Born just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi Freddie is the soul of Root Doctor. In a family where talent is plentiful (his mother was the choir director at her church for years, his sister Vanessa sings with the Earl Nelson Singers Company of Lansing, MI, and his brother Tim is an accomplished jazz saxophonist), Freddie was exposed to music from day one. His mother recalled her son singing before he could talk. By the age of five Freddie was a featured member of his church choir and wowed audiences even then.
After his family moved north to find work in the factories, he joined various pick-up bands and even toured a bit with a gospel group. However, it wasn't until he became a formative member of Root Doctor in the early 90's that Freddie's star began to rise.
Freddie's dynamic and powerful voice has drawn comparisons to such greats as Joe Williams, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, and B.B. King.
Blues is a tonic for whatever ails you. I could play the blues and then not be blue anymore. B.B. King
The blues tells a story. Every line
of the blues has a meaning.
– John Lee Hooker
James Williams bass guitarist
Among musicians and music lovers alike, it is often said that a musician's feel or groove can make or break a band. With that said, the Tower of Groove also known as James Williams is a powerhouse of feel and taste.
James has shared the stage with such heavyweights as Buddy Guy, Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, Koko Taylor, and Little Richard to name but a few. As the younger brother of Lamar Williams (bassist for The Allman Brothers Band 1972-1976, and Sea Level) and the son of Lemon M. Williams (a gospel radio regular), music was no stranger to James in his formative years.
In 5th grade, James was given his first musical opportunity on the drums. From there he became fixated on the bass. While his first band was a modest high school project, it didn't take long at all before he was touring with many respectable acts over the coming years. In the early 90's, James became a co-founding member of what is now Root Doctor. And today his playing is nothing less than the essential heartbeat of the formidable Root Doctor sound.
Bass players and drummers are brothers in the basement cooking up the groove that makes people move.
Tower of groove
Lead Guitar & Vocals
Bill Malone was born and raised in the “Motor City”- Detroit, Michigan. It’s been more than 30 years since Bill received his first guitar and amplifier as a gift from his parents. The very first song he learned was “Bumpin’ on Sunset” by Wes Montgomery. By the age of 17, he was playing professionally.
Being self taught, he took a personal interest in Blues which came from listening to his father’s many early recordings of B. B. King. This initiated Bill to study various blues guitar artists and developing a style of his own. One day his cousin introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and it changed his life! He became more serious and he began playing with local bands.
With his roots deeply steeped in Blues it is no wonder Bill was influenced by artists including Albert Collins, Elmore James, Albert King, B.B. King and T-Bone Walker to Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter.
Younger fans comment that he “shreds” on the guitar, and older folk say he “just plain rocks.”
Bill has shared the stage with Tab Benoit, Larry McCray and Coco Montoya.
As one of the newest additions to the band, his vocals and jammin’ guitar licks are a great addition to Root Doctor Featuring Freddie Cunningham.
M e l o d i e s
Piano keys are black and
white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.” –
Chris Corey was born and raised in Lansing, MI. The youngest of 8 children, he was greatly influenced by his parents and older sibling's musical tastes which spanned nearly every genre. After graduating from Central Michigan University, Chris moved west fo Phoenix where he was able to hone his keyboard skills and quickly became an in-demand sideman for some of the area's busiest groups. He has performed with touring artists including The Drifters, The Coasters, The Platters, The Marvelettes, Louis Mandrel, Ray Petterson, Brian Hyland, Esteban, Ramsey Island Steel drum band, Paul McDermand, Dennis Rowland and The Ink Spots. In 2000, Chris relocated back to Michigan where he continues to mix it up playing all kinds of musical styles.
Chris joined Root Doctor in 2017.
Drummer...the foundation, the anchor, the
D R U M M E R
Music comes to me more readily than words.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Raised in the Flint area, Austin Howard began playing the drums at 13 years old. Growing up he gigged and took advantage of every playing opportunity available. After completing a composition degree at Berklee College of Music, he continued his studies at Michigan State University in Jazz.
Austin is inspired as much by blues and Jazz music as he is pop, rock and hip hop. He's been fortunate enough to play with a wide variety of artists such as Bill Heid, Jeff Baldori, Ozay Moore and Jacob Jeffries. Austin, the youngest member of the band, joined Root Doctor in 2019.