Written by Ryan Delaney exclusively for Appalachian Jamwich

Edited by Ryan Neeley

Photos provided by Devious Planet

For twenty years, the Pittsburgh-born rock group Rusted Root has been pushing musical boundaries as far as they could possibly imagine.  Creating an electric mish-mash of all genres of music from classic rock to calypso to reggae – with the occasional pop rock melodies thrown in along with amazing polyrhythmic beats from across the globe, Rusted Root has certainly carved out their own niche within the music industry.

But that doesn’t mean they’re done yet.  In fact, some could argue Rusted Root’s popularity again is on the rise, as they have recently hit a stride and are building momentum.  Proof of this can be found in their latest studio effort, The Movement, Root’s first studio effort since 2009’s Stereo Rodeo, which was the first album Rusted Root put out without drummer and founding member Jim Donovan, and was widely criticized my mainstream Root fans.

Where Root’s last few albums have been a touch experimental, trying to incorporate new things into the volatile mix of Rusted Root music,  The Movement is a return to what Rusted Root does best – amazing songs filled with potent and noteworthy lyrics coupled with grooves that just make the feet want to dance.  Best part of all, the album does not take any time to gain steam.  It smacks the listener in the ears immediately with insatiable grooves.

The album’s first two tracks “Monkey Pants” and “Cover Me up” are instant classic Rusted Root tunes, with uplifting, thought-provoking lyric.  The beat laid down by Preech Freedom’s drums combined with the incredible guitar work by front man Michael Glabicki and Colter Harper get the head bopping back and forth to grooves that only Rusted Root can deliver.  Knowing Root really uses their improvisation skills live to make sure songs are never played the same way twice, it is easy to imagine both Monkey Pants and Cover Me Up finding an immediate spot in the band’s ever expanding set list.

After the first two juicy, groovy dance worthy tracks, the album slows down a bit but doesn’t lose anything other than tempo.  The album’s title track The Movement has an incredible drum beat laid down by Freedom, with astounding harmonies between Glabicki, Lucy Stone (of the Lucy Stone Band, who open for Rusted Root on their fall tour) and Liz Berlin.  While this song may be a departure from the typical Root song, the lyrics send a powerful message and quickly become a prominent beast on this album.

The main feature of The Movement is the worldly and tribal-esque beats serving as the driving force.  This focus on incredible rhythmic quality continues with In Our Sun, an interesting and experimental song in terms of its sonic scope, with trance like rhythms and African chanting.  While it may not have the instant dance groove some Root fans are craving, for diehard Rootheads this song is right up their alley with its inclusion of a vast array of musical influences.

Continuing right along, the album ventures into ballad territory with Fossil Man, featuring driving guitar licks, addictive drum beats and powerful lyrics.

From there, the album heads back into familiar territory, with the tracks Fortunate Freaks, Sun and Magic and Up, Up and All Around featuring that familiar driving polyrhythmic beat, ear pleasing harmonies with Patrick Norman adding magnificent backing vocals and Dirk Miller’s soul satisfying guitar work.  Much like the album opening two tracks, these three songs can instantly find their way onto the next set list and they would feel like they’ve always been a part of the song catalog.

To wrap everything together, the album closes out with Something on My Mind, a slow moving passionate ballad that serves as a great calming melodic tune to help return the listener back to earth.  It offers a simple but effective drum beat, while beautiful guitar work by Glabicki carries the song through the heartfelt and touching lyrics.

All in all, Rusted Root’s latest effort The Movement is an astounding effort that is full of energy and passion that is typically only reserved for bands still young in the teeth, not road worn veterans .  While the album may not become as legendary as Cruel Sun or When I Woke and not feature an instant megahit such as Send Me On My Way, it does exactly what it is supposed to do – remind us all why we love Rusted Root and why after twenty years we still cannot get enough!

NOTE: This record was partly funded by Rusted Root fans across the globe.  Using an online site very similar to Kickstarter, Rusted Root set up an account called “Fortunate Freaks Unite” after one of the albums songs and allowed fans to donate directly to the album making process.

Order the album here! —

Catch them live in the Greater Pittsburgh Area Saturday November 10th, 2012 – Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA

For additional tour dates, click here