Fresh off of a summer tour capped by an appearance at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Giving Tree Band’s third release is a blend of folk, bluegrass and rootsy Americana, and their first with a drummer. Recorded in the home where the majority of the eight piece combo lives, the songs contain a definite DIY feel that helps generate the homemade but ultimately polished sound.
The obvious star of the record is its single, “Circles,” with its banjo-picked backbeat, climactic chorus and barroom glass-clinking vibe. Other standouts include “Moonlight Lady” and “Caged Lion,” both reminiscent of the Holy Modal Rounders’ twang, and “Run Dogs Run,” a toe-tapper with rich vocal and instrumental orchestrations.
The Giving Tree Band has evidently settled into its skin with this record, putting forth what the band calls its “strongest songcraft to date.” It’s not hard to see the result. The album conjures up feelings of nostalgia for yesterday, while seamlessly integrating itself into the modern folk landscape, rendering itself timeless and proving that it’s still possible to make a great record with soul.
—Allison Johnelle Boron