Root Cellar Xtract captures spirit of Country Rock’s zenith

The relatively new Cincy band features some veteran area musicians, and the group's debut album, 'Rear View Mirror Eyes,' is loaded with tremendous musicianship.

MIKE BREEN -  MAY 17, 2017 10 AM

With a sound based on the breezy, dusty Country Rock model conjured in the ’70s by bands like Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Eagles, Little Feat, Pure Prairie League, Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, Root Cellar Xtract is a relatively new Cincinnati band featuring some veteran area musicians. 

The group was formed in early 2016 by singer/songwriter/guitarist Clyde Bailey, whose roots go back to ’90s band Clyde and the Loonies (which won one of radio station 97X’s annual local band competitions) and who later spent a decade in Europe with his Clyde Bailey Band before returning stateside. After years performing solo, Bailey got the band itch again and built Root Cellar Xtract around his vision of a pure, vintage Country Rock sound. He nabbed some top-notch talent for the group, enlisting drummer Paul Ellis, who plays with a wide array of area musicians, including Ricky Nye; pianist Phillip Burkhead, a longtime educator and notable area Jazz artist; bassist Elia Burkhart, a solo performer and member of Moonshine & Wine, among other projects; guitarist Jim Pelz, a singer/songwriter known for his solo work and the band Hickory Robot; and pedal-steel guitarist Steve Mueller, who has also worked with various musicians in the area and was inspired to start playing after seeing JD Call play with Pure Prairie League in a Mount Adams bar in the early ’70s



                             Cincinnati Public Radio

                                      Interview, Local Exposure Program.

Root Cellar Xtract is a country-rock band deeply connected with the Laurel Canyon, California sound of the 1970’s that produced such bands as Buffalo Springfield, Little Feat, Poco, The Eagles and Pure Prairie League.

Their album Rear View Mirror Eyes brings together some of the finest country, rock & boogie-woogie players in the city to produce a collection of music that CityBeat called “loaded with tremendous musicianship.”

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with band members Clyde Bailey, Steve Mueller and Josh Metzger to talk about the band, the album, their songwriting process and the state of country-rock music.




                                     Root Cellar Xtract Honor Locals at SGHR

Root Cellar Xtract’s music and sound is deeply rooted in the earliest origins of true “California Country-Rock”. Root Cellar Xtract harkens back to the era of the mid 60’s to early 70’s and hills of Laurel Canyon, California which was the birthplace of California Country Rock. Fueled by the songwriting of Clyde Bailey, the consummate musicians of Root Cellar Xtract play a kind of throw-back country rock which embodies the rootsy soulfulness of that early country rock sound.

Root Cellar Xtract is comprised of Clyde Bailey (Guitar, harp and vocals), Steve Mueller (Pedal Steel), Phil Burkhead (Piano and harmonies), Dan Dobbins (Drums), John “JC” Castetter (Bass), Josh Metzger (Guitar, Banjo and vocals), and Moriah Haven (Mandolin and vocals).

Root Cellar Xtract are playing The Southgate House Revival on Friday, February 2nd and in addition to performing their own music, they will be performing a tribute to the great local songwriting here in Cincinnati. Featuring tunes by those such as; Noah Smith, Mark Becknell, and others! What an honor to have such great musicians cover others in town.

We sat down with Clyde Bailey to learn more about this special event.

You have mentioned quite a few local artists that songs you will be featuring, can you provide a full list?
John Ford; Mark Becknell; Noah Smith; Jim Pelz; Jeremy Francis. There are so many other great songwriters in town, but these songwriters I have "run into" out while playing out and felt comfortable reaching out to them.

What made you pick those songs?
That was the hard part! So many great tunes to choose from. We were really looking for tunes that we thought we present well in our brand of "California Country Rock".

What inspired you to honor other locals? I think this is amazing. Do they know you have this planned?
They absolutely know! I asked permission first, then they provided lyrics sheets, mp3s and then we built out RCx charts for the tunes. I think Cincinnati is putting out great artists, but what I am most impressed with is the quality of songwriting that comes out of Cincinnati. My hope is that through Root Cellar Xtract covering some these tunes, we can help shine a bit of light on the state of the Cincinnati Songwriting Craft!

Are there any special performances planned for the show at SGHR?
Absolutely! Jeremy Francis will start the night out with a solo performance. Jim Pelz (From Hickory Robot and The Loser Angels) will also be jumping up on stage with us!



Country Rock group Root Cellar Xtract to pay tribute to fellow Cincinnati-area singer/songwriters

Friday at Southgate House Revival, Cincinnati Country Rock band (think Buffalo Springfield, Gram Parsons, Pure Prairie League, etc.) Root Cellar Xtract will be paying tribute to some fellow local musicians and songwriters they admire by covering their songs during its set.

Along with RCX tunes, the band (featuring singer/songwriter Clyde Bailey and many other estimable area musicians) will play songs written by various colleagues and peers whose work they admire.