In this project, Jazz Guitarist, Ed Acquesta, put down his arch top guitar and returned to his beginnings as a singer songwriter. Root Cellar is a eclectic collection of thirteen original songs and one Woody Guthrie cover.
Ed told us, " I was going through a lot things in my personal life and just started writing songs again as an outlet for what I was feeling. At the same time, all these major events like 9/11 and the Iraq war were happening and it all came out in the music. When I looked up I had about a dozen songs, so I thought I might as well go ahead and make it a project. It a lot a ways, it was a needed break from the "jazz guitar thing" after completing the String Spirits project."
On this project, Ed sings and plays a wide variety of guitar including electric slide guitar, acoustic bottleneck, dobro, bluegrass flat picking, finger picking blues and folk, 60's rock guitar (including a jangling Rickenbacker electric 12 string). There are even some snippets of Ed's jazz playing, mandolin and harmonica.
Here are Ed's comments on the songs:
"A Soldier's Tale" - This song is the story of a confederate soldier from Georgia during the Civil War. I got the idea for the song after observing some of our U.S. Soldiers returning from Iraq at the Atlanta airport. It would have been too obvious to make it about Iraq, so I did some research and set the song in the Civil War period. The message is the same regardless of the time period.
"The Ragman" - The song was written with Nick Drake in mind. A good friend of mine, Frank Carrington, turned me on to Nick and I was absorbing all of his music. I used one of his tunings for this song. I completely missed Nick Drake (like many others) in the 70's.
"What Will They Think of Me Now" - I wrote the song after getting sacked at work.
"Jesus is Our King" - This song tells the story of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The song was written a day after 9/11 and recorded within a week of the event. You can definitely hear the tension, anger and sadness in the song. I set the tune in a delta blues format to tell the story with the bottleneck. It was recording using my 1932 National Trojan Resonator guitar. That guitar's the real deal!
"The Battle of Ringgold Gap" - This is a flat picking instrumental. Confederate General Patrick Cleburne held the mountain gap at Ringgold, Georgia against Sherman's entire Union army after the disastrous defeat of General Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army at Look Out Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Cleburne saved Bragg's army with his stand at Ringgold.
"What's Already Started" - This song is more commentary on current events. I blended the bottleneck with the jazz archtop for some interesting effects.
"Georgia Blues" - This is a Bluegrass tune also written after losing my job. It is the Beverly Hillbillies turned inside out. My friend, singer songwriter, Ron Hipp, was also out of work at the time and he plays banjo on the song.
"Deportee" - My favorite Woody Guthrie tune. An old Bluegrass band mate friend, Bill Felix was in town and we just decided to cut it.
"The Truth in Your Songs" - This song was written after receiving a tape of original songs from an old musical partner, Mike Rubin. Mike and I played together as a duo for several years in the 1970's.
"The Passing of Big Blue" - You can figure this one out!
"That's What I'm Gonna Do" - This is a song about average working folks and the things they do to make it. It was inspired by some things happening to some of my friends at the time. Check out, singer songwriter, Kathy Reed's harmony vocals on this one.
"Rodeo" - This is the only tune on the album which I wrote many years ago. In fact, it was one of the first tunes I ever wrote. When I was in college, my room mate, Kevin Whitehead, always liked this tune and wanted to play it with me. By the way, Kevin is a big shot jazz music critic now writing for Down Beat and other periodicals.
"Memphis" - This is a story song about the guitar, the Devil handed to Robert Johnson. A 1930's Kalamazoo guitar (the same model Robert used) came into Dreamcatcher guitars where I teach. I loved playing it because it had so much presence. Then I convinced myself that it could be Robert's guitar.........the song wrote itself after that!
"Long Gone" - This song is self-explanatory.
Root Cellar is a very eclectic album. It draws on all Ed's influences including Blues, 60's Rock, Country, Bluegrass and Jazz.
Check it out!
Check out the artist's website:
1. A Soldier's Tale
2. The Ragman
3. What Will They Think of Me Now?
4. Jesus Is Our King
5. The Battle of Ringold Gap
6. What's Already Started
7. Georgia Blues
9. The Truth in Your Songs
10. The Passing of Big Blue
11. That's What I'm Gonna Do
14. Long Gone