The Giving Tree Band

The Giving Tree Band

Carve a band out of stone and try to see a treasure in everyone
"A traveling band must be able to channel their hometown and aura into a space. It’s sometimes
difficult to conjure the backroads and nature so often sung about in Americana music. The Giving Tree
Band has mastered this quintessential aspect of performing live. They are able to accomplish what
great writers have long proven; it is possible, with the right story, to transport whole audiences to new
It is said that in any endeavor, the journey is the true reward. For this band, the outlook matters more
than the outcome. Yet, even with this policy, The Giving Tree Band has been steadily making their way
towards the head of a classy class of young American songwriters and performers and consistently
winning over each scene in the school. It seems that people everywhere are hearing and talking
about them, and the rumors are true. No matter how they discover The Giving Tree Band, the
moment they do, a bond is established.
While the GTB was on tour this summer with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and again at
ESMZ's first Big Top Festival in Los Angeles, alternative and indie rock audiences were enthralled with
the band and raptured into what has been described by Relix Magazineas the "folksy bliss of a group
playing as one." They enchanted crowds with their ability to reference classic, even timeless Rock ‘N
Roll themes and drive them to a novel moxie never before heard.
Deadheads and jam lovers, young and old, were introduced to The Giving Tree Band thanks to last
year's sterling rendition of the Grateful Dead's "Brown-Eyed Women." GTB's take on this classic was
praised by the Dead organization as "beautifully executed on all counts" and featured on the Grateful
Dead official sites and social media networks. The GTB's video for the song was viewed nationwide
during the Dead's annual "Meetup At The Movies," and the song itself was featured on the GTB's
recent critically-acclaimed studio release, Vacilador , and ranked #1 on The Austin Chronicle's "Best
Songs Of 2012" list. Anyone familiar with the Dead community knows that this bond will last many
more moons....
Country folks (especially those who appreciate the crossover style of The Byrds, Gram Parsons/Flying
Burrito Brothers, The Eagles, or Neil Young) caught the Illinois prairie wind when The Giving Tree
Band's third studio album The Joke, The Threat And The Obvious climbed into the Top 40 of the
Americana Airplay Chart and other notable roots radio reports in 2010.
In addition to appearances at major music festivals like SXSW and Wakarusa, the GTB's high-energy
standout performances resonated with aficionados. These jaw-dropping exploits were received with
raving ovation at folk and roots fests across the country including Philly Folk Fest, and ROMP in
Kentucky where the band played its longest set to date consisting of 4+ hours--keeping the crowd
hootin’ and hollerin’ all the way into the first rays of the morning sun. At Four Corners Folk Fest in
Colorado, newspapers accurately predicted attendees would come to see John Hiatt and leave talking
about The Giving Tree Band. In their home stomping grounds of Illinois, the GTB perform annually at
the Chicago Bluegrass And Blues Fest and Summer Camp Music Festival supporting living legends like
Bela Fleck, David Grisman and Del McCoury, as well as Billboard 200 recording artists, The Avett
But there's a modern pop element too. Metromixcalled The Giving Tree Band "the American answer
to Mumford And Sons" and Relix Magazine featured the band as one of their monthly artists "On The
Verge" while multiple nods have come from Paste Magazine, including a #9 rank on their list of "13
Emerging Bands For 2013."
Yet the Illinois septet isn't new, and they're definitely not a Dead cover band nor a bluegrass band.
Formed in 2004 by brothers E and Todd Fink, The Austin Chronicle explains the band's sound as
bringing to mind "Seventies American music with The Band and the Dead as obvious touchstones, plus
the kind of country/almost-bluegrass of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and the New Riders of the
Purple Sage." When not touring coast to coast, the members of GTB all reside at Crooked Creek- their
home and studio named after the street where it sits. There, they have meticulously honed their
craft, devoting thousands of hours to practice, experimentation, and the development of a sound
greater than the sum of its parts.
The Brothers Fink (E - guitar and lead vocals and Todd - banjo and vocals) are joined by Phil "Sky"
Roach (a highly skilled instrumentalist and former member of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra) on
violin, electric guitar, and vocals; Woody Woods (recruited to the band from a local coffeehouse while
still a teenager) on slide guitar, lap steel, pedal steel, and vocals; longtime friend Norm Norman, on
mandolin, piano, and high harmonies, whose playing is best described as "alternating between
smooth piano lines and incomprehensibly prairie fire-fast mandolin solos" (Pop'stache); and the
cheerful long-haired rhythm section formed by college roommates, Z and Charlie Karls, on drums and
bass, respectively.
Jambase reports, "The Giving Tree Band is a rare grouping of individuals who refuse to be kept from
their goals. Every aspect of their lives is innately tuned, like the tip of a spear, carving a clear path and
meeting little resistance on the air. All the effort, the life force of the band, comes to fruition on the
stage. When they're diving around like ninjas in a kung fu film while playing delicately crafted musical
treasures, there is a lifetime of work that is condensed into those fleeting moments. The professional
integrity that The Giving Tree Band practices is unequaled, and it is firmly rooted in a house at the end
of Crooked Creek Drive."
Daytrotterdescribes the intensity of the GTB lifestyle as "doing everything one can not to lose sight of
the bigger picture of development, of becoming or staying the gold hearted man." goes
futher, "The members of the band enjoy a disciplined yet emancipating lifestyle. They live in the same
house, play music together and maintain the same vegetarian diet. It's a seemingly monastic life, and
there is a certain spirituality that surrounds them." For the band, nothing's too much and everything's
not enough. At the same time, it's just their life, and it's all in a day's work.
Perhaps this gives insight into the band's name. Many assume that it is inspired by the not-for-kidsonly book implying that sacrifice is the price of greatness and, more importantly, that giving of one's
self leads to happiness. It is worth noting that the author, Shel Silverstein, also wrote "A Boy Named
Sue" for Johnny Cash, other songs for Waylon Jennings and nearly all the tunes of Dr. Hook and the
Electric Medicine Show. Those artists, along with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, were largely
responsible for the outlaw country movement that has been so influential to the band and E Fink, in
particular, as a songwriter.
“These rockers cultivate a sound that mirrors their namesake, with soulful vocals and heartfelt
musicianship that hearkens back to classic American Folk. In a genre where honesty is key, The Giving
Tree Band gives their audiences their all,” writes CityBeat Cincinnati. The Giving Tree Band is not
reinventing but simply reuniting rock and roll. With their down-home style, they emphasize the virtue
in their fierce virtuosity - playing each note with integrity, each part with humility, each song with
honesty, and each show with gratitude. The most common word among all who share the experience
is "undeniable" in regards to the chemistry on stage, the energy in the room, and the feeling that
something special is happening. With a rare combination of stirring musicianship and exemplary
songwriting, the GTB wheel is in full spin, and like their heroes before them, it's also on fire.

Amy Benton

so…i learned how to cook this Thanksgiving (good-a-time-as-any, right?) other randomness: i’ve told Little Jimmy Dickens a joke, held a harmonica while someone else played it, and learned that most things can be fixed with a “jiggle and duct tape.” i loooove singing, playing, and writing! I consider some of my career highlights to be: opening for Aaron Tippin, opening for David Lee Murphy, playing at the New Salem Country Opry, winning the Christian County Fair Talent Competition and coming in 2nd in state, being ISU Idol, playing honky tonks in Nashville, being a guest on WSM’s “Coffee, Country, and Cody,” having a few independent song cuts, recording with Pat Flynn, opening for Greg Barnhill and Billy Dean, and most recently, opening for Florida Georgia Line! I love me some Joe Walsh, Darrell Scott, Eric Church, Merle Haggard, June Carter Cash, and am pretty sure that one day I want to name my kids Alabama, Bee, Love, and Nevada. I come from a “long line of love” and laughter and dancing and storytelling-My grandma always said she met my grandpa at a church dance, and my grandpa always said he met Grandma at the Derby Tavern…now you know a little bit more about me because you know where i came from.

$7.00 - $10.00


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Donnie's Homespun - Springfield


The Giving Tree Band with Amy Benton

Friday, August 2 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Donnie's Homespun - Springfield