- Tracy Graham
- The Giving Tree Band
Appropriate for both casual listeners of folk and the most advanced of bluegrass aficionados, The Giving Tree Band’s soothing country music is drenched in charming authenticity. Hailing from Chicago, the most recent release by this eight-piece collective of dashing, young men maintains a light, effervescent sound from start to finish. Even with eight cooks in the kitchen, The Giving Tree Band remains an advocate of minimalism- never muddying the water with too much instrumental input, yet always retaining the signature sounds and instruments of their genre.
Just two songs in on “Caged Lion”, the listener notices an undeniable honesty in the lead vocals. Sounding as if the singing, weathered voice is the result of years of experience in all things rural, the band gains further country credibility with lines like, “Shut your mouth, don’t you gimmie no lip” and “Box me in like an old caged lion. I’ve got more fences than a county line”.
On “Which One” The Giving Tree Band makes an early attempt to win over hearts with a waltzy ballad that features delightful violin work and affectionate banjo accompaniment. Immediately following, “Eventually” contrasts with a slightly startling, percussive kick off that flows into one of the album’s most friendly, cheerful tracks that’s guaranteed to have you singing along before it concludes.
The Joke, The Threat, & The Obvious is a generous 15-track album that transports the listener to a simpler time and place. The songwriting has been best described as having “Dylanesque imagery, John Prine-like aphorisms, and Abbey Road-era Beatles overtone” (The Bluegrass Special Magazine) and Nashville Metromix recently reported that the Giving Tree Band is “the American answer to Mumford & Sons”.
This Christmas, support local music; give the gift of the Giving Tree Band to your favorite city-dweller-transplant whose heart still resides in the country.
Or just anyone who enjoys honest, benevolent music.