Interview | Todd Fink - The Giving Tree Band

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 the band's Hard Rock Cafe performance last week.

Michael Kaiz: It's been a while since we caught up over the winter and you guys 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 headliners this 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 excites you about going to Colorado?

TF: It's our first time (there) in a while. We haven't really toured through 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 lately.

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 up.

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