Rock 'n' Reel Magazine
“Jamie Williams & the Roots Collective from deepest Essex have, judging by the sleeve of Feet On The Ground, terrible taste in footwear, but great taste in music. Williams is a fine, soulful singer and songwriter, seemingly influenced by 70s Dylan and Van Morrison.”
Blues in the North West
Dug Deep, Found Steel
Here you will hear elements of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Ry Cooder, with perhaps only that last name really belonging in these pages – but Jamie and his associates often play at blues events, and despite the strong sounds of Americana that this band evokes, these events tend to take place in the band’s native south-east of the UK.
Maybe though, that Essex connection helps to explain why the band in several places also has a gritty sound that makes me think of the sound of The Kinks of the mid-sixties (or imagine The Feelgoods with acoustic guitars), and there are a couple of numbers that would definitely pass as blues in most contexts – take a listen to ‘Stone Drunk’ and ‘I Want To Be Happy’.
I’ll also just mention Nick Garner’s fine blues harp blowing on the majority of the tracks before I close by advising you to check this out if you do indeed have a fondness for Americana.
Good Time by Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective
Recorded as live and dripping with a ‘rough and ready’ roots atmosphere, the new album from Jamie Williams and his Roots Collective is both a decidedly modern release and a throwback to mainstream, 70s roots music.
The folk movement in the 70s was laced with protest songs and lyrics about changing the status quo (a sentiment also reflected in the punk movement that continued into the 1980s), and Jamie Roots shares DNA with this ear – not least because of an uncanny vocal resemblance to Bob Dylan. Tracks like ‘Mean Old World’ also hint at these influences, commenting on some of the darker aspects of modern society.
Meanwhile, ‘Hideaway’ has a far more positive outlook; upbeat lyrics about a ‘sunny day’ laid over sparse instrumentation and country style harmonies. It’s an album that strays across the boundaries of roots music – with jazz elements, country tropes and folk styles all rearing their heads at various times – andmakes for interesting listening.
Most arresting though is the aforementioned ‘as live’ production style. Lacking in the polish of many contemporary LPs in this genre, this has the feel of a traditional release and a genuinely raw quality.
By George Hoobs
Album: Dug Deep, Found Steel
As "Dug Deep, Found Steel" kicks off with the title track, five minutes plus of blues rock with an Americana edge, it lays down a marker that for the next forty four minutes, be prepared to give your ears a real blast, don't worry they'll thank you for it, they were waiting for something to shatter the wax anyway.
Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective are a six piece that pack plenty of punch, from vocal, through guitars into blues harp and percussion. Now it has to be said that this isn't an album that's going for the intellect, if there is a theme, it's the salvation brought about by a good woman and on that theme it delivers a solid set of songs, but this is an album that's as much about the deliver as it is the message and boy does it sound like they had fun making the thing.
That said, it's not all about the power, "Dug Deep, Found Steel" is more subtle than that. "Angel From Above", though on the surface comes across as a romantic ballad, there's a real sense of unease that permeates through, predominately brought about by some beautifully bowed double bass.
"Blow Away The Blues" is a track that you can imagine being a real live favourite, rich in riffs and hooks and using the title track very much as a sing-a-long chorus and let's be honest hard rocking blues really works when it's being interactive.
The band are, apparently, geared for a shed load of festivals, but if you haven't got the time or inclination to wait, you could do a lot worse than grab yourself a copy of "Dug Deep, Found Steel" to get some practice in.
Neil King - Fatea Magazine
R2 Rock'n'Reel - Good Time
This album is basically what it says on the cover. Jamie Williams and the Roots Collective play blues-based roots music and have a good time doing so. They made a very good choice to record 'as live', which has captured their energy and passion for this music.
The album is summed up by the title track on which Williams sings, 'I know what to do / All I need is to get out and about, when I get the blues / Good Time'. I may be guessing but I don't think the band do this for world domination or money; they do it because they love it, and this shines through the music.
Perhaps because around half of the songs follow the tradional twelve-bar blues format, it is two slower songs that stand out. 'Don't Cry' and 'Jewel In The Crown' add a touch of county to the blues mix and provide a nice change of pace midway through the album.
Good Time has grown on me. It is unlikely to be anyone's album of the year but if you like soulful blues with a hint of country, give it a listen. I think you'll have a good time, too.