Words by: Michael Kaiz
Images by: Brittany Clemens
Last time we talked with The Giving Tree Band, I was invited into their communal home on the
outskirts of Chicago. It's been a busy spring and summer for the band so far highlighted
by several performances opening for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The bands got
along so well that The Giving Tree Band has been invited to perform at The Magnetic Zeros'
new festival experience, Big
Top. We had a chance to chat with founding member Todd Fink before
Hard Rock Cafe performance last week.
Michael Kaiz: It's been a while since we caught up over the winter and
have played a quite few festivals on the circuit this year.
Todd Fink: Yes, we've performed at a number of festivals this year. One
that I like
a lot is Romp Festival in Kentucky.
MK: That's the bluegrass festival, right?
TF: It's a bluegrass-based festival. Merle Haggard was one of the
year, (as were the) Carolina Chocolate Drops. It's a nice, eclectic kind of roots music
experience; Leftover Salmon was there (as well). That festival stands out in my mind as a
real fun one. In this festival you'd see a lot of the same instrumentation, and a lot of
bluegrass instrumentation, so there's that connection to bluegrass, but what people were
doing with those instruments varies greatly.
There was a group called The Deadly Gentlemen, they covered a couple of rap songs and they
(inserted) some hip-hop in their music, and they have just straight-ahead bluegrass
instrumentation - a five-piece bluegrass band. And of course The Carolina Chocolate Drops
are out of this world, you know?
MK: So, you guys are heading up to Colorado in a couple weeks. What
about going to Colorado?
TF: It's our first time (there) in a while. We haven't really toured
Colorado for about two years, so it feels like the first time. But this is the first time
where we really get a solid tour through there. We'll be out there for a good amount of
time and playing some great festivals. We're really excited about Four Corners Folk
Festival down in Pagosa Springs, which has John Hiatt and bands like Elephant Revival and
The Lone Bellow. The Lone Bellow is a fun group that seems to be creating a lot of buzz
But to be in the mountains is really what's exciting for us. I feel like that's where good
songs come from - they come from the mountains. So, we'll do a lot of writing and a lot of
playing and try to get some performances out in the mountains to share with people. Our
band in particular is really inspired out in nature. That's where we really get charged