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.
Cincinnati Country Rock Supergroup Root Cellar Xtract Stretches Out on New Album, 'Lonesome Miles' MIKE BREEN - April 2, 2019 - 11AM
Cincinnati Country Rock band Root Cellar Xtract is releasing its sophomore album, Lonesome Miles, this week. The album gets the release-party treatment Saturday (April 6) at Fretboard Brewing Company (5800 Creek Road, Blue Ash, fretboardbrewing.com). Jeremy Francis opens the 8 p.m. show.
Formed just a couple of years ago by veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Clyde Bailey, Root Cellar Xtract released its first album, Rear View Mirror Eyes, in 2017. Like that album, Lonesome Miles showcases the group’s spin on the rootsy Rock of the ’70s Laurel Canyon scene (as well as like-minded acts affiliated with it, like Ohio’s Pure Prairie League). The musicianship is also once again remarkable, with a murderer’s row of players in the lineup (plus some similarly talented special guests). Steve Mueller’s pedal-steel atmospherics and Phil Burkhead’s rich piano and keys are particularly ear-grabbing on the new album, helping to elevate the strong songwriting, but every player is crucial and flawless.
RCX sought to expand its sound a bit on Lonesome Miles, and it serves the album well, creating an even more enjoyable listening experience by throwing in some curveballs on the second half of the album. Tracks like the Bluegrass-infused “I Know” and the smooth and eclectic “A Little Love in Your Arms,” which fuses warmly layered harmonies and a bit Jazz flair (a feel attributed to the addition of Jazz players Burkhead, Nick Hach and Sam Reuscher to the group), create an engaging balance with the solid Country Rock tunes like “South Dakota Sky” (which you can hear below in a new music video) and “It Ain’t Easy” that are frontloaded on the album.
The split was intentional and a throwback to the days when vinyl was the primary format for releases.
“We very much by design took an A Side/B Side approach to the Lonesome Miles album when writing and recording it,” Bailey says in a press release about the division of styles. “A band’s second album should reflect growth from their first album in some way.”
You can pick up a CD copy of Lonesome Miles ahead of the release party at Everybody’s Records (6106 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, everybodysrecords.com). After Saturday’s show, the album will be available on most major digital platforms, as well as via rootcellarxtract.com.
By: Brandon Wheeler, April 4, 2019
Album Review: Root Cellar Xtract Lonesome Miles
One of the best parts about writing reviews of local music releases is that I get to hear a lot of music – from every genre, and every level of production. But most of all is that it’s authentic. The bands and artists have put everything they had into making the best record they can, and making for themselves. They believe in what they’re doing, and that belief truly comes across in the music. It stands in sharp contrast to the overproduced, contrived pablum on a lot of commercial radio -- written by focus groups instead of songwriters.
That authenticity, that belief in the music, is everywhere on Lonesome Miles, the newest release from local country group Root Cellar Xtract. The album opens with “South Dakota Sky,” its gentle fiddle and guitar coming on like a sunrise over the morning dew. The groove picks up on “Mystery Lady,” featuring a hypnotic guitar riff guiding the listener through the forest of reserved, almost demure vocals.
“Everytime” slows the tempo, taking time to reflect on the introspective, insightful lyrics. The record picks back up with “Kentucky Heartbreak,” a classic foot-stomper with great harmonies and a memorable hook, as well as a lively, old-timey piano solo. “It Ain’t Easy” mellows again; a dark, brooding ballad with lyrics riddled with a pensive, almost guilty reflection.
“Abandoned and Alone” draws on a classic country vibe, with lyrics full of regrets and verses set to make you cry in your beer. “Six Feet Closer To Hell” is a funky, minor little number with a great groove - an eleventh-hour (and welcome) addition to the record. The peppy “I Know” shows more of the band’s range, pulling off a great bluegrassy vibe, complete with great fiddle, a wandering mandolin, and more of those great harmonies.
“Forever Is Never” opens with a simple piano, setting up for a classic ballad - in this case, a melancholy remembrance of a marriage gone bad. The band returns to an effortlessly smooth groove on “A Little Love In Your Arms,” with a highlight of a pedal steel solo from outer space. A tempo boost comes in with “Space Between Places,” with a vibe that feels at home on late 90s college radio, while maintaining its cohesion with the rest of the album. The electric piano that kicks off “Fork In That Dark Road” sets up a big, rich song, with long, sustaining vocals over a driving beat -- also featuring some of the best bass parts on the record, which is quite a statement.
The record slows down again on “She’s The Edge Of The Night,” a song that wears its somber heart on its sleeve. “Space Under the Hood,” the closing track of the album, punctuates the ending nicely with yet another hook-driven groove that will have you tapping your foot along.
RCx is a tight band, deftly moving between and even blending multiple genres and styles, all while pulling off some very tasteful, rich harmonies. It all provides a solid foundation for some insightful, earnest lyrics and vocals that feel restrained, allowing the listener just enough room to fill in the gaps. The band, and this album, are certainly steeped in the West Coast country rock of the 70s, but they have taken those influences and made them into something uniquely their own.
Lonesome Miles does not put on airs; it just lays RCx’s truth out, authentic and honest, for everyone to hear.