McDowell Mountain Profile: Tea Leaf Green

tea leaf green

Third to take the stage at this Friday’s McDowell Mountain Music Festival is San Francisco jam band Tea Leaf Green. I was trying to get a chat lined up with the guys prior to the festival, but it looks doubtful considering they’re busy on the road, and I waited until only a week before the festival to get in touch with them. But look for something in the near future.

Anyhoo, the boys in Tea Leaf Green are made up of keyboardist/vocalist/ and main songwriter Trevor Garrod, guitarist/vocalist Josh Clark, bass man Ben Chambers, and drummer Scott Rager. They’ve been going strong in northern California since the late 90’s, and have really built up a loyal and growing fanbase through their live performances. They caught the attention of Phish’s Trey Anastasio, who brought them out on the road to open for him. They’ve since opened for Gov’t Mule, Dave Matthews Band, and Bruce Hornsby.

TLF has gone from playing the small clubs (including Tempe’s former dive bar with a heart, the Sail Inn) to selling out San Francisco’s Fillmore in a few short years. I’m waiting for my eMusic monthly downloads to roll over to pick up some of their stuff, but I did grab a few off their latest, Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, which was recorded live at Boulder, Colorado’s Fox Theater in 2006. The release also includes an accompanying DVD, which I’ll have to check out.

I’m really looking forward to checking them out on Friday. Here’s a kick ass introduction to Tea Leaf Green, a 10-minute journey through power jam goodness…

Tea Leaf GreenFranz Hanzerbeak (mp3)

Check out Tea Leaf Green on: their official web site | their MySpace | | YouTube

Buy Rock ‘n’ Roll Band:

Previous MMMF Profiles: Gelatinous Groove | 2 Tone Lizard Kings

McDowell Mountain Profile: 2 Tone Lizard Kings

2 Tone Lizard Kings

On to the second act of next Friday’s McDowell Mountain Music Festival. In my opinion, you just can’t go wrong with a good horn section. In the last year or so, I’ve had the chance to catch some mighty impressive horns: Springsteen and his Seeger Sessions Band, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. So I consider myself spoiled.

The 2 Tone Lizard Kings, a ska band local to the Phoenix area, is a 7-piece outfit made up of a three piece horn section: sax, trumpet, and trombone. I see they have some Specials songs in their repertoire (another band that I had the privilege of seeing a few years ago). Hard to be a ska cover band and not have some Specials on the set list, I suppose.

The Lizard Kings will be kicking off their set at 2:30 in the afternoon. Get their early to drink $2 Sierra Nevadas and catch some live ska action.

2 Tone Lizard Kings: Nite Klub (mp3) – Specials cover

Visit the 2 Tone Lizard Kings web site | MySpace

A handful of more mp3’s available here.

Current lineup:

Adam – Vox
Anthony – Trumpet
Grant – Bone
Mario – Drums
Jack McGroin – Sax
Pat McGroin – Bass
Oliver McGroin – Guitar

Previous Profile: Gelatinous Groove

McDowell Mountain Profile: Gelatinous Groove

gelatinous groove

So my girl and I will be spending next Friday, April 27th – all day, all night – at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival. From noon to 2pm, Sierra Nevada (the sponsor) is throwing a little kick off happy hour with $2 beers. It’s the perfect opportunity to get soused in the 85 degree heat before the first note is even played. Look out!

The music kicks off at 1:30, and goes through 11pm. The lineup for the day is:

Gelatinous Groove (1:30-2:15)
2 Tone Lizard Kings (2:30-3:15)
Tea Leaf Green (3:45-4:45)
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (5:15-6:30)
The Neville Brothers (7:00-8:30)
Bob Weir & Ratdog (9:00-11:00)

I thought I’d spend the next week or so profiling each band in Friday’s lineup. So we start tonight with the festival opener, local band Gelatinous Groove.

They came together in early 2004 in my former home of Tempe, where I spent six years living dangerously close to ASU hang-out Mill Avenue and great local bar Casey Moore’s. The boys in GG lay down the laid back jam-bandish vibe. Usually these types of bands thrive in the live environment, and I haven’t seen them yet, so it’s hard to judge them from the three tunes available on their MySpace page. I’ll give you some better perspective after the show next week.

The band is made up Mike Roberts (keys, vox), Matt Vestal (bass), Steve Allen (alive and well! on guitar and bass), Mike Hatley (guitar), and the lead vocalist drummer Cory Yardley. And you can’t forget Richard the head. They rave about Richard on their MySpace page, and have a song all about him. Richard apparently goes everywhere with them. I’ll make sure to get an in depth interview at the show. You can see Richard representin’ in the pic above.

Gelatinous Groove: Big D and the Darwin Theory (mp3)

Check out their MySpace here.

Join me at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Scottsdale, AZ.

An AZ Music Festival and some Keller Williams


The Phoenix area has its own cool little happening called the McDowell Mountain Music Festival. It’s coming up on April 27th and 28th at WestWorld in Scottsdale. I’m excited about the opening night, which features the Neville Brothers and Bob Weir’s band, Ratdog (among a lot of others, shown here). If you’re in the southwest, come on down.

I’ve seen both bands a few times each, but not since the mid 90’s (the best was seeing both at Laguna Seca Daze in Monterey, Calif.). So this is a must see for me, with both bands together in my own back yard. You gotta think there will be some sort of collaboration too. We’ll see. I’ll be there listening in, snapping photos, and maybe even chatting with some of the talent.

Keller Williams

Regarding Bob Weir, he makes an appearance on the latest release by guitar and loop whiz Keller Williams. Dream was released back on February 6th. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about Keller Williams until this album, so I have some catching up to do. But this CD has been on steady rotation since I got it. It’s his 11th release dating all the way back to 1994. Maybe a KW fan here can recommend their favorite, and steer me in the right direction for my next purchase (the boys at Hidden Track, maybe?).

Keller is known as a one-man jam band. At live shows, he jams by himself on mostly acoustic guitars (many of them 12 string) while looping the guitars and vocals with a Gibson Echoplex Delay. On Dream though, the concept was collaboration. Some of the folks helping out on this album are Bela Fleck, Charlie Hunter, John Scofield, Steve Kimock, Michael Franti, the String Cheese Incident, and Victor Wooten. The album is downright pleasing to the ears, folksy and relaxed. Highlights for me are the Kimock/Williams tune “Twinkle”- an instrumental with some tasty and wholly unique guitar licks and effects ; “Lil’ Sexy Blues”, which incorporates Indian instruments like tablas and the hansa veena (with special guests Samir Chatterjee and Sanjay Mishra) ; and a cool reggae tinged tune with Franti called “Ninja of Love”. Unique sounds are a theme throughout the album.

And that brings us back to Bobby Weir, who teams up with Keller on “Cadillac”. I never thought of Bob Weir as the kind of guy to sing lyrics like: “and Jesus be riding bitch seat / cuz he’s good like that”. But here he is, doing just that. Oh, and Bob’s dog, Jackson Hamlet Weir, contributes with some quality barking. Keller, by the way, will be on the road with Ratdog this summer.

Keller WilliamsCadillac (mp3)

Buy Dream.