I have a soft spot for good folksy sounding music. I’ve never been sure how to classify this music – some of it is technically “country,”or “southern rock” or just “acoustic” – but it’s really the only thing I want to listen to when I’m back home in Georgia, driving with the windows down.
I was surprised after discovering Tea Leaf Green to find that they’re actually from San Francisco, and not borne out of slightly off-beat bars at big southern state schools. They’re a “jam band” channeling the spirit of the chillest bits of rock and roll from last century: think a little bit of Grateful Dead, a pinch of Allman Brothers, some Neil Young, and early Dylan.
They haven’t been doing a huge amount of new stuff, but I’ll take the chance that I’m not introducing Yalies to something they’ve heard before; for some reason people up north don’t seem terribly familiar with music you listen to when it’s sunny and warm.
If you’re a TLG virgin or just starting to taste the deliciously relaxed world of jam bands, try these out for starters:
The slightly cliché but heartwarming nonetheless
This song is absurdly high on my iTunes top 25 after only hearing about Tea Leaf Green a few weeks ago (funnily enough from my old high school teacher). But the reason it’s so addictive is the earnest chorus: “Wish I was innocent/wish I could believe in it” – just the right amount of melancholy and bittersweet with a wholesome acoustic sound to bounce against it. Even when Tea Leaf Green is sad, they won’t really make you sad.
The stoner’s delight
In this slightly more subdued track, vocalists Josh Clark, Trevor Garrod, and Reed Mathis practically whisper their way through the verses until they hit three-part harmony in the chorus. Lively, vibrant musical interludes percolate the space between the repeated phrases “yeah, I’m livin’ in between the earth and sky,” making it clear why they’re called a “jam band.” They could very well be improvising the whole time – they sound carefree and their sound is genuine. It’s the best of the soul of country or folk with damn good vocals to boot.
This track is completely lyric-free – instead it’s 4 minutes and 43 seconds of unstoppable guitar ripping, psychedelic layers of guitars and keyboards, and … is that a harmonica I spy? Lest you mistake Tea Leaf Green for a sissy band singing about their feelings, this track will remind you that they’re serious about being rock and roll artists.
Try Tea Leaf Green for something organic, something soulful, something that’ll brighten a drizzly New England day.