press & radio for BOOM TOWN
Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots
ALBUM: "Boom Town"
· 37th Blues Music Award WINNER (BMA Awards)
o B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
o Band of the Year
· Billboard Top 10 Blues debuted at #5
· Living Blues Radio Chart
o Debuted May 2015 at #5
o Top 50 Albums of 2015
· Roots Music Report [RMR]
o Top 200 Blues Albums of the Year 2015 - #26
o Top 50 Blues Album Chart - #2
o Top 50 Tennessee Album Chart - #1
· Sirius XM "BB King's Bluesville"
o Top 15 albums of the year for Sirius XM Bluesville
o Picks to Click
- “Boom Town” #2
- “Genuine Southern Hospitality” #2
- “Stop Bossin’ Me Baby” #2
- “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” #5
· Blind Lemon Blues – Annual Producers Picks CHMR FM
o “When the Day is Done” [Boom Town]
· Blues Power Top 30 WDYG/WVVL/WQTL #1
· KDX Charts - Americana #9
· JamBand.com Radio Chart #12
· Digital Blues Radio UK #12
· Rant ‘N’ Roll "Top 10 Favorite CDs" Top 10 Blues CDs [The Aquarian Weekly]
· Making a Scene "54 Indie Blues CD's of 2015 You Should Know"
· Boom Town Top 100 WNCW-FM 88.7 Top 100 2015 Overall Releases
· Society for the Blues in Venezuela "Top Blues Albums of 2015"
· Confessing the Blues Radio Top 25 Blues Albums 2015 - Roadhouse Radio Network
"Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots have served up one of the best of 2015 with Boom Town. If your brain can’t have fun on Boom Town, the drugs will never help. During “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited” Victor shouts “let’s put this thing on two wheels!” and you know that turn is coming way too fast and it’s gonna be wild. Boom Town is train robbery music. It is Old West saloon blues and the soundtrack to the James Gang’s bank heist highlights reel. Yes, it’s criminal. This may well be the devil’s music. By the time you get to “Wildroot Rumble” you’re cheering them on as you boogie around the house, banging on the air pianner and looking for your six-guns. The rumble is exactly what it says. The band engages in all-in, no holds barred shootout at the Boom Town Corral, delivering a non-stop high energy jam that slaps your damned mouth as it hangs slack-jawed at glory of the album you just experienced. It is bodacious. Saddle up and ride off into the sunset, this thing is over."
STANDOUT TRACKS: Two Lane Blacktop Revisited, Saturday Night Sunday Morning, Wildroot Rumble, Boom Town, If It Ain’t Got Soul – Part 1
Day Old Biscuits! The Long Lost CD Reviews
CD REVIEW, JIM KANAVY, SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS
“On his new Blind Pig release pianist/vocalist Victor Wainwright proves once again why he’s a two-time recipient of the Blues Music Award as “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” with his command of the 88’s. Whether he’s laying down energetic boogies, “Saturday Night Sunday Morning,” “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited” and “Piana’s Savannah Boogie,” mid-tempo
soul, “If It Ain’t Got Soul,” sinewy Little Feat style rockers, “Genuine Southern Hospitality” or greasy B3 driven rockers, “Reaper’s on the Prowl,” he plays with a command that will have you looking at the liner notes to make sure there isn’t a second keyboardist adding to the mix.
I’ve not heard this much piano in a blues release since Mitch Woods and the Rocket 88s were tearing things up a decade ago. Adding to Wainwright’s appeal are his stellar vocals that draw inspiration from his roots in the deep-south with echoes of Omar Dykes, Dr. John and even Jimmy Buffett: check out “WildRoot Farm” for a track that evokes Buffett’s laid back, hammock ready musings. As talented as Wainwright is, a look at the liner notes reveals the major role played by bassist/ producer Stephen Dees, who wrote or co-wrote every one of the tunes collected here. He has crafted terrific songs that allow Wainwright to apply his talents over the broad range of material spanning the 13 tracks. In addition to the piano heavy numbers, there are acoustic, acapella, field chants, “When the Day is Done,” mysterious, swampy numbers that pull out some well-timed scatting from Wainwright, “The Devil’s Bite” and the chugging title track that starts with a deep chuckle about the good times ahead at the casino before luck takes its inevitable exit. Based on the strength of this disc, Wainwright needs to clear more space on his shelf for another Pinetop Award!”
Mark Smit & Founder Bill Wahl- Jazz and Blues
“Broadcasting jumping boogie-woogie piano playing and a deep, soul-filled voice, Victor Wainwright ignites the 15 tracks of his new Blind Pig release, Boom Town with his electrifyin’ band of barrelhouse roots players. Harmonica player Stephen Kampa, tenor saxophonist Ray Guiser, baritone & tenor saxophonist Charlie DeChant, bassist/guitarist Stephen Dees, tenor saxophonist/singer Patricia Ann Dees, guitarist Nick Black and drummer Billy Dean anchor the floor while Wainwright’s vocals & piano blast off for the aurasphere song after song.
Bandmate Stephen Dees is the principal songwriter on Boom Town contributing 12 of the album’s tracks while Wainwright weighs in with two co-penned songs (with Dees) and a solo original. It would seem that Wainwright has found his muse in Dees and vice versa. Dees has a long history in the music business playing with such folks as Hall & Oates, Pat Travers, Todd Rundgren, the Novo Combo with Michael Shrieve of Santana, and his own group, The Bandees with wife Patricia Ann who is also a member of The Wildroots. Together Wainwright and The Wildroots make a formidable boogie-woogie outfit. Best tracks include the high steppin’ “Boom Town,” the swinging “Saturday Night Sunday Morning,” the barrelhouse swagger of “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited,” the noirish “Reaper’s On The Prowl,” and the buzzing instrumental “Wildroot Rumble.”
Brian M. Owens Blues Music Magazine
“Great Music From South Of States!
[translated from Italian]
The label is from Chicago, the album was recorded between Florida and Memphis, Tennessee, home to its owner, was born in Savannah, Georgia. The result is a great record, could not be otherwise, because the air we breathe from the grooves of this virtual CD is certainly that: a lot of blues, but also boogie woogie, soul fiatistico New Orleans style, including Dr. John, Neville Brothers and Fats Domino, rock and roll, and southern rock. He not for nothing Victor Wainwright, who also physically reminiscent of the "Doctor", is a pianist and organist "extraordinaire", divides his time well with the Southern Hospitality, the excellent band Confederate where militate well Damon Fowler and JP Soars, author of that fantastic debut called Easy Livin ', also published by Blind Pig in 2013, produced by Tab Benoit. Wainwright, has "the physique du role", also extra large, but it is a Mr. pianist, not for nothing winner Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Of The Year at the last two Blues Music Award in 2013 and 2014, as well as a singer with a voice perfectly in line with the physical: husky, lived, and perky, able to convey both the spirit of Mac Rebennack (and also of the old Leon Russell), as that of the aforementioned Fats Domino, as vocioni classic bluesmen, or at times when her look like Little Wildroots feat in heat, the tone of voice Lowell George.
These are fine Wildroots band: three musicians on horns (and then some similarities with the type combo Roomful Of Blues could well be there), with Patricia Ann Dees also devoted to the vocal harmonies and lead vocals with Victor in Wildroot Farm, Stephen Dees, the bassist and guitarist, vocalist, author or co-author of all the songs, fellow adventure of Wainwright since the first solo album of Victor, Piana From Savannah, released back in 2005 and whose title track, a formidable boogie woogie This is instrumental in this Boom Town. Add Stephen Kampa harmonica, when the blues is most urgent, and Nick Black on guitar, as well as Billy Dean, drummer from the big swing, and at this point we also remember the other two horn players, Charlie DeChant and Ray Guiser, all on sax, including Dees. It starts immediately at the best, with anthologies of Wainwright piano, the Hammond organ Chris Stephenson, the winds that pump, and one item on the powerful and decisive, for a threatening and powerful title track that speaks of a voodoo-rock-blues rhythmic and engaging . On the next Saturday Night Sunday Morning rhythm increases wildly and we are in the R & R, a piece that would vibrate even mustache Little Richard or chopsticks Lionel Hampton at times Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop, fantastic. Even Stop Me Bossin 'Me Baby remains at these coordinates, with Nick Black guitarist, voice duettante with Victor, one is the rock, the other roll, swinging for this song, where piano, guitars and the whole band eat again always great.
It Is not Got Soul - Part 1 is the Little Feat No trip to New Orleans and in sessions with the Meters, great groove and harmonica Kampa which is felt, which also doubles as Wainwright organ. When The Days Is Done is a strange gospel soul with the registered Victor, Dees, Black and Beth McKee accompanied by percussion, clapping, acoustic guitar and harmonica. Genuine Southern Hospitality probably takes its name from the other group Wainwright (or vice versa) and is another good example of Little Feat sound, thanks to the slide host Ernie Lancaster ; another fantastic boogie woogie is Two Lane Black Top Revisited, hands Wainwright flying on the keyboard. Wildroot Farm, as mentioned, is a duet with Dees, Dr. John pure sound, subtly enveloping, with Professor Stephen Kampa all ' harmonica, while for The Devil's Bite arrives JP Soars acoustics, a dip in the old time atmosphere and smoky, with Wainwright reminding the young Tom Waits for the vocal style. Reaper's On The Prowl, between shuffle and surf music is another excellent example of the versatility of this combo, with Back On Top which is a classic blues of those lazy and dangling, the title borrowed from guitarist Robert "Top" Thomas, who duets with the plan of Wainwright and the harmonica. In conclusion Wildroot Rumble that there is really a "thunderclap" of the piece, a devastating boogie rock, guitar, piano and harmonica on the shields, but the whole band to a thousand turns and shows why they are rightly considered one of the best bands currently around under the roots-rock and in whose ranks plays one of the most formidable pianists then outstanding. Turn up the volume on the stereo and enjoy!”
Bruno Conti - Discoclub: passion music Review (Italy)
“Victor Wainwright has always been one of those cats you kept one ear on at all times, knowing that he was gonna bust out with something else that was going to blow the competition out of the water. The wait has paid off...the big guy at the piano has done just that. Boom Town, the band's latest release, is a blues/roots masterpiece and, may well be their best album to date. All original material, written by Wainwright, Stephen Dees or a combination of the two, this album is rock-solid blues and soul, played with a level of passion that is seldom captured on recordings. It strikes me as funny that with the progression of technology, somehow the heart and soul gets lost in the mix. Truth be told, too many musicians are relying on the technology to get them through and, in the process, the miss the mark completely. This is heartfelt blues, WTJU Review gospel and soul drawn from life experience and played like the hounds of hell are nipping on the heels of the band. I have always maintained that there are essentially two schools of blues, those who play it by the numbers, making certain that everything is technically perfect and those who throw caution to the wind and play what they feel from the heart, pouring heart and soul into every note. The musicians on this disc are all top-notch performers, totally professional. When they cut loose and give it all they've got, it's a lot like a locomotive with a full head of steam, straight, clear track ahead and no braking system. This is one of those pieces that comes close to the level of power and passion found on recordings done by the old masters. Wainwright has a style that is diverse but could be compared to Albert Ammons or Pete Johnson...especially on cut #9, "Piana's Savannah Boogie." Go from there to "The Devil's Bite," which conjures up pictures of Dr. John. There's no end to this no-holds-barred thrill ride. It is not often I find myself at a loss for words but Boom Town is one of those releases there are no words adequate to describe. This is good stuff, no doubts about it.”
Bill Wilson [Reflections In Blue]
CD Tip of the month (September 2015)
[Translated from German]
“The heavyweight buttons man with the distinctive, reminiscent of Dr. John and Leon Russell's voice has finally landed after three own productions with a better-known label and continues here with his "Lit Up" (2011) initial path. The poor already understaffed seven-headed wild Roots were beefed up with six guests and commute together with the Maestro between classic R & B, fast boogie blues, rock'n'roll and some rockendem Blues. Wainwright scores once again with its dynamic honky tonk piano and Hammondspiel and also makes a good figure on the microphone, which is also true for saxophonist Patricia Ann Dees. Unfortunately, their voice will be given due course but only on one song ("Wildroot Farm"). But forget it, to "Boomtown" there is to discover a lot more, such as the Field Holler "When The Day Is Done" or the R & B-Fetzer "Saturday Night Sunday Morning", of the with a lot of fans from the 50s here and was beamed now. Another plus of the troops is the songwriting of bassist / guitarist Stephen Dees, who was active, inter alia, for Hall & Oates and Pat Travers earlier. Ten of the thirteen songs written by him and two others, he was involved as a co-author. Conclusion: Another recommended the disc from Savannah, Georgia, originating Mitt-thirties that the blues and R & B is based in the 50s and 60s.”
03.09.2015 | Dirk Föhr Blues News Germany
“Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots – Boom Town (Blind Pig): Party Time is here just as soon as you put this disc in the tray or slot or whatever you got! Big voiced, keyboard crusher Wainwright and his thumpin’ and bumpin’ Wildroots congregation do the boogie, rock your socks, and bring you some of the most most sanctified and saucy soul you’re apt to find these days! And you might ask, “Who exactly are these ‘Wildroots’?” Stephen Dees (bass, guitars, vox, and wrote or co-wrote with Wainwright all but one tune on this disc), Patricia Ann Dees (tenor, vox), Nick Black (guitar, vox), Billy Dean (drums), Charlie DeChant (bari and tenor saxes), Ray Guiser (tenor), and Stephen Kampa (harp). Fans of boogie will want to pay attention. A dash of boogie, with some razz-ma-razz and enough boogie to tickle your woogie!”
New Blues & Soul News – 6/26/2015
“‘The Piana From Savannah’ returns with his large band The Wildroots on a first release for Blind Pig (who also issued the Southern Hospitality set in 2013). As always Victor is the larger-than-life frontman on vocals, piano and organ with regulars Stephen Dees on bass, Nick Black on guitar, Billy Dean on drums, Patricia Ann Dees on tenor sax and occasional vocals, Ray Guiser on tenor sax, Charlie DeChant on baritone sax and Stephen Kampa on harmonica. Guests include guitarists Robert ‘Top’ Thomas, Ernie Lancaster and fellow SOHO bandmate JP Soars, Chris Stephenson on Hammond, Beth McKee on backing vocals and Juan Perez on percussion, each of whom are present on one track. The material is all original and was mainly written by Stephen Dees who also produced, arranged and engineered the recordings; Victor co-wrote two tracks and produced one on his own.
The album opens with the title track, Victor on piano and Chris Stephenson on swirling Hammond and the horns beefing up the sound. Victor’s deep and gruff vocals evoke Dr. John as he sings of the boom town where a good night out seems guaranteed. After “raising hell on Saturday night” Victor recommends going to church in “Saturday Night Sunday Morning”, a terrific piece of rock and roll with Victor weighing in with some great boogie piano and the horns offering fine support. Victor then seems to be in some bother with his lady in “Stop Bossin’ Me Baby” as he shares vocal verses with guitarist Nick and then sings some scat along with Nick’s guitar. “If It Ain’t Got Soul” follows and is credited as ‘Part 1’ though no second part appears here – one for a future album? It’s a standout track too as the band conjures up memories of Little Feat in their prime, Victor supplying some tough vocals and twinkling piano, the harp and horns feature and it’s a whole band piece which concludes that “if it ain’t got soul, it don’t roll”. In complete contrast “When the Day Is Done” goes back to the oldest traditions of gospel with a very simple accompaniment of Juan’s percussion, harp, acoustic guitar and bass, Beth McKee’s backing vocals adding a real gospel feel.
A song that might have been perfect for Victor’s other band Southern Hospitality is the very enjoyable “Genuine Southern Hospitality” which rolls in with Ernie Lancaster’s slide, horns and Victor’s great piano. However, as this is one of Stephen’s solo compositions it may not be eligible for SOHO, which is their loss as it’s one of the best tracks here. “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited” is a boogie-woogie tune with Victor singing of his love of Memphis with drummer Billy setting a furious pace that Victor is more than capable of following throughout! “Wildroot Farm” takes things down as Victor shares the vocals with Patricia who has a very pleasant voice which contrasts well with Victor’s gruff tones, harpist Stephen providing a fine back-porch feel to celebrate this farm. Victor gives us a solo boogie-woogie in “Piana’s Savannah Boogie” which, combined with the earlier duet with his drummer certainly shows the man’s piano talents.
On “The Devil’s Bite” Victor sounds like Tom Waits and the song bears some similarities with Tom’s work as Victor sings of the dangers that lie in wait for the unwary. This is an acoustic tune with JP Soars on lead acoustic and Nick playing the basic rhythm, also on acoustic. The horns return to the fore on the last three cuts: “Reaper’s On The Prowl” finds Victor again in Dr John mode (suiting the rather ominous lyrics) and playing a fine swirling organ solo, the horns adding their support discretely in the background; “Back On Top” is more of a conventional blues with Robert ‘Top’ Thomas being name-checked at the start and the horns taking a larger role on a pleasantly swinging number; the closing instrumental “Wildroot Rumble” has a latin feel and provides an opportunity for everyone to feature – Nick’s rumbling rhythm part is backed by the horns and there are solos for Stephen’s harp, Victor’s piano and, in particular, Nick’s guitar, really the only time he gets to cut loose on the album. Even the rhythm section gets to feature towards the end!
This album is sure to cement Victor’s position in the piano section of the blues world and there are several good tracks though this reviewer would have liked to hear more of the fine horn players who are mainly used in a supporting role. However, all credit to Victor and, in particular, Stephen Dees for having the courage to issue an entirely original set.”
Blues Blast Magazine – John Mitchell
“Influenced by the stylings of Sunnyland Slim and Pinetop Perkins, Wainwright's sound is muscular boogie-woogie overlaid with Wainwright's mellow rasp. There's a Joe Turner feel to his sound and presentation, a big presence with a feel-good vibe backed by a throbbing rhythm that moves both soul and body. Boom Town is all originals written by Wainwright or producer/guitarist Stephen Dees. The title cut is a big foot stomp, Wainwright strutting and roaring like the king of the swamp.
He cuts loose with some red hot boogie-woogie on “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited,” careening along the asphalt on the backroads of Tupelo in his smokin' Mercury. He slows things down to a funky crawl for the Dr. John vocal-flavored “Wildroot Farm,” with saxophonist Patricia Ann Dees adding honey drippin' harmony.
Although “Piana's Savannah Boogie” is a Wainwright composition, it's vintage Pinetop, a rattly rocker that sounds like it's coming through the widow of a backwoods juke joint. Wainwright's sound is heavily influenced by Perkins, as well as Sunnyland Slim. Slim's stylings were passed to Wainwright secondhand by honky-tonky wild man/rasslin evangelist Billy C Wirtz, but Wainwright had an up close and personal relationship with Perkins. “I played and hung out with Pinetop quite a bit,” says Wainwright, awarded the 2014 Pinetop Perkins BMA award for Piano Playerof the Year. Wainwright remembers seeing Perkins performing in a shack back in the woods pounding away so hard that people were kicking up storm sized dust clouds dancing to his music. “Pinetop had his bottle of Jack Daniels and pack of cigarettes on the piano and just did his thing for hours.”
Wainwright is very adept at having a musical conversation with his bandmates, doing as much listening as playing. But when it's his turn to speak on the mic or through his piano, he lets it all out, losing himself in the moment and the music. But his loss is our gain. If you're wanting to get lost in musicland, you won't find a better guide than Victor Wainwright.”
Grant BrittNo Depression by Big Boy
“According to band info, Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots are out of Memphis (and/ or Edgewater, Fla). Guess they spend time in both locales; although their tour schedule doesn’t seem to allow much time for hanging out at home (wherever that may be).
The players: Victor Wainwright (vocals, piano, organ), and the Wildroots: Stephen Dees (bass, electric and acoustic guitar, vocals); Billy Dean (drums, vocals); Nick Black (guitar, vocals); Terrence Grayson (bass, vocals); Patricia Ann Dees (tenor sax, vocals); Charlie DeChant (tenor and baritone sax); Ray Guiser (tenor sax); and Stephen Kampa (harmonica)
Boom Town is a healthy serving of some of Lady K’s favorite blues - down and dirty blues. The kind you want to hear when you’re having a night out with the gang and just want heavy-handed, sexy, loud, funky blues that’ll keep you drinking and dancing! Boom Town does just that. The album’s thirteen tracks are all originals – written by Wainwright or Dees, and several tracks were joint efforts between the two; and they are an enjoyable mix of blues (soulful and ‘roots-y.’)
There are a few instrumental tracks, which highlight Wainwright’s keyboard talents: “Piana’s Savannah Boogie” and “Wildroot Rumble” (indeed a wild and insane rumble, pitting piano and guitar against each other); the winner is the listener. “Wildroot Farm” features a bluesy vocal duet, with Patricia and Victor extolling the virtues of buying local: “vine-ripe tomatoes and Daddy’s sweet potatoes – our stew is second to none – Wildroot Farm – get it where the getting is good.”
The boogie-woogie “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited” is way too up tempo for dancing (in any dignified way) but it’s a prime drinking and listening tune.
Lady K’s favorite track is “The Devil’s Bite.” It’s bluesy and sexy. “Driven by her hunger to dominate her man / beware the devil’s bite – she’ll lead you to the table but you don’t have to eat / you’ll think you’re the guest, but find you’re the feast.”
Boom Town – try it; you’ll like it.”
Boston Blues Society Review By Lady K.
“Boom Town, the latest release from Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots, is chockfull of boogie-laced blues and tasty jams. Wainwright, who rightfully claimed the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year for 2013 and 2014, leads this fantastic eight person band called, the Wildroots through thirteen spirited New Orleans flavored selections. Hearing him rip into the piano while laying down a truck load of boogie woogie on “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited” will leave no doubts why he pulled down that award twice already.
It’s amazing to hear the different directions to which Wainwright can take his voice. From a comforting tone, in the spiritually moving “When the Day is Done”, to being badass and sinister, in “Reapers on the Prowl”, where he goes all “Wolfman Jack” in his conversation with the Grim Reaper. Guitarist JP Soars, fellow Southern Hospitality collaborator with Wainwright is a guest performs on “The Devils Bite” a Cab Calloway influenced tune. This dark and rootsy track brings to mind Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads album.
The slow and easy “WildRoot Farm” makes for a cool little duet featuring Patricia Ann Dees. This one will have you on the front porch sipping iced tea on a hot summer day, taking in the aromas of a freshly prepared southern style dinner. Stephen Kampa rolls out a sweet harmonica accompaniment which totally sets that laidback mood.
BoomTown culminates into an amazing instrumental jam at the end with “WildRoot Rumble”. This is my favorite track on the album, and I play it loud. Stephen Dees and Nick Black bring it on with rambling guitars, Kampa kills it on harmonica, Billy Dean keeps the furious beat going on drums, and Wainwright pounds the hell out of the piano. This is what it’s all about!”
Philly Cheeze Blues & Rock blog
“I just received the newest release, Boom Town from Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots and he just keeps getting better! Opening with title track, Boom Town, a cocky strut, Wainright leads the way on piano and vocals. He not only has a great voice and acclaimed piano skills but a focused ability to take you places with his lyrics. Excellent! Rock and Roller, Saturday Night Sunday Morning really kicks up the dust and Billy Dean on drums, Stephen Dees on bass and Ray Guiser, Patricia Ann Dees and Charlie DeChant on sax hold tight as Wainwright hammers the white right off of the keys. What a rocker! Boss rocker, Stop Bossin' Me Baby stays in the rockin' beat and really kicks. Wainwright is known as one of the best boogie piano players of today's generation and with his solid vocals he's likely to stay on top for a long time. Stephen Dees and Nick Black lay down some hot guitar riffs on this track pushing Wainwright to keep it hot...not a problem! Funky, New Orleans flavored, If It Ain't Got Soul - Pt. 1, has a smokey flavor with Stephen Kampa on harp and Wainwright and Black on vocal. Laying out some hot Hammond on this track, Wainwright adds to the funk for one of the best tracks on the release. When The Days Is Done has a field revival sound with really nicely blended vocals of Wainwright, Dees, Black and Beth McKee. Really strong! Genuine Southern Hospitality gets that "Little Feat" funk going with some really nice slide work from Ernie Lancaster. Wainwright may be known mostly for his excellent piano work, but his vocals are so superb that he could front most any blues band. Two Lane Blacktop Revisited is a great rockin' piano boogie. Stilladog, this track has your name written all over it! Taking the tempo way down, Wildroot Farm has the feel of a Dr. John track with Patricia Ann Dees trading lead vocals with Wainwright. A cool 40's style slide with Kampa taking a nice lead line on harp, another solid track. Piana's Savannah Boogie is a real rolling piano boogie and a wide open opportunity for Wainwright to establish again why he's on of the absolute top boogie players today. Excellent! JP Soars takes the lead guitar on The Devil's Bite which has an almost Django like acoustic chord part. A great story track, excellent guitar riffs and just a great groove! Reaper's On The Prowl is a cool mix of early western/surf soundtrack, a great driving rhythm guitar and over the top vocals. Very cool! Shuffle track Back On Top, features Robert "Top" Thomas on guitar blended nicely with Kampa on harp. Cool Texas style guitar riffs and rolling boogie piano this track is really nice! Wrapping the release is WildRoot Rumble which is a freewheeling rocker with a hot drum ride from Dean joined by soloing harp by Kampa, cooking piano solo by Wainwright, slashing guitar soloing from Black and Dees, eventually breaking into a full on Mamba and then back to a circle of soloing and back again to a driving boogie. The release is a smokin' hot rife. Turn it up and jump on!”
Bman's Blues Report
“Listening to Boom Town, Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots’ follow-up to their 2011
Lit Up!, is like walking into a party that will never end. Based in Memphis, this eight-piece band specializes in supercharged blues and boogie-woogie piano, smart and sophisticated arrangements and an all-consuming passion for delivering songs with confidence and joy.
The party begins with the title song that both previews and consolidates the band’s strengths—Wainwright’s Howlin’ Wolf–like vocals and accomplished boogie-woogie piano, excellent guitar work (Nick Black, Stephen Dees) and a tight driving rhythm section (Stephen Dees and Billy Dean). The band’s horn section (Patricia Ann Dees, Charlie DeChant, Ray Guiser) expertly complements and adds punch to the songs (listen to how the horn section opens up If It Ain’t Got Soul, Part 1).
By the fifth song, the gospel flavored When the Day is Done takes the party down a few notches for a well-needed breather. The rest of Boom Town finds the band alternating between mid-tempo (Genuine Southern Hospitality) and high-octane blues (Two Lane Blacktop Revisited) with occasional slower numbers (The Devil’s Bite, WildRoot Farm). With its guitar/bass riff and Wainwright’s sandpaper vocals, Reaper’s on the Prowl is arguably the best song on Boom Town—the band really captures the sinister nature of the song’s theme. Every song deserves repeated listens.
Listeners will not find any cover tunes on Boom Town. Bassist and guitarist Stephen Dees, who served as arranger, engineer and producer, penned ten of the disc’s original 13 songs and co-wrote two songs with Wainwright, whose solo contribution is the instrumental Piana’s Savannah Boogie. Lyrically, there are no surprises here. The band traffics in familiar blues themes. The brawler Saturday Night Sunday Morning riffs on sin and redemption. Stop Bossin’ Me Baby and The Devil’s Bite portray women as alternatively dominating and wicked; Back on Top celebrates male independence. Two Lane Blacktop Revisited is a road song. And then there are pagans to the South, Genuine Southern Hospitality and WildRoot Farm.
The disc’s last song, the instrumental WildRoot Rumble, ends like Boom Town started: the band’s enthusiasm and passion are evident in the song’s driving rhythm and powerful instrumental work (multi instrumental solos including Stephen Kampa’s fine harmonica work). Boom Town features inspired performances and one can only imagine what this band sounds like live. I plan to find out.”
LIVING BLUES - Stephen A. King
[Translated from Belgium]
“We know Victor Wainwright already longer live performances (Moulin Blues 2014) and "Southern Hospitality", a roots rock band from the 'American South. The band combines three settled almost music 'veterans' as JP Soars, Damon Fowler (both from Florida) and Victor Wainwright (Memphis, TN). Wainwright is known for his explosive piano boogie, soul, blues power and has roots in the R & R In 2012 Victor Wainwright was nominated as "Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year" and in 2013 and 2014 he was the winner of this award.
Victor Wainwright is the leader of "The Wild Roots' band. The band members are Patricia Ann Dees (tenor sax, vocals), Nick Black (guitar, vocals), Charlie Dechant (baritone & tenor sax), Ray Guiser (tenor sax) and Stephen Kampa (harmonica). The rhythm section is Stephen Dees (bass / vocals) and Billy Dean (drums). Stephen Dees, who was born in Florida, is a cousin of the famous Grand Ole Opry vedette "Fiddlin 'Chubby Wise (" Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys "). Dees was placed in the cradle of the country tradition in his family to continue, but opted for the R & R. Dees toured as a singer / bassist already with songs like "Hall & Oates", Todd Rundgren, Pat Travers and "Novo Combo". Wainwright met Dees in 2004 in Ormond Beach, FL, where they both performed separately during a benefit concert. Here, the first contacts were made and were exposed their common interests. Dees agreed to work as a writer / producer of Wainwright's next album "Piana from Savannah", which was released in 2005. Later, after several successful gigs together, formally created the "The Wild Roots" as a band. The debut album by the band "Beale Street to the Bayou" was recorded in 2009. This is followed in 2011 "Lit Up".
Recently, the third album "Boom Town" in the new roots label Blind Pig Records' released. It's an album with (two Wainwright's after) all Stephen Dees' compositions, which seems a bit contradictory / ironic. Outside of the band are also some guests show up, including Chris Stephenson (Hammond), Beth McKee (backing vocals), Juan Perez (percussion), Ernie Lancaster (slide guitar), old friend JP Soars (acoustic guitar) and Robert "Top "Thomas (guitar).
If opener chose Dees & Wainwright for the title song "Boom Town", which has been strongly put the trend and where Wainwright let all directly told that he is behind his piano, the "leader of the gang". This does Wainwright already directly in "Saturday Night Sunday Morning" (one of the two numbers, the other song is the instrumental "Piana's Savannah Boogie" wrote Wainwright). These rockers prove, along with "Genuine Southern Hospitality" and "Two Lane Blacktop Revisited" sufficient Wainwright's exceptional mastery boogie woogie. The players (there are three: a lady Patricia Ann Dees and two men Dechant Charlie & Ray Guiser) come on stream in the swinging 'Stop bossin' Me Baby "and" If It Is not Got Soul ". It should not have all of rock must Wainwright and Dees thought when she saw the spiritual-like track "When The Day Is Done" recordings. Correct choice as this you may call a special track. E.e.a. succeeded also thanks to backing vocalist Beth McKee and percussionist Juan Perez. "Wild Root Farm" is also "special", given the nature of the song, given only duet with Patricia Ann Dees and given the peace that it brings equally. "The Devil's Bite" is bite the stranger in these roots. If you Wainwright à la Tom Waits hear muttering and JP Soars, which leads excellent hear strumming acoustic guitar, then you will feel shivers down your spine. Note that this is one of the two tracks without piano! The swampy "Reaper's On the Prowl" Wainwright pumped his wonderful Hammond organ grooves lavish the room and is undergoing and enjoy. The album is instrumental and exuberant closed by the whole band with "Wild Root Rumble" and, with what a ... Rumble Oh yeah, the guitar solo is Robert "Top" Thomas and Stephen Kampa is the harpist of service, for honor to whom honor is, and tequila! A deserved tequila for everyone!!
We knew it already, but now we shout it from the rooftops now: Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots denotes cast as a roots rock enthusiast! Looking excellent roots album, it's "Boom Town" album that you must have!
Rootstime - Eric Schuurmans
“Victor Wainwright is one of several young and impressive keyboard players to emerge in the blues genre in the last few years, and indubitably one of the best. “Boom Town” is his fourth album, and the third with his band, the Wildroots. He also collaborated with guitarists J.P. Soars and Damon Fowler on an excellent Southern Hospitality album in 2013, and won the coveted Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year Award from the Blues Foundation in 2013 and 2014.
For this album, the core of six musicians from the 2011 release “Lit Up!” has been augmented by two more horns, the three saxophones giving a full and jazzy sound on a baker’s dozen tunes penned by engineer, producer and bassist Stephen Dees. Wainwright co-wrote two of the songs, and provides vocals and keyboard expertise on the array of tasty tunes.
The opening title cut provides evidence that this outing was probably a pleasure for the musicians: it’s introduced by some solid guitar riffs, then a throaty Wainwright laugh followed by a guttural growl. The message: let’s get it on! And the band does, proceeding to dig into thirteen cuts with verve, anchored by the drum work of Billy Dean and Dees’ bass. Only three of the numbers track at over four minutes, but, as someone once said somewhere, brevity is the soul of…what? wit? or maybe, judging by this CD, soul.
There’s nice variety in the mix. “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” and “Stop Bossin’ Me Baby” are both 1950s-type rockers, the former distinguished by a short but pithy piano solo and the latter by a nice vocal contribution by guitarist Nick Black. “If It Ain’t Got Soul” does have soul aplenty, with a syncopated rhythm and fine Wainwright organ. “When the Day is Done” delves into gospel territory with its slow tempo, multiple vocal harmonies, and the harmonica of Stephen Kampa.
Genuine Southern Hospitality” features the adept slide guitar of guest Ernie Lancaster.
Although enjoying the album thus far, I was wondering when Wainwright would cut loose on the keys. The answer is “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited”! An intro drum cascade leads into a furious rock boogie, with Victor really stretching out. After “Wildroot Farm,” a slow backporch cut with tinkly piano and plaintive harmonica reminiscent of country-folk singer Michelle Shocked’s style of 25 years ago, Wainwright puts the pedal to the floor with “Piana’s Savannah Boogie”; see if you can sit still for that one! Several other notable songs lead to the finale, “WildRoot Rumble,” an extended instrumental where Victor sits back and noodles while giving the spotlight to the band, especially Kampa on harmonica.
Note should also be made of Wainwright’s vocals, which are consistently entertaining. His voice is a Southern stew with Leon Russell, Leon Redbone, Dr. John, and even a little Howlin’ Wolf thrown into the pot: nice and savory.”
Big City Blues Review - Steve Daniels
“I’ve been a fan of Victor Wainwright’s for a long time now so when I ran into him at the Blues Music Awards and asked him about his new record, Boom Town, I wasn’t surprised when he told me it was” great.” Victor is the proud recipient of two Pinetop Perkin’s Piano Player of the Year Awards for a reason and he’s really grown into a mature artist at the top of his game. Blind Pig Records signed a great artist and Boom Town easily shows that Victor was worth the investment. Let’s give Victor’s disc a spin.
We start out with the title track, “Boom Town,” and Nick Black intricately picks the intro as Victor lays claim to the riches he expects in “Boom Town.” “It ain’t going to take long for me to be in the pink….I’ve got a Mojo Hand…I’m headed off to Boom Town.” Chris Stepheneson adds his Hammond Organ keys to Victor’s twinkling piano ivories and we’re off to a great start. We move on to “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” and Victor is advising that the fun you had on Saturday night is accompanied by the price you pay on Sunday morning. “Definitely an up-tempo tune and the band is enjoying the run, “Tonight is the night…we’re going to rock our soul…first thing tomorrow…we’re going to pay the toll.”
Guitarist Nick Black joins Victor on the lead vocals for “Stop Bossin’ Me Baby” and both men are tired of being told what to do. “Stop bossin' me baby…you always pushing me around…bit your tongue…zip your lip…if you don’t like nothing…you’re going to sink our ship…stop bossin’ me baby…you always bring me down.” The Wildroots are in top form and you can hear just how tight they are in the mix. Victor has surrounded himself with a talented group of players and they are definitely one of the top bands around. A deep bass intro from Stephen Dees sets the tone for the band as they segue into “If It Ain’t Got Soul.” “Sisters and brothers…spread the news…the Roots are coming to lay down the blues…in a boogie style…with a down home strut…way down deep…if the truth be told….if it ain’t got soul…it don’t roll.” I appreciate the message of this tune and am happy that Victor and the band are true to their muse. If it ain’t got soul…it don’t roll.
Stephen Dees is credited with writing most of the tunes on Boom Town and our next cut, “When the Day is Done,” has a deep, gospel feel to it. Stephen Kampa is blowing harp in the background as Victor tackles this plea for redemption. “So…take me down to the river….save my soul…Holy Son….wash away all my sorrow…I’ll be ready when the day is done.” Victor’s upbeat personality is apparent in his keyboard work as he moves to another Dees tune, “Genuine Southern Hospitality.” Here we celebrate the goodness in folks of the South and their willingness to share their good will. “Have a heaping helping…of Southern hospitality…pan fried, genuine….Southern hospitality.” A light snare intro from drummer Billy Dean sets the tone for our next cut, a boogie woogie tune entitled, “Two Lane Blacktop Revisitied.” “Cool down that radiator…I’ve got a full tank of gas…back up on that blacktop…it’s time for hauling ass… I looked up in the mirror…and who do you think I saw…that no good Johnny Law…I don’t want to deal with this doggone cop…I’m hauling gear on this two lane blacktop.”
We move on from mayhem to relaxation as Patricia Ann Dees joins Victor on the vocals as the time has come for Victor to enjoy the ambience of the “Wildroot Farm.” “Ain’t got no worries…no troubles…no cares…down on the Wildroot farm…get it while the getting is good.” More sweet harp tones from Stephen Kampa round out the sense of relaxation that can be found on the Wildroot farm. Victor and the band segue into the first instrumental on the disc, “Piana’s Savannah Boogie” and you can hear Victor’s fingers sliding up and down his piano as he tackles the Boogie Woogie beat of this tune. It’s a great place in the mix for an instrumental and I’m enjoying the brief break that it provides.
So of course we move on to the macabre and mysterious implications of “The Devils Bite,” and here we find Victor reflecting on the evil that has befallen him. “She’s driving by the hunger…to dominate her man…she’s got you in her sights…it’s feeding time again…your life is in danger…about to end…be careful my friend…beware the Devils Bites.” JP Soars is providing his acoustic fretwork to this tune and I appreciate the delicateness of his picking to accompany this song. Tempo picks up but we stay in the same vein as the band plays the opening of our next cut, “Reaper’s on the Prowl.” Here the adversary is the Devil and Victor knows the Reaper’s hunting him. “You know I’ve been pretty good….saying all my prayers….why are you hanging round my door…Hell no....I don’t want to go…quite creeping round here.” Victor’s playing some pretty sinister notes on his Hammond and it’s clear he’s not going to let the Reaper get to him.
Fortunately for all of us the next tune, “Back on Top,” features a much lighter feel with Robert “Top” Thomas on the lead guitar. “No, I won’t be looking back…I will not live in the past…I move on down the road…pushing hard on the gas…you may be the first baby…but you won’t be the last…cause I’m back on top again.”
Victor and the band close out Boom Town with one more instrumental, “WildRoot Rumble,” and honestly this tune has kind of an Old West feel to it as though the law is after Victor and the band again, which they probably are.
Victor has surrounded himself with some of the finest players Memphis has to offer with Nick Black on guitar, Stephen Dees on bass, Patrician Ann Dees on tenor sax and vocals, Billy Dean on drums, Charlie DeChant on baritone and tenor saxophones, Ray Guiser on tenor sax, and Stephen Kampa on the harmonica. The end result is that Victor and the WildRoots are one of the most entertaining Blues bands on the circuit today. You can learn more about Victor, the band and Boom Town at www.vwroots.com.
Boom Town is an excellent record and one I’m sure that will garner Victor and the WildRoots some nominations come BMA time. The energy of a live show from Victor & the WildRoots is contagious so hit one soon and tell all your friends.”
Kyle Deibler Blues Bytes Review
“Boom Town’’ is the new one from Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots and it’s on Blind Pig Records. World class piano player Wainwright leads his tight blues band in this party-til-you-drop soundtrack which will probably require a crowbar to extract this one from the CD player. When Wainwright kicks into one of the boogie woogie songs as on “Two Lane Blacktop Revisited,’’ just stand back and let your feet take over. Wainwright also has that perfectly gruff blues voice. If more blues bands were like this, there’d be way more blues bands.”
Rock `n’ Roll Call
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On his wonderful new Blind Pig Records release “Boom Town,” pianist/vocalist/musical raconteur Victor Wainwright wears his influences well.
“There are the obvious: vocals and music that bring to mind artists as diverse as Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Dr. John and the Leons, Russell and Redbone. But listeners who dig deeper into the blues-based collection will recognize touches of genre master B.B. King, traces of the “moaning” gospel blues that were born in the cotton fields of the pre-Civil War South, as well as generous portions of the American honkytonks and speakeasies that flourished during Prohibition.
That all these sounds and influences come together in the works of the gifted Wainwright and his equally talented collection of musical friends, the WildRoots, should not come as a surprise to those who know him and his Savannah upbringing.
“The themes of the songs on ‘Boom Town’ — themes of Southern hospitality with a focus on family — are a big part of Savannah’s charm and culture,” Wainwright said in a phone conversation during a brief break in his and the WildRoots’ touring schedule. “I didn’t leave Savannah until I went away for college, so, yes, the city had an impact on me, just as (songwriting partner) Stephen Dees’ home had on him.
“And even though I was actually raised Catholic, I never turned down the opportunity to listen to the music that was coming out of the various churches in our region.”
A two-time winner of the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year award, Wainwright stretches his vocal muscles on “Boom Town,” easing away from the comfort he and his band have always found just playing the music that they love.
“I’ve always appreciated good music, from the time I was a young kid growing up listening to my grandfather play piano, my dad drums and my uncle guitar,” the artist said. “But Stephen and I both wanted to do more vocals with the new record, get away from the comfort of instrumentals.
“We were able to put together a diverse group of songs. For us, it starts with the blues because it is true American music. And played live, the blues really come alive. We believe, as blues-based musicians, we have a certain responsibility to uphold the traditional values of the music. But that doesn’t mean we’re limited in what we play.”
Indeed, “Boom Town” reaches across any number of musical genres. And while no one would categorize the collection as anything but a blues record, its songs dip into gospel, honkytonk, boogie woogie, Cajun and even rock territory without undermining the overarching theme of the album.
Wainwright is able to pull off this bit of wizardry because of the talented musicians he’s aligned himself with. The WildRoots are as accomplished in their own right as the piano man whose name is on the marquee.
“These guys are amazing musicians,” Wainwright says. “This is not just about me. We are a band in the true sense of the word. Stephen and I have been collaborating for 10 years now, and some of the guys have been a part of the band for six years, five years.
“I generally tour with a four-piece, but sometimes — for certain shows — we’ll bring in some of the other guys that we want to feature.”
In addition to Dees, who produced as well as played guitars on “Boom Town,” the WildRoots include drummer Billy Dean, guitarist Nick Black, bass player Terrence Grayson, tenor saxophonist/vocalist Patricia Ann Dees — who offers perfect sassy counterpoint to Wainwright’s Leon Redbone-ish growl on the album’s “Wild Root Farm” — tenor/baritone saxman Charlie DeChant, saxophonist Ray Guiser and harmonica man supreme Stephen Kampa, who brings to mind Blues Traveler harp wiz John Popper on the wonderful “Boom Town” closer “WildRoot Rumble.”
“Reaper’s on the Prowl,” which features Gibbons-like vocals from Wainwright and a “Munster’s Theme” beat from the WildRoots, is one of “Boom Town’s” many highlights, as is the raucous “Saturday Night Sunday Morning,” in which Wainwright sings around boogie piano, “Sunday morning get yourself right after raising hell on Saturday night.”
Wainwright and the Wildroots will host a “Boom Town” release party on the grounds of the St. Simon’s Island Lighthouse starting at 7 p.m. Sunday on Georgia’s Atlantic Coast. Copies of “Boom Town” are available through Wainwright’s website.”
The Albany Herald/ Georgia
“Victor Wainwright was born in Savannah. He attended college in Daytona and moved to Memphis where he was employed during the day as an Air Traffic Controller at Memphis International Airport. At night he honed his piano skills in the clubs along Beale Street.
Wainwright met bassist Stephen Dees in 2004. He released his first recording “Piana from Savannah” in 2005. It was produced by Dees who also became his writing partner. In 2009 Wainwright released “Beale Street to the Bayou” and he followed up with 2011’s “Lit Up!” which garnered him his first Blues Music Award nomination.
In 2011 Wainwright also joined with J.P. Soars and Damon Fowler and began the super group “Southern Hospitality”. In 2013 “SoHo” released “Easy Livin’” produced by Tab Benoit also on Blind Pig Records. In both 2013 and 2014 Wainwright was the recipient of the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of The Year award at the Blues Music Awards.
The band on this new recording consists of Wainwright, vocals and keyboards; producer Dees, bass; Nick Black, guitar; Stephen Kampa, harmonica; Billy Dean, drums; and Patricia Ann Dees, Charlie DeChant, and Ray Guiser, saxophones.
Dees and Wainwright are so in sync that Dees has authored ten of the thirteen songs on his own. Dees’ songs include the opener “Boom Town”; “Wildroot Farm” featuring Wainwright in a vocal duet with Patricia Ann; “When The Day is Done” with Beth McKee singing backup; and “Back On Top” with guitarist Robert “Top” Thomas sitting in.
“Genuine Southern Hospitality” reminds us of that other band. My favorites are “If It Ain’t Got Soul”, and the dirge “The Devil’s Bite” which includes special guest JP Soars on acoustic lead guitar. “Wild Root Rumble” is an instrumental showcasing the band.
Two songs are reprised from Wainwright’s first album. Wainwright recreates “Two Lane Blacktop” rearranged by Dees; and the fabulous instrumental “Piana’s Savannah Boogie”. “Saturday Night Sunday Morning” was co-written by Wainwright and Dees.
The album is a good time from Wainwright whose musical talents and persona continue to delight.”
Making A Scene Review - Richard Ludmerer
“Everyone knows the story of Robert Johnson, the Crossroads, the devil, and the deal that went down. That pull on a man’s soul between good and evil, sin and salvation, is a constant, and, on his latest album, “Boom Town,” piano master Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots touch on this subject freely over the course of thirteen originals.
Victor is a major talent on the ‘elephant’s teeth,” winning the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014 at the BMA’s. Joining him on this set are Hall and Oates alumni Stephen Dees on bass and Charlie DeChant on sax, with Billy Dean on drums, and several special guests throughout.
Victor is a raucous piano rocker with a surprisingly soulful voice. This party gets started with the foot-stompin’ beat of “Boom Town,” with a “hoodoo in my step to rock all night long!” The tale of an overbearing lover comes at ya right out of the Little Richard canon, a frenzied-paced stop-time rocker called “Stop Bossin’ Me Baby,” with Nick Black on duet vocal.
“Genuine Southern Hospitality” and “WildRoot Farm” follow a lazy, laid-back groove, and both extoll the virtues of everything good about Southern living, the latter with duet vocals from Patricia Ann Dees. Victor busts out two monster instrumentals, too–“Piana’s Savannah Boogie,” and the eclectic, set-closing, “WildRoot Rumble.”
We had two favorites, too, from both sides of the pulpit. First up is another furious rocker reminding us to “heed the warning” of the preacher, because “after Saturday Night comes Sunday Morning!” And, one of the most powerful pieces on the set is the deep gospel roots of the sparsely-arranged testifyin’ of “goin’ down to the river” to get your soul “Ready When The Day Is Done.”
Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots just keep on getting better with each outing. Excellent musicianship and topnotch material are always on tap down at “Boom Town!” Until next time…”
Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society
Pianist/vocalist Mr. Wainwright’s rock-solid boogie and growling pipes are present and well accounted for here. The set is further flavored with tasty variation courtesy of the band’s songwriter-in-residence, bassist Stephen Dees. Change-ups from the roadhouse rave-ups include the deep gospel-flavored “When The Day Is Done” and the decidedly-N’arlens styled “Genuine Southern Hospitality”. Other standouts include “If It Ain’t Got Soul” and the title track.
Roots Music Report Review
Victor Wainwright and the Wild Roots (from the album Boom Town on Blind Pig Records) Victor Wainwright and the Wild Roots come out of Boom Town bringing a satchel full rock’n’roll Soul and Saturday night rhythm and blues. Boom Town, the band’s most recent release, is unapologetic Memphis Soul laid out on one mighty boogie courtesy of Victor Wainwright manning the keyboards and the microphones with pounding hands and roof raising lung power as he growls and grooves with The Wildroots. “It If Ain’t Got Soul” is the calling card for The Wildroots as they preach the gospel of a roadhouse band, warn of “The Devil’s Bite” over slow simmering juke joint jive, and strum for their dinner with some Country Blues on “Wildroot Farm”.
Victor Wainwright is a bandleader that fuels The Wildtroots with high octane piano boogie. He plays to both devil and angel as he listens to a good time siren calling him out, and exits with the gospel preaching power of a Little Richard salvation shout as he welcomes and waves goodbye on “Saturday Night Sunday Morning”. Rumbling Roots Rock welcomes the Boom Town title track as album opener when the boogie gets some woogie with black and white note flurries over freight train percussion. The bass line is set to strut to warn that the “Reaper’s on the Prowl”, and Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots proudly parade as they crow some Soul in “Back on Top”.
The Alternate Root
This wonderful blues, roots and soul group from Memphis, Tennessee (where else?) is a recent discovery of mine. Newest album, Boom Town, was released back in May 2015, and really is worth a listen. I am yet to venture any deeper into their back catalogue, but it’s a safe bet that I will be doing so in the near future.
Wainwright’s performances on both lead vocals and keys (acoustic and electric piano, and Hammond organ) take centre stage throughout much of the album. Take nothing away from his great set of bandmates, providing drums (Billy Dean), bass and guitar (Stephen Dees and Nick Black), harmonica (Stephen Kampa) and sax (Patricia Ann Dees, Ray Guiser and Charlie DeChant). It’s feel good stuff.
Wainwright has twice been voted the “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” in the Blues Music Awards, and a quick listen to many of the tracks on Boom Town will have you understanding why. Take Saturday Night, Sunday Morning for example. The track is barely a minute old before Wainwright plunges head-on into a thirty-second piano solo that’ll leave your ears tingling. Two Lane Blacktop Revisited and instrumental track Piana’s Savvanah Boogie provide further demonstrations of Wainwright’s incredible talents.
Boom Town’s final track, WildRoot Rumble, then showcases the entire bands’ instrumental ability, including (but by no means limited to) some sterling saxophone work, a neat bass lick and a crunching guitar solo.
Genuine Southern Hospitality keeps the party going. If the first two lines don’t make your mouth water, the rest of the song will make you wish you were Wainwright’s neighbour; just to increase your chances of being invited to the next WildRoots bash.
The Devil’s Bite suggests songwriter Stephen Dees has been wronged by at least one woman in his time: “Her kiss it will betray you, the serpent’s tongue is sweet. You won’t see it comin’ till you’re down on your knees. Takes just what she wants, don’t care who bleeds. Beware the devil’s bite”. See what I mean?
If It Ain’t Got Soul, Pt. 1 is an awesome number, referencing the greats – Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown (you may have heard of them) – on its way to describing the music you can expect to hear when listening to Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots. The chorus culminates with a line that is sure to have the crowd singing along at every live show: “Way down deep let the truth be told, if it ain’t got soul… it don’t roll”. Hopefully they will make their way to UK shores soon; this is another group (alike last week’s band of the week Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) sure to have you dancing from start to finish.
A BLOG BY PETER DUNCAN
Peter DuncanBand of the WeekNo Comments
“Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots starts in October a tour to introduce ourselves Boom Town, the album released last spring under the prestigious label Blind Pig, and oh wonder, the group made a stop at Limoilou pub on 18 November. Twice winner of the Pinetop Perkins Blues Music Awards for the best pianist, Wainwright knows how to combine his talent for music and warm stage presence to conquer the heart of every blues fan who attends his shows. As for me, their two appearances at the Imperial Petit left me with unforgettable memories.
Excellent album, Boom Town presents a compendium of everything we appreciate in this group, unparalleled voice of Victor, traditional blues rhythms in all their richness ranging from boogie to gospel, piano and guitar, choirs enrich more of the 13 compositions. Wainwright wrote Pianna's Savannah Boogie instrumental in the purest tradition, co-wrote two songs with Stephen Dees that he sign the 10 other titles. The latter is also a producer, arranger, producer and bassist for the album to which it also adds his voice and his guitar.
Nick Black, the talented guitarist of the band, sings on Stop Bossin 'Me Baby and the beautiful female voice of Patricia Ann Dee Victor accompanies the charming Wildroot Farm in addition to being the voice and accompaniment on tenor sax. Billy Dean, we saw with the group at Imperial Petit, is on drums. Several guests gave his Big Band in a cd, JP Soars is on acoustic guitar on The Devil's Bite, the choirs are particularly successful in the Gospel When the Day is Done. Ernie Lancaster we utter his slide guitar on the excellent Genuine Southern Hospitality which precisely reminds the other band Wainwright Southern Hospitality where he played with Damon Fowler and JP Soars.”
Boom City ♪ album Reportage
“88 Keys to play awesome blues music! Great singer and pianist originally from Georgia, and already on the right track to become the new Dr. John and carry on the tradition of great as Pinetop Perkins. Memphis blues, New Orleans sound, rock 'n' roll, boogie woogie, a touch of gospel and some nuances reminiscent of the great Tom Waits. He has been written that is the Mozart of Savannah I can say that I reminded Paul DeLay, Roomful of Blues and Mitch Woods (and it is a compliment!)”
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"The incisive hammering piano playing and the voice of Victor Wainwright join one of the most energetic actual blues bands like The Wildroots to record this album entitled "Boom Town" that will surprise those people who want to give them the opportunity to be heard. The band and his leader give a big master class you will not forget for a long time. The sound and their astonishing rhythm drive us to a wonderful colourful music world, full of light, rhythm, joy and good atmosphere. The album perfectly reflects the same passion they communicate when they are on stage, which will be immediately discovered in each and every one of the thirteen songs included on it, as they cleverly combine a wide range of feelings that will remain in your mind for a long time with the most classic music styles, from roots blues, to sticky passionate rockin' blues, boogie woogie and swing, to end with the most ardent and joyful soul music. Victor is an effective and great pianist, able to bring the audience to their feet in only five minutes playing thanks to his improvised and excellent work on keys and voice. GREAT."
LA HORA DEL BLUES/ Spain