Swedish retro rockers Siena Root have finally delivered that long promised live album, the 2 CD set titled Root Jam. With its arrival, not only has the band solidified their position as a bonafide proponent of 70’s hard rock & prog, but that they can also cut it in the jam band scene as well. Long tunes, plenty of sprawling extended solos, and a myriad of instruments played all add to the wow factor here, and the end result is a live album that truly represents what a live album is meant to be.
Guitar, bass, drums, organ, flute, Mellotron, sitar, violin, and hurdy gurdy are just a few of the instruments that Siena Root put to use on this live set. “The Rat” and “Waiting For the Sun” sound like leftovers from the 60’s Woodstock nation, complete with psychedelic passages with sitar, organ, and guitar, and the more jammy tracks “Bhimpalasi” and “Into the Woods” feature extended soloing that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Phish or moe. live album. On “Words” the band channel their inner Uriah Heep/Deep Purple vibe, thanks to the heavy riffs and raging organ, and also leave plenty of space for lengthy guitar, organ, and drum solos. The band slows things down a bit on the folky acoustic piece “Trippin’ ” , which could have easily come off a Grateful Dead record, and the sitar is again featured on the psychedelic folk track “Bhairavi Thumri”. Before you get lulled into a peaceful calm the band cranks up the volume for the heavy rock vibe of “Dreams of Tomorrow”, a song sure to please fans of Captain Beyond or Mountain, filled with tons of blistering guitar firepower. The organ is at center stage on the prog rock track “Long Way From Home”, a song that sounds like it could have been recorded in 1972, and it also features some nice violin passages and solid vocals. ” Rasayana” and “Reverberations” finish up the live album in splendid fashion, each one packed with lengthy jams and vintage ambience, the latter having some nice interplay between organ and flute before the crushing Iron Butterfly inspired guitar & organ riffs take over.
With a variety of singers and instruments, Root Jam was probably meant to be more of a special occasion for Siena Root, as normally they perform as a trio, but it’s a good thing they decided to record this concert and show what they can do when the band stretches out a bit. Exciting stuff, and hopefully we can get to see them do their thing in North America one of these days.
Review by Sea of Tranquility’s Pete Pardo