Mother Earth Revival
Right from the get-go, Mother Earth Revival, the debut album from The Greenlight Caravan, grabs you by the ears and never let's go! Two and a half years in the making, this fifty-seven minute hook-infested revival delivers all the fundamental elements of a great rock-n-roll recording. Laced with funky, fuzzed-out guitars, swaggering beats, innovative bass lines, grinding organ and soulful vocals, Mother Earth Revival is full of positive energy! The Greenlight Caravan, a quintet from Lafayette, Louisiana, bring a unique sound that is current, but still pay homage to their heroes of the 60's and 70's. The band lays it's foundation in the roots rock tradition similar to groups like The Black Crowes and Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, but is not easily pigeonholed. They are driven by a wide spectrum of influences and effortlessly drift through genres with a slight, southern jam-band charisma. The title track explodes with a full-on blast of Latin percussion that resurfaces throughout the album which, in many ways, fuses it. Profoundly inspired by The Beatles, each song demands it's own platform while seamlessly flowing in unison as a complete story. An ambiance of rich harmonies and background vocals surround like a warm blanket. The lyrics, written by vocalist/guitarist Mark Clark, often savor an optimism that seems to parade as a vehicle for peace. Gifted with a clever imagination, he writes of a host of themes weaving riddles into tall tales with wit and honesty. Lucid reveries, twisted metaphors, spiritual imageries and earthy narratives are all present and coalesce with a plausible rhetoric. His light sandpaper baritone is well balanced between finesse and an intense growl which creates a weathered, buoyant texture that stands out on tunes like Paracletos' Umbrella, Resolution and Idle Hands. Strongly influenced by the blues, lead and slide guitarist David Fontenot shines with his blended form of dynamics on extended sections, including the coda on Evolver. His gritty riffs, stinging bends and inventive playing are savvy accompaniments to this debut offering. He creates a successful marriage of tension, restraint and release that reverberates with layered harmonies and effects. On the low end, bassist Eric McClanahan demonstrates the necessity of groove, which proves to be the token pedestal for which this band is based. His inimitable style and crafty musicianship gushes through the veins of this compilation. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Eric adheres to the philosophy of serving the song, which is an exemplary formula in the realm of rock music today. He and drummer Tony Guilbeau mesh as a cohesive, vigorous rhythm section. Tony plays with an integral discipline and maturity. His sheer stamina, dexterity and enthusiasm are the pulse of these songs. While being no strangers to upbeat hard rockers like All These Midnight Colors and Song for Sister Green Eyes, The Greenlight Caravan also paint picturesque ballads of loss and redemption in songs such as Pocket Full of Regrets and Through the Blue. Keyboardist Eugene Botts adds a strong sense of melody and atmosphere with his graceful playing sensibilities. His smooth and subtle jazz leanings on piano intertwined with lively rhythms on electric piano, organ and clavinet compliment the guitars, bass and drums. There is a certain sincerity in these tunes that makes you feel right at home. Mellow acoustic guitars and harmonica find their way into songs like Spiders, Streams & Kerosene and Free, two countryesque numbers with a Dylan meets The Allman Brothers feel. A guest appearance by legendary saxophonist, Jon Smith of Edgar Winter's White Trash fame, adds some flavor to tracks Room # 909 and Lay Down Low. These among others showcase memorable choruses that you catch yourself humming for days and overflow with a "good times" vibe drenched in psychedelic funk. Earthy! Organic! A Spiritual Journey! Mother Earth Revival is definitely worth visiting! ~ Sidney Davis.