Here's what they're saying about the debut CD from Roots Nation "Temperature's Risin'":
"Roots from the past brought to the here and now for a new generation of reggae fans to love."
by Karl Pearson for UnitedReggae.com online magazine on February 22, 2012
Initially released via iTunes in August of last year Roots Nation's album Temperature's Risin' has only really just started to make waves and stamp its mark in the reggae arena.
This band, that formed in 2003 and hails from New Hampshire in the USA, are trying to bring roots reggae back to the basics on a driving engine of drum and bass, a stead fast trio of brass offset by melodic guitar, keys and percussion with three part vocal harmonies rounding it all off. They are heavily influenced by Studio 1 sound and guitarist Andy Bassford even has two guitars that have in his words "recorded countless hits for the likes of Dennis Brown, Horace Andy and Burning Spear to name a few" plus he owns a Danelectro amp that once belonged to Coxsone himself. So with all this going for them have they actually achieved this? Well the answer is simply yes and in bucket loads.
Production is clean and understated allowing each instrument to hold its own ground and help create some genuinely timeless, easy flowing grooves. Roots reggae is obviously the core foundation here, but they are not afraid to spice things up with a bit of Ska shuffle or R&B blended in on pacier numbers like It's Serious and Only Human which features some very deft guitar work from Mr. Bassford.
The lyrics cover familiar topics like sufferation, and combating the system with truth and rights but not from a purely Rasta point of view but rather keeping it all relevant and on a level that people globally can relate to. Lead singer and trombonist Greg Pearlman delivers these lyrics in a soft, yet gruff and at times almost spoken manner that can be quite plaintive, especially on Shark Attack as he sings of watching out for the bad things and people that can come your way in life. To offset his dourness Julie DiOrio provides some shimmery accents that find the two complimenting each other much like sugar and spice.
The vocal side of the album finishes unfortunately with two of the weakest cuts in Chalice of Love with its rapped lyrics and Minutiae, a song that is lyrically good as it focuses on the small details of life and how they can have great effect, but for me leans too heavily on a synthesized sound that gives it a dated feel. This is then followed by four dubs that add echo and snippets of the original vocal here and there, but where the understated production that works well with the vocal cuts perhaps a bit more flamboyance on these would really make them stand on their own.
Roots Nation are without a doubt a group of very talented musicians. Not all of the songs here work for me, but these small negatives don't take away the fact that the bigger picture is of a good, solid roots album that takes heed of the past and brings it right into the here and now for a new generation of reggae fans to love.
The CD Temperature's Risin' can be purchased directly from rarerootsrecords.com or on the Roots Nation website rootsnation.com.
ROOTS NATION - TEMPERATURE'S RISIN [RARE ROOTS RECORDS]
by John Masouri for the December 2011 issue of Echoes Monthly Magazine in the UK
No disrespect to laptop producers, but what a pleasure it is to hear "live" instruments, played by musicians with feel and technique! Roots Nation was formed in 2003 and whilst New Hampshire isn't necessarily the first place you'd look for evidence of an authentic roots reggae revival, it's there nevertheless.
With their majestic horns, rocking rhythms and strong reality lyrics, tracks like Temperature's Risin', Shark Attack, I'll B. Goode, It's Serious and a first rate cover of Willi Williams' Dungeon are pure seventies in spirit, yet they're far from being derivative. We're not talking time travel here, but a return to the values that once underpinned so much good reggae in the past. Whilst Roots Nation have looked to the Caribbean for inspiration, they don't sound Jamaican. Their vibe's closer to early Aswad if anything and it's complemented by master guitarist Andy Bassford who turned up at the studio one day with two trusty guitars "that have recorded countless hits for the likes of Dennis Brown, Horace Andy, and Burning Spear to name but a few," and a 1966 Danelectro amp that once belonged to Coxsone.
His presence endorses Roots Nation's genuine feel for this music, and adds unquestionable class to their debut album. That's him soaring skyward on Only Human with its lurching, funky bassline and freedom message, and we can only imagine the smiles that lit up his face when hearing Do The Downbeat for the first time. Andy played on many sessions for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label, and this track's a fabulous tribute to Jamaica's very own Motown. References abound to sound clashes with Duke Reid, Count Machouki and writing songs "under the black mango tree." We're reminded that Coxsone had "the best house bands in the land" and when an organ solo arrives right on cue, just as they've called Jackie Mittoo's name, you know these guys mean business.
Lead singer / trombonist Greg Pearlman is the band's main songwriter. He wrote all of the tracks mentioned above although sax player Aaron Spears is no slouch either, as heard on Unchanted Vibes and Chalice of Love. We're then treated to four delightful dubs as the album winds to a close, and most Reggae fans reach for the replay button.
John Masouri [FOUR STARS]
"Roots Nation is a smooth pop synthesis of all of roots reggae's major themes, surveying the rich variety of Jamaican styles from ska to rap, and featuring a lovely tribute to Coxsone Dodd, played with affectionate conviction. It's Yankee Reggae for a new generation."
Roger Steffens - founding editor of THE BEAT & Bob Marley historian
"I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear an American Reggae band actually playing Reggae."
Todd Bebop Burd - bassist and founding member of Kansas City's legendary BLUE RIDDIM BAND
"I love your music. It had me so excited from the first couple of bars."
John Masouri - renowned Reggae biographer and journalist
"Yeah brother Greg, nuff respect to Roots Nation. I love the album."
Tony Chin - legendary Reggae guitarist of Peter Tosh and Soul Syndicate
"I am proud to be part of your schoolin' that resulted in something this great! I will be playing it on radio and beyond. Really appreci-love the dubs at the end too."
DJ Doug Wendt - Midnight Dread Sound System International
(selected as one of Midnight Dread's "Best of 2011")
"Excellent. Polished and sonically tight. Reggae as it should be, full of roots and soul. Bravo."
DJ "Big Jim" Snidow - KMEC 105.1 fm, Ukiah, CA
"This is some solid modern roots, with an excellent organic, horn-driven sound. It is a very good modern production of the classic roots reggae groove. And the lyrics and vocal styling make it a completely unique sound."
DJ Dr. StrangeDub - KFAI 90.3 fm, Minneapolis, MN