“You must liberate your charisma, I therefore prescribe Sweet Roots!” By Ian Browne Shamrock News
“You must liberate your charisma,
I therefore prescribe Sweet Roots!”
‘If music was colourful, then the Sweet Roots are as vibrant as any rainbow or sunset I have seen’
By Ian Browne Shamrock News...Bio by Tom Brownhill
Before we hitch a ride upon the Sweet Roots safari, I would just like to take this moment to reply to those who complained about the abuse Tom Rice dealt out to the mushroom photographed here by John Gormley. Tom confided in me and sincerely asserted that he is in fact a good friend of the fungi, they go way back, and on a few occasions Tom has had to lean on him in times of dire need.
Tom Rice invited me to write the Sweet Roots’ first ever review. On a warm Saturday night, I was asked to attend the Byron Vibes party at the Byron Brewery. I peeled myself off the floor’s arvo siesta and gallantly rushed to Byron from my home 15km up the beach in Bruns. I was standing semi-naked in the carpark and heard a wonderfully powerful voice as the walls of the Buddha Bar began to sway. ..“Blimey, the buggers have come on early!”… I quickly dressed and made my way into the crowded outside bar.
Previously, I had published a story on the Byron Vibes parties, but this was my first visit to one. They are splendid, local bands from the Northern Rivers get up on stage and shake their tails. Then rappers, reggae-dubbers, anyone, hop up and jam along in unison. There is some serious talent at these parties and the Sweet Roots are one of em. Tatts, dredds, gorgeous, smiling hippy chicks- in suitably clad fashions and face paints; a melee of happiness as the Sweet Roots poured vibrancy into the craniums of locals and rejuvenated backpackers. As I perched myself close to the band, within the intense autumn sunset under the wizen-energy of the mighty fig tree, I immediately put ink to cellulose:
The Sweet Roots are: Tom Brownhill (Keys), Amber Jolly (Vox), Tom Rice(Drums), Joel Bell (Bass), Jacob Tuck (Guitars).
The Sweet Roots are driven by a strong female voice as she dances along the front of the stage, the bass jiving along in time, as he and the guitarist sound out with backup vocals. Long of hair and leaning down over the keyboard, the church organ sounds reminded me of a thriving ‘Inspiral Carpets’ - meets- ‘Madness’ vibe (showing may age here). Mr Rice enthusiastically rattles away on drums, keeping the pace which is energetic and exciting. If you ever feel a bit down, or bored with life, trust me, go and see these guys, it is such a rejoicing and uplifting experience!
It’s a party jive sound, a very pacey SKA-funk groove with enough time-changes and bouncy bass lines to keep you both in time with the beat, and also intrigued in the same moment. I particularly like how the guitar doesn’t over dominate the scene, allowing the keyboard to also send one to The Doors and Radio Birdman. But I have to say, the dancing Amber Jolly stole my heart, she is a wonderful front lady. I sat for a spell with her after the gig and had a chat. Amber was the singer in the Port Lincoln outfit Communal Red (great title). They were greedy in their many contributions to the Triple J ‘Rock’ and ‘Unearthed’ charts. Amber is relishing her new life here in the Northern Rivers of NSW and really gives the entire pre-mentioned groove an heir of individuality. I am a fan of the indie–fusions of the 90’s. Her voice almost seems like it doesn’t match the genre, and that for me is a massive TICK as it fosters hybridisation.
If you have to see one band this year, choose a fun, positive experience. A wonderful host in Amber, the band falls in-sync nicely; electric and non-pretentious. If music was colourful, then the Sweet Roots are as vibrant as any rainbow or sunset I have seen. Take heed, these guys are perfect for the big festivals! For now, they are in that precious moment in time called ‘infancy’, so get out there and get to know them before they become tied up elsewhere. I can’t wait to get my grubby lil-hands on a CD when the moment arises, then I can speak to the songs and their themes.
I will let the Tom Brownhill take it from here: “Sweet Roots – The Story ”
In the summer of 2014/2015, Amber (Lead Vocals) from Port Lincoln SA, moved to Byron Shire in search of new music. In her quest, she met Tommy (Drums) through a mutual friendship, and began jamming with some of the music she had written. It was around the same time that Tom (Keyboards) also moved to the area on a search for groovy music, and as fate had it, found it upon meeting Amber at a wild party at Dunoon, where an enthusiastic jam ensued. Amber and Tom enjoyed each other’s music and shortly after, the two Toms were introduced, and the band that would later be known as ‘Sweet Roots’ was conceived.
The three of us jammed all summer, developing an original style that suited our sound through Tommy’s versatile drumming, Amber’s soulful vocals and Tom’s shrill organ. The chunky rhythm came later in the form of Joel (Bass) from Kuranda QLD, which opened the doors to an uproar of musical experimentation, playing and merging aspects of rock, funk, reggae/dub, soul, folk, blues. We played a couple of local gigs, like the Mullumbimby Music Festival, which included a courtyard- garden gig at the Other Joint Café, but we mostly continued playing music at our own gatherings back at the Myocum Ridge Road House.
In the summer of 2016, Sweet Roots underwent a reinvention of sound once again when Tucki (guitar) joined the band, and we began to add a much heavier emphasis on laying down the funk and playing something that people can really dance and party to. Our only wish as a band is for people to just ‘Listen’ to the music, forget all that they know, as we take them on a journey through the Psychedelic soul.