Lightning in a Bottle
Sometimes a human resources director gets lucky. She knows the person across the desk will be a perfect fit for the job, and he is. Sometimes a fella looks across the room and knows in his heart that she’s the one for him, and they live happily ever after.
Ron Schieferdecker just knew that Rob Frommel would make a fine partner in music when Ron decided to form a new band about seven years ago, and Ron was right, too. Ron and Rob have been partners in Soul Root Band. Gifted with vocal talent, the two take turns at the mic while belting out Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy.” Rob shows due respect for Vaughan’s guitar skills while proving his own.
Ron and Rob had the same insight about making music two years later when they rounded out their sound after adding Bill Roe on bass and John Walker on drums to make Soul Root Band a four-man act. Still the band wasn’t complete until Theese Weber added her guitar, energy, and vocal range to the band two years ago.
Now a band of five, Soul Root Band’s founder thinks he has captured lightning in a bottle. He can’t remember a night when he didn’t look forward to playing with this band, and the other members feel the same. They love music, playing music, and performing music —although no one knows what their bandmates’ favorite genre or song is. They don’t ask, and they don’t need to know.
Soul Root Band plays music from the 1950s to the newest tunes released in 2020. Their playlist numbers at least 250 songs from the Blues, Rock, Country, and even Hip Hop genres. In fact, one of Ron’s favorite moments on any given night is when the band begins with one song, then while speaking and listening to each other through the music, transitions into another genre before landing on a different song altogether. “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” may morph into hip-hop riffs and close far from the Georgia Satellites’ 1980s rock. That final song is different every night, says Ron. That’s the pure joy of performing with this band time after time.
Because of the experience and musicianship of the five band members, Soul Root Band is anything but a cover band. They may play Top 40 hits from across the decades, but they add their own dimension and harmony to each hit. They play to make great music — to bring a song to life in the moment on stage, and they react to the audience, traveling from one time period to another smoothly, according to the tastes of audience members.
The band’s founder, Ron Schieferdecker, has performed with Two Buck Drunk, a band that opened for more than 15 national acts, including Head East and Blue Oyster Cult. He has also had the good fortune to open for Foghat, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Great White.
Bill Roe played with Nation, a band inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2019. Bill has also toured in the old Black Oak Arkansas bus with so many, many miles on it that on one leg of the tour, the band had to remove the “doghouse” so they could dump oil and transmission fluids in the engine as they hauled themselves down the road to the next gig.
Members of Soul Root Band have driven all the way to Grand Junction, Colorado to perform for a wedding. For weddings here or far, they can perform live or Ron can resurrect his many years as a DJ to help the happy couple celebrate. Members can be booked as a jazz duo or acoustic trio if four men and a woman isn’t what listeners have in mind. The band also plays fairs, festivals, corporate shows, and at bars. Soul Root Band is the house band for Fat Polly’s on Friday nights.
That Fat Polly’s engagement is three sets. Sometimes, the middle set is karaoke, allowing audience members to perform vocals with the band. Ron says he’s always impressed by the singing talents of the Lake crowd.
Soul Root Band is a member of the Missouri Arts Council. As a member, the council will help groups pay a portion of the band’s booking fee. Interested parties can apply.
Covid has affected the season. A day job required one member to sit out for several weeks. Another band member has temporarily suspended performance to protect vulnerable family members. Paul Kendrick has been sitting in with his bass guitar. Doyle Kempker, the band’s regular sound man, has also performed. He brings an impressive résumé with experience in Nashville’s session work. Ron’s son is building his musical résumé as Soul Root Band’s man behind the lights.
Ron Schieferdecker has been performing, singing, and playing for 25 years. He loves every one of them, but this band, Soul Root Band, is the one with lightning in a bottle. That feeling translates to the crowd. They are in on the fun, too.
Fat Polly’s in Lake Ozark, Fridays