I like this: Dead Root Revival, playing Dakota Tavern tonight

We all know the big sounds coming out of the Limestone City: the brashness of the Headstones, the youthful energy of young bands like Kasador and the Wilderness, the beloved songs of the Tragically Hip. 

If you’re looking for something a little different but no less rooted in this proud tradition, make your way to the Dakota Tavern Friday night and get to know Dead Root Revival, fronted by Tom Savage. 

“I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old,” he said. “My dad always had a Guild acoustic hanging around the house and it was only a matter of time before I picked it up. He toured a bit as a folk musician in the 1970s. My mom and grandmother were piano teachers and choir directors, so music is kind of the family trade.” 

Savage describes his band, with Tony Silvestri on Hammond organ, Bonz Bowering on drums and Richard Piche on bass, as being a great new find for fans of the Allman Brothers Band, Deep Purple and Drive-By Truckers, combining “some jam band sensibilities like the Allmans (but) we tend to steer clear of the half-hour jams.” He credits Silvestri’s “virtuosity” on the organ for comparisons to Deep Purple, adding that “some of our songs are flat-out crunchy guitar rockers similar to that of Drive-By Truckers.” 

David Barbe, longtime producer for the Truckers, also produced Dead Root Revival’s first full-length album, The Controller’s Exam, released in March.

There certainly is a bit of timeless, bluesy, ‘70s-inspired funk in this Kingston-based band’s sound, recognizable for what it is while at the same time new and not overly steeped in nostalgia like other acts hitting your radio in the past few years. 

“Our goal with this record was to capture the energy of our live show and really give DRR fans something special,” Savage said. “I think we achieved that with The Controller’s Exam. It was an incredible experience traveling down to Athens to work with David. His experience and palpable enthusiasm for doing things analogue set us at least and allowed us to really focus on performing to the top of our abilities.”

It’s been about a year since DRR performed at the Linsmore Tavern, making Friday’s return the culmination of a year of hard work, finishing the album, workshopping songs and performing around Ontario and beyond. They’re excited to come back and win over new fans. 

People should “expect to have an incredible sensory experience” during the show, Savage said. “We’ll be performing our new double album live in its entirety and this collection of songs really sizzles when performed on stage.” 

You can check out Dead Root Revival on all the usual streaming platforms, including Bandcamp; The Slow and Easy open the show. Tickets are $8 plus fees in advance and $15 at the door and can be purchased here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 520 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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