CD Review: Giving Tree Band organic inside and out

By Jim Hagerty

Staff Writer

For some artists, the dream of breaking into the world of pop trends, catchy hooks and arena shows is always alive. For others, they couldn’t be enough removed from that world.

The Yorkville, Ill.-based Giving Tree Band and its eclectic blend of rock, folk and bluegrass, will likely not find its way to the pop charts. It does, however, possess the making of a group with a storied future ahead of it, despite what is going on in pop culture land.

The band’s third effort (second full-length CD), Great Possessions is a neo-bluegrass head-turner with touches of Celtic and traditional folk arrangements thrown in for good measure. As organic as its cover and CD itself (both made from natural carbon materials), the music stays true to the textbook sounds that have allowed bluegrass to live through times where its roots fell prey to pop-country.

With 18 tracks, Great Possessions is worth more than just a listen. Even those who can do without the fast “boom-chicka” changes of bluegrass will appreciate the genius behind using the genre as a springboard to keep its sound foundationally intact, all while creating a new art with a life of its own.

Each of the band’s seven members possesses polished chops, and a studio wizardry flows throughout the project. Multi-tracked violins, straight-ahead mandolin and banjos, and vocals caught somewhere between Bill Monroe and Bob Dylan, hit at must-have, especially for the new breed of folk lovers.

The album was recorded using 100 percent solar energy at Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wis. More information about The Giving Tree Band can be found at and

Great Possessions is available online and at The Rock River Times.

From the September 9-15, 2009 issue

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