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Roots Round Up Premiere Their Lively New Album ‘Up Rooted’

Vintage reggae ska band Roots Round Up has returned with the debut of their spry new ‘Up Rooted,’ released via Sudden Death Records.



Roots Round Up in 2023, photo by Sharon Steele Photography
Roots Round Up in 2023, photo by Sharon Steele Photography

There will always be a fun atmosphere in the air when it comes to Roots Round Up. That atmosphere abounds on the band’s brand new album, Up Rooted. Released via Sudden Death Records, this is the Vancouver act’s sixth proper full-length.

You always get a little bit of everything on a Roots Round Up record, and that’s no different on Up Rooted. It features twelve tracks, with six new original songs and six special tracks. It features a cover of DOA’s classic song “War in the East,” a reinterpretation of Sarcastic Mannequins’ “Red Fury,” along with four live recordings. The live tracks are taken from a performance the band did on Denman Island in British Columbia last June.

It was important for Roots Round Up to include live tracks on Up Rooted. The band has always prided itself on being, first and foremost, a live act. The live show has always taken precedence over the studio and they wanted to emphasize that on this album. The live songs were recorded at the group’s first full show after the pandemic lockdowns were lifted. This only added to the excitement and the festive spirit captured within these recordings.

Commenting on the record, Greg Hathaway shares:

“Capturing our sound in the studio has been challenging in the past as we’ve always been primarily a raucous live band, but with the help of Stephen Hamm (Theremin Man) and Chris Wardman, we feel weve accomplished something that truly represents Roots Round Up in all our musical diversity. Recording Up Rooted was the most creatively satisfying studio session we’ve ever experienced. We hope everyone enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it!”

What’s made abundantly clear throughout Up Rooted is that Roots Round Up is still a band operating at the top of their game. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of their formation. But there are no signs of an ensemble here gearing up for retirement. A variety of very topical themes are explored throughout this record. The song “Relief” is a commentary on current social issues such as addiction and war. “Nobots” is a song about what seems like everyone’s current favourite topic, artificial intelligence. The song questions whether AI can feel emotion and ponders how we treat it.

Musically, the album features plenty of the roots rock, reggae, dub, and ska fusion that you’ve become used to. This is a record for any listener with an open mind. If you appreciate a good time, then you’ll appreciate Up Rooted.

Roots Round Up ‘Up Rooted’ album artwork

Roots Round Up ‘Up Rooted’ album artwork