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Roots with a splash of soul

Article Published: Jan. 20, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Roots with a splash of soul

RootSoul Project comes to Boone Jan. 22.

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RootSoul Project, unsurprisingly, is all about the roots.

"We play roots music of all genres," front man Randy McQuay II said.

Think grit roots with a splash of soul, but it's not about the artists that came before.
To McQuay, it's about what roots represents.

"Roots music is a music that is deeply rooted in someone's culture," he said. "It pertains to the culture. It really pertains to the origins of a beginning, of anything, of the genre of music itself."

Think roots reggae, roots bluegrass and roots soul, meshed into one tight package.

"We approach the music at its simplest form, at its origins, where these songs really got started," McQuay said.

So what is it about the roots that has McQuay and his cohorts, Jason Moore and Brian Mason, coming back for more?

"Pain and suffering, I think," he said. "It's a companion, something I can really, I think, genuinely relate to, really more than anything."

And it started in childhood.

"My mother took me to a flea market and bought me a bluegrass and a roots reggae record, and I started listening to bluegrass and reggae at the same time," he said. "There's so many things that are similar about them."

RootSoul Project, together in one capacity or another since 2001, is a Wilmington-based sound that toured as an acoustic duo for years before taking the full leap.

"That gave us a following," McQuay said, a following in places like the North Carolina High Country, where he's opened for Corey Smith (and will open for him again March 2 at Legends).

And touring the state has given them more experience than other states could provide.

"You have the mountains, you have the Piedmont, you have the coast," he said. "You're able to experience a lot of different feelings and ways of life."

And now the full band makes its High Country debut Jan. 22 at Murphy's Restaurant and Pub (747 W. King St.) Call (828) 264-5117 for cover charge information and visit for a preview.

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