CD Review: Red Roots (Red Roots)
Several years ago, I heard Red Roots at an NQC showcase. In a program of mostly soundtrack-driven groups, their one or two-song set was easily the standout memorable moment. It’s hard to miss three teenage triplets with vividly red hair, playing their own instruments in an energetic bluegrass tune.
More recently, they won a talent contest at an Isaacs event, and Ben Isaacs produced what is now this project’s title track. The track caught the attention of Daywind, and they signed them to their Red Hen label. The Red Hen label is a Christian Country label, and the album’s production team reshaped the sisters’ sound in a Christian Country direction.
One of the sisters, Nicole Lewis, wrote four of the songs, including the title track. The project has a number of strong songs, but the strongest is, interestingly enough, a cover of a group with a similar background, the Akins. The Akins are a Christian Country group of three brothers and their father; Red Roots covers a recent Akins hit, “What if God Says No,” during in a power-packed rendition that’s at least as strong as the original.
All three sisters sing and play a variety of instruments, but on this project studio musicians cut all the tracks.
Their earlier sound, bluegrass infused with some contemporary Christian influences, had a certain raw energy and enthusiasm that doesn’t quite come through in this more polished country setting. Yet the group’s vocals—which bring to mind comparisons to the Peasall Sisters of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? fame—translate equally well to either direction, and this likely offers the widest potential for a broad fan base.
The project tries so hard to take the sisters in a Christian Country direction that a number of the tracks have a very similar sound and feel. Future projects would be stronger if several more acoustic bluegrass tracks varied the sonic pace and intensity. That said, Red Roots is a surprisingly strong national debut.
Produced by: Rick Schweinsberg, Tyrone Dickerson, Ben Isaacs. • Group Members: Nicole, Nika, and Natalie Taylor. • Review copy provided. • Song list: God Shaped Hole; Lord I’m Listening; Diamonds In My Heart; Double Wide Church; I Know Where I’m Going; What if God Says No; These Days; I Could Have Been Something; The Bridge; God Shaped Hole (Remix). • Average song rating: 3.55 stars. CD rating: 4 stars.