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    Taproot Biography

    Rolling Stone hailed them as "contenders" and Vanity Fair called them "ones to watch." They've shared stages with the likes of Linkin Park and Queens of the Stone Age, blanketed the airwaves with hook-laden rock radio hits and saw all three of their albums (2000’s Gift, 2002’s Welcome, 2005’s Blue Sky Research) chart within the top 35 on Billboard’s Top 200. We're talking of course about Ann Arbor, MI-based quartet TAPROOT, who have returned with their first album in three years—the highly anticipated OUR LONG ROAD HOME.

    Working with producer Tim Patalan (Sponge, Lovedrug), the band (vocalist/guitarist Stephen Richards, guitarist Mike DeWolf, bassist Phil Lipscomb and drummer Jarrod Montague) penned more than fifty songs for the album, twelve of which were recorded in a converted barn just a few minutes down the road from Richards’ home.

    “We made each of our previous albums in expensive studios and always had to keep one eye on the clock to finish on budget,” says Richards. “This time we got to record an album the way we did our early demos—relaxed, at our own pace, and allowed to indulge in our own guilty pleasures. It proved that you can actually go home again.”

    OUR LONG ROAD HOME reveals a revitalized band with a broadened range and deepened perspective. The album combines the feral ("Take It”) with the grandiose ("Footprints”) while exploring themes of loss ("Be The One"), liberation ("Run To") and the emotional carnage in-between. On tracks such as “Hand That Holds True” and smoldering lead single “Wherever I Stand,” Taproot blends iron-fisted backbeats, honeyed melodies and speaker-shattering guitars to thrilling effect. Additional highlights include the mile-high hook of “You’re Not Home Tonight” and the electrifying “It’s Natural,” which features guest vocalist Kristin Von Burnthal. “It’s the first time we’ve had someone else sing on one of our songs,” says Richards. “Tim heard the track and thought having another voice would add a nice color to the tone. He was right; Kristin sounds amazing.”

    The band started writing in late 2006 and continued on and off for nearly a year, working mostly in Richards’ basement. “It was a very organic process,” he says. “We didn’t go into it planning to write about specific subjects, but instead let the songs unfold naturally. I was away from my fiancée during the majority of the writing phase and I think some of the material comes across a little more emotional and lonesome-sounding because of that. But then, those are the kinds of songs that always seem the most relatable.”

    After recording three albums for a major label, OUR LONG ROAD HOME will be Taproot’s first as an indie band, and as Richards tells it, that suits them just fine. “Budget cuts and political shifts cost us our support system at the old place,” he says. “When our A&R guy lost his job, we knew it was time for a change. A few years ago, that might’ve been a scary thing, but it’s a brand-new world out there now for bands like us. We no longer have to rely on a big record company to make things happen and that’s exciting. We made this record without the pressure of having to write four smash hit singles hanging over our heads and that was liberating. “Of course,” he laughs, “there are a few songs on the album that could do really well on radio.”

    About the album title, guitarist Mike DeWolf says, “It’s based on the idea that everything you ever wanted is right inside of you, you just have to dig and find it,” adds guitarist Mike DeWolf. “It’s been a long road for us, but it was all right here all along. We just had to come home to find it.”

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