Andres Roots Goes All Solo – “Breakfast in September”
2 December 2018   Andres Rootsin haastattelu suomeksi

“Breakfast in September” by Estonian artist Andres Roots was released on
30 November. The
all-instrumental solo album was recorded in Tartu,
Estonia and produced by Asko-Romé Altsoo and Andres Roots.

All tracks are performed by Andres Roots on solo guitar -- except "Tango Walk"
by Andres Roots on slide guitar and
Halvo Liivamägi on second guitar. caught up with Mr Roots, and here´s what the artist had say…

How did you decide to cut an all-instrumental solo album?

I've done three instrumental albums before: "Three!" with the band Andres
Roots Roundabout
, "Trad.alt.blues" with Raul Terep, and "Sawmill Roots
" with the quartet by that same name. People were asking for one (a
solo album) as far back as 2010 when I was still with
Bullfrog Brown - they said
I was too much of a rocker when I was playing with a band. I don't know if this is
the album they were expecting, half the album is acoustic, but the electric half is
pretty heavily electric…

Back then, I didn't even consider it seriously, as I wasn't really doing many solo
gigs, but over the past 3-4 years I've been playing solo a lot - somehow, venues
and listeners seem to like it more and more. So there's really been a demand for
a solo album: people coming up after a gig and asking for it: "No, we don't want
a CD with drums and vocals, we just want the guitar!"
Thus, I decided to record one. The problem
was that while recording a guitar-only
album is technically the easiest thing - you
just go in and start playing, nothing to mix
afterwards, no band to rehearse and
arrange for before the session - there
were suddenly dozens and dozens more
songs for me to choose from. Let's just say
it took awhile - of course, at the same time
we were working on the Sawmill album
that came out earlier this year, so that
slowed the process down some, too.

You and Halvo Liivamägi go way back?

Halvo is a luthier and one of my best and
oldest friends, I bought my first proper
electric guitar from him in 1996 and he's
been maintaining my guitars and building
pickups for them ever since. We've worked
together and organized concerts together
etc., but until this spring we'd never
actually played together - we did two duo
shows early this year and I liked what he
played on the tango so much that I asked
him to record it with me. Incidentally, three
of the four guitar lessons I ever took I got from Halvo! The fourth lesson I got
from a German professor of theology - yes, really! - who himself had been taught
by the legendary
Big Boy Henry in North Carolina - but that's another story...

The Finnish connection: When was your very first Finnish gig? How big an
impact has the Finnish demand had on your career? How would you
characterize the Finnish blues audience?

I think my first Finnish gig was at Puistoblues in 2006, street stage with Bullfrog
Brown. And immediately after that we started touring with
Black River
, both in Finland and in Estonia - the Tartu Blues Society, the first blues
society in Estonia, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary this December; there's
quite a few Finnish acts we've managed to bring over in 15 years.

My connection with the Finnish blues scene started much earlier than that, from
listening to
Esa Kuloniemi's radio show when I was growing up. Consequently,
I've always felt more part of the Finnish blues scene than the Estonian one, and
funnily enough, even today I'm more of an outsider in Tallinn because the musical
background, or library or vocabulary or whatever you want to call it, is just so

It's much easier for me to work and travel with Finnish players like
or Matias Partanen, because we seem to share more of a common
background - and not just blueswise, we grew up watching the same TV
programs, etc. All those little things matter when you're on the road. And it is
easier musically beyond belief - with Ismo, we have one rehearsal and do four
shows, with the Sawmill Orchestra, we had to have four rehearsals just to do
one show...

At this point, I'd say half of my fans live in Finland, with the other half split
between Estonia and the rest of the world. And I must say the feeling is mutual -
I love playing to Finnish blues audiences. The only thing I don't completely get is
the Finnish blues dress code, but I'm working on it. That's probably to do with me
having grown up in the Soviet Union and being thoroughly fed up with wearing
uniforms of any kind. Still - why must all Finnish blues harp players wear the
same shirt? What's up with that?

Your plans 2019: gigs, festivals, other work?

Well, I'll be taking the solo album on the road in Finland in February, doing album
launch shows at Wake in Helsinki (14 February), Beetroot-klubi in Turku (15
February) and Bar Edgar in Loimaa (16 February). And even before that,
and I will play a duo show at the Savonsolmu Winter Blues Party in
Pieksämäki on 9 February. Anneli is one of the most in-demand professional
drummers in Estonia, but back in 1996, she was the drummer in my very first
band; we met again 20 years later and have been doing more and more duo
shows since then. The idea is to cut an album together, too - we won't have time
to finish a full-length record in time, but right now, we're hoping to be able to
have an EP ready by February - and if we do, Savonsolmu will be the launch
show for that!

I also have an acoustic band album planned, one with vocals for a change, but
it's too early to reveal any details about that. And then I think I'll be done making
albums, the world seems to be going back to singles as opposed to LP's and I
guess you got to move with the times. So two more records and I'm done.

Andres Roots was talking to’s Pasi Tuominen

Check out the Andres Roots website

Buy ”Breakfast in September” on

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