I'm always resistant to liking a band from the city I live in. It isn't that I'm afraid of becoming part of a local movement supporting a kick ass band. It isn't that I'm afraid of being late to the party. (I'm not Del bro.)
It's that every band I meet that lives around me, well, they break the Fuck up because either life or cocaine or their respective penises get in the way. Or they suck.
Fortunately The Giving Tree Band don't have any of the above issues, at least that I know of, because these titspitters have been around for about eight years already, and there's really no way they can break up because they have contractual agreements for shows into 2017. AND NO ONE BREAKS A CONTRACT BRO BRO. And they have beards.
But still, I was also hesitant about getting into these guys because they play music I don't often find myself bumping, and they're all pretty cute guys, which is also something I don't often find myself bumping (HIOOO!). Country and folk and Americana aren't genres of music I necessarily avoid, but I don't run straight into them in slow motion on a hillside dotted with wildflowers and shallow graves. I respect the piss out of a lot of the different aspects of country music, but I normally get caught up in the cheese factor and don't give shit the attention it would deserve if I wasn't such an asshole.
And then I kept seeing the name The Giving Tree Band fucking everywhere: in the emails from PR companies, from friends on Facebook, on signs plastered around the little small town, Yorkville, Illinois, where me and my kids and hot ass wife now live. Then, while helping two of my good friends out with their beer festival in Yorkville, I was personally introduced to some of the guys from the band, and I had the opportunity to see these neckbearded coozescooters play live.
Now? I'm a huge fucking fan of The Giving Tree Band now.
Their new album Vacilador, which is Albanian for "Greeks Smell of Sin", has been on the heavy (flow) rotation for the past five weeks. It's listed as a country album, and it might be, but it feels like I popped in my dad's copy of an original vinyl pressing of an album from The Band and they invited this guy named Phil up on stage and he's wearing a fucking wifebeater. I'm kidding, that's me dropping an inside joke before I even let you in on the inside joke.
The Giving Tree Band does have a shitload of The Band's sound engrained in the wooden instruments they tote (which they were each required to craft themselves while shirtless to gain entry into the 44 member band), as it all sounds so fucking huge and authentic, but there's this old man on a porch rocker smack dab in the middle of the sound. The old man, of course, isn't actually on the fucking stage you poop, I'm being metaphorically stoner descriptive. Having seen them murder a huge ass stage personally, I can attest to the fact that their music feels both like a hometown harvest moon festival and a night spent on the porch watching country traffic fly by on State Route 47.
It's both small town when you aren't necessarily from a small town and as comforting as driving home for a holiday, when all you can imagine is the smell of yer ma's cooking and your drunk aunt's breath after the seventh of as many more manhattans. The Giving Tree Band sound like a feeling when that feeling is familiar, but it's a feeling you don't get the pleasure of feeling all that often because feeling familiar isn't something you can feel while you're inside of what you're familiar feeling. If you don't understand that, kick yourself in the testicles. You too ma.
The instrumentation in The Giving Tree Band is perhaps some of the most inspirationally amazing and erotic fingering I've ever heard, each of the 73 members sounding all at once, individually and together, larger than life. There are moments on Vacilador where I'm overfuckingcome by the sheer insanity and beauty these bearded bastards create. More specifically, the fiddle solo on Cold Cold Rain, the guitar solo on River King, and the vocals coming out of the guitar work and then the piano into the guitar on Silent Man; if I were a single man, I'd toss my skivvies at these cockwranglers immediately.
If I had to pick a favorite member of the band, without shitting on any of the other members of course, I would have to pick Phil. Phil wears wifebeaters. Phil plays fiddle and guitar. And by saying he plays them, I don't mean he just plays them. I mean Phil fucking murders the fiddle in a way that has seriously caused me to play air fiddle solos in my truck while driving down the road feelin' bad. When someone catches me playing my air fiddle, I hold my air horsehair bow a little different so as to allow me to continue Phil-dling and flick off the intruder. Now when it comes to the guitar, Phil doesn't just wail in the old school definition of wail, he does, but this dude blew me away with his chicken picking when I caught them live. And by blew me away, I seriously mean my jaw went slack and I had fucking chicken pimples all over my fucking body. He is an absolute beast on the strings and he was the only artist that entire weekend that I walked straight up to and offered a handjob for being so amazingly sensual and talented.
He declined, but he's just one to court a fella first.
I don't know how I've gone this long in life without having a favorite local country band made up of 62 bearded men all wearing clothes three sizes too small, but I've arrived here through a series of experiences and pure chance, and I'm not leaving.
I love you Phil.