Written by Fumo Verde
I kept hearing of this band, Tea Leaf Green, and those who know me said this was a band that I needed to hear. After six months, I was stoked to finally get a chance to listen some of this music, which people say reminds them of the Grateful Dead and the music from back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Raise Up the Tent holds true to what I’ve been told. Their weaving tales of honest adventures with amazing melodies re-opens my feelings of getting back on the open road and touring this great country of ours. This CD will definitely be in the mix when El Bicho and I hit the road again.
Since I drive a dirty black pick-up truck, the first track I hit up was “I’ve Got a Truck” and it soon became the song that I played first each time I started the disc. “I’ve got a truck with a trailer to haul/ and heart that can only be true/ I’ve scorned the love of a rich man’s daughter/ all for the love of you.” The guitar work on this track gives it a rock ‘n’ roll style of drive. The drums anchor the song while the slide guitar work touches on the blues, giving it a southern drawl, like a beautiful girl from Tennessee. This simple yet clear-cut song made me a TLG fan within the first few seconds, and the rest of Raise Up the Tent followed suit.
“Stick to the Shallows” opens with that similar slide guitar work in, but this song slows it down a bit as if we’re drifting along the mighty Mississippi. Genuine feelings come through in the lyrics. The tale reminded me of “Wharf Rat” by the Dead, not because it is a long jam, but the story of foreboding and warning reminds that life isn’t always filled with happy endings. It also reminds us to hold on to hope. As do the lyrics in “Keeping the Faith,” in which TLG lets us know no matter what keep the faith in whatever you believe in. “Slept Through Sunday” is another “keep the faith” song that has almost a gospel rock twang to it. Mixed in are bits of the blues and dramatic classical guitar solo that launches you into the heavens. “Slept Through Sunday/ found Jesus last Saturday night…” Great words blended with incredible musicianship gives this song a wonderful fun spirit with a lot of soul.
From the first song to last, Raise Up the Tent has held true to what all my friends have told me. Tea Leaf Green has that Dead sound in the vocals while the melodies redefine what bluegrass and Americana can sound like with solid melodies and riffs built around lyrics sincere and based on life. I hope this band will be around for a long time.
As I finish this review I’m listing to “Don’t Curse at the Night” because as they say “You can’t win that fight…” Okay, now this is my new favorite song off this CD. Pleasantly surprised and waiting to see Tea Leaf Green live; they can raise up a tent in my town anytime and I will pay to see them.