The Giving Tree Band
"A traveling band must be able to channel their hometown and aura into a space. It's sometimes difficult to conjure the backroads and nature so often sung about in Americana music. The Giving Tree Band has mastered this quintessential aspect of performing live. They are able to accomplish what great writers have long proven; it is possible, with the right story, to transport whole audiences to new worlds." Appoet.org
It is said that in any endeavor, the journey is the true reward. For this band, the outlook matters more than the outcome. Yet, even with this policy, The Giving Tree Band has been steadily making their way towards the head of a classy class of young American songwriters and performers and consistently winning over each scene in the school. People everywhere are discovering The Giving Tree Band and when they do, a bond is established.
While the GTB was on tour last summer with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and again at ESMZ's first Big Top Festival in Los Angeles, alternative and indie rock audiences were raptured into what has been described by Relix Magazine as the "folksy bliss of a group playing as one." They enchanted crowds with their ability to reference classic Rock 'N Roll themes and drive them to a moxie that's "new and refreshing" (Paste Magazine).
Deadheads and jam fans, young and old, were introduced to The Giving Tree Band thanks to their rendition of the Grateful Dead's "Brown-Eyed Women." It was praised by the Dead organization as "beautifully executed on all counts" and featured on the Grateful Dead official sites and social media networks. The GTB's video for the song was viewed nationwide during the Dead's annual "Meetup At The Movies," and the song itself was featured on the GTB's recent critically-acclaimed studio release, Vacilador, and ranked #1 on The Austin Chronicle's "Best Songs Of 2012" list. Anyone familiar with the Dead community knows that this bond will last many more moons....
Country folks (especially those who appreciate the crossover stylings of The Byrds, Grams Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers, The Eagles, or Neil Young) caught the Illinois prairie wind when the band's third studio album The Joke, The Threat And The Obvious climbed into the Top 40 of the Americana Airplay Chart (alongside releases from Willie Nelson andTom Petty) and other notable roots radio reports in 2010.
In addition to appearances at major music festivals like SXSW and Wakarusa, the GTB's high-energy standout performances received raving ovation at folk and roots fests such as Philly Folk Fest, and ROMP in Kentucky where the band performed through the night and into the dawn. At Four Corners Folk Fest in Colorado, newspapers accurately predicted attendees would come to see John Hiatt and leave talking about The Giving Tree Band. In their home stomping grounds of Illinois, the GTB perform annually at the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Fest and Summer Camp Music Festival supporting living legends like Bela Fleck, David Grisman, and Del McCoury, as well as Billboard 200 recording artists, The Avett Brothers.
But there's a modern pop element too. Metromix called The Giving Tree Band "the American answer to Mumford And Sons" and Relix Magazine featured the band as one of their monthly artists "On The Verge" while multiple nods have come from Paste Magazine, including a #9 rank on their list of "13 Emerging Bands For 2013."
Yet the Illinois group isn't new, and they're definitely not a Dead cover band nor a bluegrass band. Formed in 2004 by brothers E and Todd Fink, The Austin Chronicle explains the band's sound as bringing to mind "Seventies American music with The Band and the Dead as obvious touchstones, plus the kind of country/almost-bluegrass of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and the New Riders of the Purple Sage." When off the road, the members of GTB all reside at Crooked Creek - their home and studio near Chicago named after the street where it sits. There, they have meticulously honed their craft, devoting thousands of hours to practice, experimentation, and the development of a sound greater than the sum of its parts.
The Brothers Fink (E - guitar and lead vocals and Todd - banjo and vocals) are joined by longtime friend Norm Norman, on mandolin, piano, and high harmonies, whose playing is best described as "alternating between smooth piano lines and incomprehensibly prairie fire-fast mandolin solos" (Pop'stache); and the long-haired rhythm section of college roommates, Z and Charlie Karls, on drums and bass, respectively.
San Francisco rock quintet New Monsoon is the collaborative vehicle for the vocal and instrumental prowess of founding members Bo Carper (acoustic guitar and banjo), Jeff Miller (electric guitar) and Phil Ferlino (keys). Now well into its second decade of national touring, the band also features the muscular rhythm section of Marshall Harrell (electric bass) and Michael Pinkham (drums). New Monsoon’s exhilarating blend of acoustic and electric instrumentation shines in an irresistible blend of sophisticated song craft, inventive musical exploration and down home rock-n-roll. “They have a collective power that comes off as a real unified force on stage. It’s not just a band, you know? It’s something transcendental.” – Michael Shrieve (original drummer, Santana) New Monsoon has shared the stage with heavyweight guests Mike Stern, the late, great Martin Fierro (Zero, Legion of Mary), Steve Kimock, and Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth), to name a few.They’ve toured with String Cheese Incident, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey’s McGee (Big Summer Classic Tour), supported Moe, The Wailers, etc and are a featured headliner in venues such as the Fillmore (SF), Gothic Theater (Denver), and the Warehouse (Houston). They are also a perennial favorite of the festival circuit including marquee festivals like Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Langerado, High Sierra, Telluride Bluegrass, Austin City Limits and many others. The band’s quality associations continue with their recorded output. 2007?s V was produced by Grateful Dead sound engineer John Cutler, and 2005?s The Sound was helmed by original Santana percussionist Michael Shrieve and Paul Kimble (Grant Lee Buffalo, Luna). The latest album, New Monsoon Live, a double-cd set, features tunes from all eras of the band’s deep catalog. Miller and Ferlino have also recently formed a supergroup collective, The Contribution, along with Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident) Matt Butler (Everyone Orchestra) and Sheryl Renee (Black Swan Singers). SCI Fidelity Records released Which Way World, The Contribution’s inaugural album, in 2010. Miller released his first solo album, Ancient Wisdom, in 2011. Carper performs as a solo act and as half of the duo, Bo & Lebo, with Dan Lebowitz of ALO.