Copyright 2016. Rachel Drew. All rights reserved.
photo by Rob Gaczol at Constellation Chicago, February 5, 2016
"Rachel Drew & the Bitter Roots have their feet firmly planted in American roots music, blending a strong modern take on rhythmic Memphis Soul, recalling Stax-Volt era performers like Carla Thomas, with doses of introspective folk, classic country, and the occasional pop-influenced flourish. In performance and on record, Rachel delivers intelligent lyrics in a soulful, heartfelt manner backed by a cadre of some of Chicago’s best working musicians."
"The band and Rachel Drew's original songs capture the essence of mid-60s r&b, Stax/Volt and Motown with a bit of early 70s Linda Ronstadt for good measure. Whether inspired by dreams, family, or heartbreak, her songs of longing and memory have the haunted, aching quality that is the embodiment of soul music at its best."
"Rachel Drew & the Bitter Roots are forging a sound that ties together elements of soul, blues, and the best examples of 70's pop songwriters. Alton Smith's keys play a prominent role, serving both as foundation and melodic counterpoint. John Mead's guitar work stays tastefully settled in the mix in the tradition of the classic Motown recordings, serving the song without undue flash or grandstanding. The rhythm duo of drummer Gerald Dowd and bassist Steve Dawson support and propel the songs, always perfectly in sync with the music's mood. And upfront and center is the voice of Rachel Drew, who can turn a phrase from a wistful whisper to a smoky growl, delivering lyrics and melody that comfort with the familiarity of a great pop chanteuse while establishing a style unique unto herself. Drew is an artist to keep an eye, and ear, on as she and her band celebrate and explore the traditions of great American songwriting." - David Argentieri of Rockwell Crossing
"Rachel Drew layers her alto into dream-like melodies that cross genres and evoke Billie Holiday and Motown atop unexpected, satisfying chord changes. Her songs and singing style are unassuming, intimate, and soulful. She has elicited comparisons to Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, and Eilen Jewell. Rachel Drew & the Bitter Roots are some of Chicago's finest musicians: Steve Dawson (Dolly Varden), Gerald Dowd (Robbie Fulks, Electric Dirt, Model Citizens Big Band), John Mead, and Alton Smith."