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Root Cellar Express

The members of Root Cellar eXpress may bristle a bit at the terms "roots rock" and "Americana," but this band is exactly what the terms were originally meant to describe. 

The four consummate musicians play a kind of acoustic folk-rock that embodies the rootsy soulfulness of Buffalo Springfield, The Band, Poco and the Traveling Wilburys. But there's a stripped-down purity--a maturity, if you will--that makes this a thoroughly modern outfit. Based in Cincinnati, Root Cellar eXpress draws as well from its own "edge of Dixie" geography. 

Formed in early 2016 by Clyde Bailey, who writes the band's original compositions, Root Cellar eXpress represents the culmination of four rich musical careers coming together in perfect harmony. 

Bailey is an established solo artist whose earlier band, Clyde and the Loonies, was a favorite of the (late and legendary) radio station WOXY, particularly for the song "Mr. Don't You" (have a listen at Clyde hand-picked the three other members of Root Cellar eXpress to achieve a sound in his mind that he feels is still missing in the realm of folk rock: "Lots of harmonies with a folksy twang sound," he says.

On pedal steel, Steve Mueller creates an unmistakably unique atmosphere. A bit of a perfectionist, Steve had often sat in with respected bands and fellow-travelers in Cincinnati--Billy Osterhaus, Todd Z. Hepburn--but was hesitant to commit to a band until he took in what Clyde was playing. 

For drummer Mike Singer, playing in Root Cellar eXpress offers an experience unlike any other band he has been a part of. "I'd never played with brushes before," he says. "In this band I only play with brushes."

Which brings us to a kind of hush. The band members' level of experience with music--that careful appreciation each person brings--has resulted in a sound that is as much about what is not played as much as what is. "We talk about respecting the space and letting the songs breathe," say Clyde. "Not everyone has to be playing at the same time."

That sound is captured on four demos that the band has recorded--three original compositions and a cover of Neil Young's "Out on the Weekend." Garnering a growing fan base, in part fueled by their Thursday-night residency at the noted downtown venue Washington Platform--Root Cellar eXpress is expanding its roots and continues to grow.

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