Grass Roots Reviews
Blues On Stage - Review Date April 2004, by Craig Ruskey The Chicago Kingsnakes Grass Roots Music King (2003) 60654 Recommended. This has all the elements of a Southern afternoon front porch jam and party with everything but the sound of friends whooping it up while dancing around the yard. The Chicago Kingsnakes may not be known far outside of their territory, but their latest, Grass Roots, is a follow-up to Blues Island and another winner. Consisting of James Anderson's superb guitar work and potent vocals, Nelson Keaton's solid harp, and Ron Berry's bass along with Tom King's uncluttered drumming, this stripped-back. all-acoustic affair is without a blemish (unless you consider the short playing time). Anderson dishes out fine work, whether on his National, Gibson, or Supro, and vocally, he's got a relaxing style. The Delta feel of Wolf In Sheep's Clothes is stunning while the instrumental, Chili Con Queso, works off a romping Latin groove, and Berry's Morning Booze Flu is a stark reminder to the after effects of a bit too much of the night before. Whether the hand-clapping fun of Downtown Train or the backwoods dirt of Best Friend Blues, this unplugged gem has plenty for fans of acoustic blues and roots music.
Illinois Entertainer April 2004 - Kevin Toelle Grass Roots accurately describes the contents of the new all-acoustic CD by the Chicago Kingsnakes. Utilizing vintage guitars and bass, the band presents a program of all-original material that ranges from country blues to old-timey tunes with strong vocals and impressive instrumental work. For a change of pace, the group also includes a compelling harmonica-led instrumental entitled “Chili Con Queso,” which brings a Latin flavor to the proceedings. The whole affair is a fine downhome effort from a decidedly urban combo.
BLUES REVUE – Tom Hyslop April/May 2004 The Chicago Kingsnakes who last crawled in with the tough, Blues Island, are back with an all-acoustic Grass Roots (MusicKing 60654). Guitarist James Anderson turns in crisply rhythmic leads that work well in this setting. Ron Berry’s bass and Tom King’s percussion are just right, and Nelson Keaton draws excellent tone out of his harps. “Chili Con Queso” is a tasty, meatless variation on Kenny Burrell’s familiar con carne recipe; “Best Friend Blues” and “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” make serious slow blues impressions; “I Remember” hits a solid gospel groove. Too often a band unplugs without adapting, but the Kingsnakes sound like naturals at the acoustic-combo thing.
"TOP 10 of 2003" LOCAL SCENE with Tom Lounges BY TOM LOUNGES Times Correspondent Chicago Kingsnakes, "Grassroots" (Music King) This is tasty acoustic blues by one of the Chicago area's best blues bands of the last decade. Full of original tunes written or co-written by band leader and guitarist James "Ang" Anderson, this is a salute to the music that first inspired the band members to pick up their instruments. Its best and darkest cut, "Tonti Train Wreck," sounds a bit like "Nebraska"-era Springsteen meets Johnny Cash, and features fiddle player Annie Kincaid. Go to www.chicagokingsnakes.com.