Sea Level), is a master of booming bass lines, while drummer Bobby Gardner lays down a groove a mile wide. Keyboardist Mike Skory’s playing is pure sweetness, while Bill Malone adds a perfect balance with his gritty, aggressive guitar work. These guys are consummate pros for sure. ....If you enjoy music with a big-sounding combo of R&B, funk and old school rock, then Joy is right up your alley.”
“Joy is the fourth recording from previous Blues Music Award nominated band Root Doctor. Hailing from Lansing, Michigan, this outfit continues to release some extra greasy, soulful blues that has enough bite to grasp your nerve endings with ecstasy. Front man Freddie Cunningham’s voice delivers first rate performances whether it be funky, soulful or down in the alley blues and he is backed by artists that make everything on the disc come to life. There may have been some concern when this band lost two key members from its original line-up when B-3 man Jim Alfredson jumped ship to join Janiva Magness’ band and guitarist Greg Nagy went on to a successful solo career. But have no fears, the band has recruited top flight musicians in their place with keyboard player Mike Skory, string-man Bill Malone and new drummer Bobby Gardner. Matched with Cunningham and founding member James Williams on bass, there is nothing lost in the band’s driving approach...”
"Joy" is filled with groovy, soul-styled workouts. "Dark Eyes," launches off with a rocking, electrifying jam that leads into a catchy chorus and Cunningham querying, "Dark Eyes, why you chasing me?" From the raring and rollicking "Last Call" to the plaintive "Live for Yourself," Cunningham's gritty and confident voice - able to wrangle every nuance from any lyric - couples perfectly with Root Doctor's fiery instrumentation. Layers of horns, keyboards and guitars dance with his vocals, thanks to an A-list band of players that includes James Williams (bass), Bill Malone (guitar), Mike Skory (keyboards) and Bob Gardner (drums). Malone's six-string work is sugary smooth, Skory's keys personality-packed and Gardner and Williams' rhythm section groovin'. One album highlight - and there are many - is the hidden track "It's Cold Outside (And You Ain't Going Nowhere)," which features strong alto vocals from Lansing-based folk singer Jen Sygit and a 1920s sound.
“Root Doctor – Back with “Joy” The New CD: After a band change and three years since their last release, the Lansing Michigan band, Root Doctor, returns with a new ten track cd entitled “Joy”. There is an additional hidden eleventh track that adds some icing to the cake as well. As with most of their prior cds, the music spans blues, R&B and some club rock. The first two tracks use a guest player named Dave Matchette on harmonica and in my opinion, he should have been use on more tracks on this cd. He clearly sets these two apart from the rest. Another shining moment is the title track “Joy” in which they use alto sax jazzman Tim Cunningham. The moment this tune starts you know there is something very different happening. Tim is an incredible player and has a very good career in the smooth jazz genre. For full review: http://citysoundsradio.com/cityblues/root-doctor-back-with-joy/”
“James Williams is the consummate "big note" bass player. You won't find him diddling away up on the neck looking for attention, he knows he has a higher calling, making people MOVE. Freddie Cunningham is a true ambassador of Lansing's untouchable vibe. The combination of pain and joy delivered with deep commitment is what people can't get enough of. Mike Skory's keyboard playing always had a relaxed intensity to it. Check his piano playing on "Use This Love." Listen to his B3 playing on "Detroit City," what a beautiful gospel feel he lays down. Bobby Gardner is a particularly tasty drummer who still retains a "take no prisoners" mentality. Bill Malone brings a little Detroit grit to the band. His guitar playing is syrupy smooth, but don't be fooled, he can tear it up at a moment's notice. Check him out on "Heavenly Love" or "Live for Yourself," what a tone! Root Doctor is the real deal. Enjoy. ”
“Review of Joy- Thoughtful experience and expression mixed with great musicians is what you get from these Root Doctor tracks. If perfection of capturing all of the influences from seasoned musicians is what you understand then you will understand this recording. It definitely came together!”
“Get It! Folks, if you love good R&B with a great soul singer and a top notch road tested band, get this record. No silly over-the-top posturing here, just GOOD blues and soul, the kind that made you love it in the first place.”
“Root Dr is COOL This is some of the best listening music you will find Combining covers and well written Original songs. Crafty guitar sounds, B3 you will love and warm meaning full vocals The real soul comes from a dynamic duo bass and drums always doing it correctly and a dance able groove These young people can swing cook and rock I thoroughly both of there CD offerings ”
“...But the real story here is Freddie Cunningham. Anyone who thinks old school soul died with Otis Redding need only give a listen to Freddie's cover of the Temptation's "I Wish it Would Rain." Freddie's vocals, combined with Jim Alfredson's arrangement, discover the despairing emotional content of the lyrics only hinted at in the original. Feeling bad never sounded so good. "Change Our Ways" is one of my favorite releases of 2007 and should go a long way toward bringing Root Doctor the national recognition the band so richly deserves. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands”
“Root Doctor has a sterling soul-blues entry with Change Our Ways (Big O 2407). Freddie Cunningham's faultless vocals are at the center of the songs awash in Jim Alfredson's piano and Hammond Organ, seasoned with Greg Nagy's crisp guitar, and buoyed by the right-on rhythms of James Williams and Rick Bole. The band energizes well-selected material by the Meters, the Allman Brothers Band, the Temptations, and Roy Hytower ("Root Doctor"), and pens excellent originals such as "Big Blue Cadillac," the funky, upbeat "Blues Will Take Good Care Of You," the Delbert McClinton-esque "Give Me Love," and the deep soul ballad "Lucky One." Terrific performances and production bring it all to life. Feb/Mar 2008”
“ "...I really like it [Change Our Ways]. The musical setting is really tasty and better than just solid, a sweet churchy/bluesy R & B sound. I especially like the title tune...It's an excellent CD..." ”
"Been A Long Time Coming"--the New CD by Root Doctor was worth the wait! Root Doctor propels the listener into that steamy realm of the Great Blues/Soul/Funk Sound of the 60's and 70's. It's drenched in Deep Groove and Inspiration. Solid Vocals by Freddie Cunningham with Greg Nagy's fine guitarwork is propelled even further by the "funky as hell" Hammond and Keyboard work from Jim Alfredson. Greg even shows his vocal talent on one tune. Terrific voice, indeed. Thick, Thumpin' Bass from James Williams with Matt Hayes workin' the Drumkit drives Root Doctor through 12 tracks of Smokey Soul-Blues & Flat Gettin' Down. Pulling the Mojo from Root Doctor's bag----is just the right prescription for all your CD ills ! Really Good CD ! Great release!
“Been a Long Time Coming CD review... A Real Band! Something that is sorely missing into soul and blues music today: a real band with a creative and unique sound. The samples here don't do this cd justice. Amazing interplay among the musicians, stellar arrangements, tremendously genuine vocals, and a warm recorded sound. I heard these guys on the radio while driving home from work. They were doing a live in studio appearance on Mitch Albom's show (the Tuesdays With Morrie guy). Mitch seemed blown away by these guys.. he said something along the lines of "we get a lot of bands in here, and to be honest most times it is just business as usually...but these guys are amazing!" Highly recommended!!”
“Been a Long Time Coming I have a lot of Blues CD's. This CD is my favorite. I've seen and heard Root Doctor several times and never tire of their awesome sound. Everyone should buy this CD and add it to their Blues collection. I'm looking forward to getting Root Doctor's next CD - "Change Our Ways". I heard their version of "Soul Shine" at the Eastwood Mall this summer and just for that song, I will buy this CD. Read more... ”
“I was impressed with this disc the first time I heard it and my listeners apparently agree. Been getting calls for Last Two Dollars and Too Late to Try to do Right since the first time I played them on the air. Solid groove, soulful vocals and great songs. This disc has it all. Freddie Cunningham may be the best soul blues vocalist working today. ”
“... Been A Long Time Coming is a beautifully executed project, from the performances to the repertoire and production. Balancing traditional blues with soul and even prewar country blues material (Greg Nagy's John Hammond–inspired reading of Willie Brown's Mississippi Blues), Root Doctor emerges here as the consummate working band, worthy of any festival or club audiences' attention. Freddie Cunningham is an authoritative blues singer whose voice wavers and perforates like a hard-nosed version of Bobby Bland. This is delightfully apparent during straight soul numbers like the Brook Benton hit Rainy Night In Georgia and a powerhouse read-through of Leo Graham's Turning Point, a strong composition made popular in 1975 by Tyrone Davis. On the latter track, as with most of the R&B material, the Sofa King Horns form a brass stronghold as robust as any performing traditional soul today. ”
"...Fun, energetic, and soulful, their music is a promise to rhythm and blues that what is past is as close as the present: traditional does not have to be complacent.