*updated, 3/13/19: see below
Decatur-based band, The Bitteroots, are about to publicly release their latest offering, "Derailer" , on March 15th; however, for yours truly - TPC Ed. MB McCart - the release party happened a week or so ago & I've got something to say about it...
Perhaps my favorite band in all of Georgia, The Bitteroots have found a new gear, literally & figuratively.
These master purveyors of Jam Rock, Funk & Fusion have decided to let their hair down a bit & inject a little more ROCK into the mix, and that's turned out to be a very good thing. This album hits all the spots, and those points in between.
Let's break it down...
Per usual, FrontLady Laura Dees is simply magnificent! Her searing vocals are the key to this band's formula, and there's simply no denying it.
But of course the kick-out-the-jams machine of a rhythm section that is the two founders of the group- Bill Taylor, bass; Mike Davis, drums - is as key to their marvelous sound as anything else, but Derron Nuhfer's sax, though...
As always, it is the ace in the hole. So what of new guy & guitar slinger PJ Poellnitz? In addition to having a great Rock'n'Roll name, Homeslice is on point! Really, though. He's quite proficient, and with some serious soul.
*[Updated: it was brought to TPC's attention that Greg Sims, previous guitar player for The Bitteroots, also played on this album, including several of the solos]*
Track #1 - "No Demands" - is as good a track as the band has ever put out. The perfect opener, at first it gives you this ZZ Top meets Lenny Kravitz mash-up vibe, but then very quickly blazes its own path & bowls you over w/ its chorus. PJ throws in a quick, jam-up solo towards the latter part of the song, basically saying "Ola" to his new audience, & doing so in an utmost impressive manner.
Moving on, the record's second track just didn't grab me...at first, but then Laura & Derron do that voodoo that only they can do, as does the song's hook & new guy's octave runs.
At this point, "No Place to Go," the record's third piece, is my fave. It's pure gold. Killer tune! And just right in terms of the album flow, a lost art that this band is mindful of.
The remaining numbers all certainly belong in terms of sound & caliber, in this writer's estimation, though maybe none grabbed me like any of the front 3, well, except for "Souvenirs." Man! Good tune. The chorus is pure Pop-Rock magic, as are the verses, and the instrumentation, especially the kick-ass guitar solo. Ditto on the sax, too. Good, good stuff...
So as to get a point of reference, I recently broker out my Bitteroots collection. EPs & albums like "Under the Big Sky," "Central of Georgia" & their fan-favorite live album from 120 Tavern & I can honestly tell you the following:
The Bitteroots are like America, constantly striving for that more perfect union, one sweet jam at a time, and that's a great thing, and so is this band! The new material is excellent & is definitely on par, with a slight adjustment in style, as their classics.
In their own words:
We are thrilled to announce our sixth album, “Derailer,” will be released March 15 through all digital download and streaming services (Spotify, iTunes, etc.) and will be available on CD at all of our live shows starting in March. The band will also be hosting a live online listening party at 9 p.m. Feb. 28 on Decatur FM, playing tracks from “Derailer” and discussing its upcoming release. We can’t wait to get this album out into the world to share it with everyone! Special thanks to Derron Nuhfer at Sarlaac Mastering & Music Production for producing, engineering, mixing and mastering this project.#thebitteroots #derailer #decaturga #decaturfm#newmusic #originalmusic #localmusic The Bitteroots #spotify
This thing drops on March 15th, so make sure you're ready! Visit & like the band's Facebook page to stay in the loop.
Well done, Bitteroots, well done!
- MB McCart