Cincinnati Country Rock band Root Cellar Xtract is releasing its sophomore album, Lonesome Miles, this week. The album gets the release-party treatment Saturday (April 6) at Fretboard Brewing Company (5800 Creek Road, Blue Ash, fretboardbrewing.com). Jeremy Francis opens the 8 p.m. show.
Formed just a couple of years ago by veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Clyde Bailey, Root Cellar Xtract released its first album, Rear View Mirror Eyes, in 2017. Like that album, Lonesome Miles showcases the group’s spin on the rootsy Rock of the ’70s Laurel Canyon scene (as well as like-minded acts affiliated with it, like Ohio’s Pure Prairie League). The musicianship is also once again remarkable, with a murderer’s row of players in the lineup (plus some similarly talented special guests). Steve Mueller’s pedal-steel atmospherics and Phil Burkhead’s rich piano and keys are particularly ear-grabbing on the new album, helping to elevate the strong songwriting, but every player is crucial and flawless.
RCX sought to expand its sound a bit on Lonesome Miles, and it serves the album well, creating an even more enjoyable listening experience by throwing in some curveballs on the second half of the album. Tracks like the Bluegrass-infused “I Know” and the smooth and eclectic “A Little Love in Your Arms,” which fuses warmly layered harmonies and a bit Jazz flair (a feel attributed to the addition of Jazz players Burkhead, Nick Hach and Sam Reuscher to the group), create an engaging balance with the solid Country Rock tunes like “South Dakota Sky” (which you can hear below in a new music video) and “It Ain’t Easy” that are frontloaded on the album.
The split was intentional and a throwback to the days when vinyl was the primary format for releases.
“We very much by design took an A Side/B Side approach to the Lonesome Miles album when writing and recording it,” Bailey says in a press release about the division of styles. “A band’s second album should reflect growth from their first album in some way.”
You can pick up a CD copy of Lonesome Miles ahead of the release party at Everybody’s Records (6106 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, everybodysrecords.com). After Saturday’s show, the album will be available on most major digital platforms, as well as via rootcellarxtract.com.