fPhoto of Freddie Cunningham

Freddie Cunningham - lead vocals

Born just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Freddie is the soul of Root Doctor. In a family where talent is plenty (his mother was the choir director at her church for years, his sister  Vanessa sings with the Earl Nelson Singers Company of Lansing,  MI,  and his brother Tim is an accomplished jazz saxophonist), Freddie was exposed to music from day one. His mother recalled her son singing before he could talk. By the age of five Freddie was a featured member of his church choir and wowed audiences even then.
 

After his family moved north to find work in the factories, he joined various pick up bands and even toured a bit with a gospel group. However, it wasn't until he became a formative member of Root Doctor in the early 90's that Freddie's star began to rise.
 

Freddie's dynamic and powerful voice has drawn comparisons to such greats as Joe Williams, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, and B.B. King.  

 

 

 Photo of James Williams

James Williams - bass & vocals

Among musicians and music lovers alike, it is often said that a musician's feel or groove can make or break a band. With that said, the Tower of Groove also known as James Williams is a powerhouse of feel and taste.
 

James has shared the stage with such heavyweights as Buddy Guy, Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, Koko Taylor, and Little Richard to name but a few. As the younger brother of Lamar Williams (bassist for The Allman Brothers Band 1972-1976, and Sea Level) and the son of Lemon M. Williams (a gospel radio regular), music was no stranger to James in his formative years.

in 5th grade, James was given his first musical opportunity on the drums. From there he became fixated on the bass. While his first band was a modest high school project, it didn't take long at all before he was touring with many respectable acts over the coming years. In the early 90's, James became a co-founding member of what is now Root Doctor. And today his playing is nothing less than the essential heartbeat of the formidable Root Doctor sound.
 

 Photo of Mike Skory

Mike Skory - Hammond organ, keys, & vocals

When he enters, Mike always lights up a room!  When it comes to music, it’s obvious there’s nothing he’d rather be doing than playing in front of a crowd.

Mike Skory is a Lansing area businessman who has also been a professional piano player for 35 years.  Skory was taken by the boogie-woogie bug early on, he was mesmerized by Albert Ammons, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim, and Pete Johnson.  The first two albums he ever bought were ‘Meet the Beatles’ and ‘The Natural & Soulful Blues’ by Champion Jack Dupree, and still owns the Dupree vinyl.
 

Mike Skory's keyboard playing has a relaxed intensity while bypassing the million-note-a-minute solo trap.  What a beautiful gospel feel he lays down. 

 

 Photo of Bill Malone

Bill Malone - guitar & vocals

Bill  was born and raised in the “Motor City”- Detroit, Michigan. It’s been more than 30 years since Bill received his first guitar and amp as a gift from his parents.  The very first song he learned was “Bumpin’ on Sunset” by Wes Montgomery.  By the age of 17, he was playing professionally.
 

Being self taught, he took a personal interest in Blues which came from listening to his father’s many early recordings of B. B. King.  This initiated Bill studying various blues guitar artists and developing a style of his own.  One day his cousin introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and it changed his life!  He became more serious and he began playing with local bands.
 

With his roots deeply steeped in Blues it is no wonder Bill was influenced by artists including Albert Collins, Elmore James, Albert King, B.B. King and T-Bone Walker to Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter.
Younger fans comment that he “shreds” on the guitar, and older folk say he “just plain rocks.”
 

Bill has shared the stage with Tab Benoit, Larry McCray and Coco Montoya.
As one of the newest additions to the band, his vocals and jammin’ guitar licks are a great addition to Root Doctor Featuring Freddie Cunningham. 


 

 Photo of Biob Gardner

Bobby Gardner - drums & vocals

Bobby Gardner hails from Westchester County, NY. Bobby started playing drums at the age of 13 and by age 15 was already gigging professionally.

In his early years, Bobby was drawn to blues, funk, and soul music. He loved listening to James Brown and Wilson Pickett and getting into the feel of the rhythm parts. In the 1970s he moved to Michigan and played with bands including Chopper and Blue Money.

Chopper was a legendary Lansing band known for its grooves. Musicians would leave Chopper gigs shaking their heads, like "what's the point." Bobby has played with Jeff Baldori, Buddy Miles, and Chuck Berry. Bobby is a particularly tasty drummer who still retains a "take no prisoners" mentality.