Root Doctor , born of the fertile Lansing, Michigan music community, had its humble beginnings in the open mic scene of the late 1980s. The deeply rooted, soulful connection shared by founding members Freddie Cunningham (lead vocals) and James Williams (bass guitar & vocals) anchors the band's sound. Root Doctor has kept one other constant over the years: a powerful soul-blues sound with precious few peers. The current line up features prodigal original band mate Mike Skory (Hammond B3, keyboards & vocals), Bill Malone (guitar & vocals), and Bobby Gardner (drums), all veteran performers whose abundant abilities allow Root Doctor to continue their long tradition of amazing audiences and wowing critics.
Root Doctor plays a diverse mix of classic soul and R&B alongside traditional blues and inspired original material. Along with over 20 years of club, concert and festival performances, they have released four recordings to local and national acclaim. Their latest, the much-anticipated 2011 release, Joy, features all original material and guest appearances by the band's family and friends.
The Root Doctor resume' includes appearances with Tab Benoit, Ray Charles, Macy Gray , Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Little Richard, Otis Clay, Bobby Rush, James Cotton, Taj Mahal and many more. Their performances have electrified audiences at numerous nightclubs and festivals including the prestigious Poconos Blues festival, the Detroit Jazz festival and The Great Woods Music Festival in Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada. Root Doctor is proud to have played the historically significant Idlewild Music festival three times in recent years.
How the name Root Doctor came into being
In 1989, Mike Skory put a band together for a gig at Tango's in Downtown Lansing, Michigan. The band he cobbled together included Mike Skory on keyboards, Freddie Cunningham on vocals, James Williams on bass, Dick Rosemont on drums and Scott Allman on guitar. Marge Mooney came up with the name "Downtown Blues Band", but it became a problem because there was another band in town called the "Uptown Band", and the names were so similar that people were confused about which band they were going to see. With the confusion between the bands, a name change made sense. John Fitzgerald (who had replaced Mike Skory on Keyboard) suggested the name "Root Doctor" from a Buddy Ace song the band performed at the time. That is where the name Root Doctor came from.