Hunter Root’s third studio album, Mimicking the Sun like Dandelions, released in the midst of chaos only thought possible in a Stephen King novel. Instability and uncertainty created a runaway train of change that jerked us all out of our comfort zones. Sometimes, we ache for a distraction; other times we want to face it, we want to feel it, and we want to know that someone else is feeling it, too. Mimicking the Sun like Dandelions lets us pull apart all of those feels. With his word weaving, Root lets us know we are not alone.
Root spent a year and a half gathering the ten-track collection of acoustic rock. Every tone was solely produced by Root: each note sung, pick of guitar, strum of mandolin, shake of the Cajon, and breath into the harmonica. Even the mixing and production was forged by Root.
Root doesn’t hesitate to peel back very raw layers and give listeners all of himself. It’s displayed both physically in his harrowing vocals and metaphorically in lyrical content. Stretching into corners of the emotional mind, Root covers lighter subjects like his long-time relationship in “Favorite Friend” to tricky conversations such as anxiety, restlessness, and emotional projection in “Homestead,” family dynamics in “Family Tree,” and substance use “Norma Jean.” It’s without a doubt that Root writes his truth, a kind of truth that some people can spend all their lives trying to avoid confronting, while others find their own honesty in his.
“As a youngin’, I was heavily inspired to sing and write by Jim Morrison. His lyrics are very open-ended and mystic, and I thought that was incredibly charming,” Root said. “Over the years, I started to depart from that style and head towards more grounded and relatable lyrical content. I want to connect with people, put into words what it feels like being human, and convey all the thoughts and emotions that come with it. That being said, I still have mystic elements in my writing and I adore it, just not for every line.”
If anyone is familiar with Root, it is probably through his role in the Lancaster-local band with more than a little of a following, Medusa’s Disco. Through his extensive time and tours with Medusa’s, a band that is still a keystone in the Central PA music scene, Root was able to draw inspiration from his local network.
“I played tons of acoustic shows with The Stonewall Vessels frontman, Darrion Washington. I think us doing that so much really pushed me into pursuing a more acoustic-based sound. On guitar, I’ve been heavily inspired by Ryan Walsh from Mojo Bozo’s Electric Circus and Billy Strings, as of late (whom I have not played with). On top of that, Tim Beavers from People’s Blues of Richmond was a big lyrical influence,” Root said.
Alongside his bandmates, Root’s haunting yet warm vocals complement the fast-paced psychedelic rock and typical on-stage chaos. That element is isolated under the spotlight in Mimicking the Sun like Dandelions. The vocal duality of curiosity and comfort weaves into a chilling acoustic experience that highlights the poetry of Root’s songwriting.
You can listen to Mimicking the Sun like Dandelions on Apple Music, Spotify, and Bandcamp. Catch Root’s live stream with Covert Concert Series September 3, 2020.