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Taught to Be Proud
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Tea Leaf Green has grown in the space of a little over a year from a West Coast favorite on the "jamband" scene into a band with a loyal fanbase across the country. They have canvassed the country this year playing many festivals (including Bonnaroo),and just completed opening for Trey Anastasio on the first leg of his tour. Listening to this album, their fourth studio effort and first with a major distribution, it's no surprise why they have grown in popularity. Playing live they can stretch out, but you won't find any jams on this album, as the band wisely chose to feature their other strong point: Songwriting. It's what, IMHO, is going to set them apart from being your typical jam band. Musically, the songs on this album are all very solid, piano-driven pieces (mainly because the bulk of the songwriting comes from keyboard player Trevor Garrod). That doesn't mean that the other members don't get a chance to shine. Ben Chambers' bass line creates a soft bed for "Pretty Jane" to lie on, guitarist Josh Clark solo's tastefully thoughout, and Scotty Rager knows how to accent the songs with his drumming without showboating. Lyrically, the songs all deal with with seeking, finding and being free. "Garden III" opens the album in style, and sets the tone for what follows: "Darlin' let's let our hair grow long, we can work on a farm, maybe live on a mountain. Got an old hound dog who likes to run, he needs a lot of room and he hates to be chained up. Just like me, just like we are supposed to be". But the freedom being sung about doesn't always come easy, as songs like "The Rapture", "If It Wasn't For The Money", and the powerful "John Brown" attest. How does one resolve the idea of being free with the actual reality of living free? The answers lie at the beginning with "Taught To Be Proud", (a song that isn't about patriotism, but knowing that who you are is a product of how you were raised and understanding your past), and at the end with "Ride Together" a song about the joys of friendship, and the haunting closer, "Flippin' The Bird" which is about being brave enough to follow your own path.
Keep your eyes and ears on this band. A recent post on the band's website from a fan said this album is Tea Leaf Green's "American Beauty". Much like that Grateful Dead classic, "Taught To Be Proud" should open the band up to a broader audience and will probably be remembered as a key turning point in the band's career. I suspect that within a year they will be known outside of the jamband scene. This album should help that immensely.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2005
Unlike so many bands who tend to sound very similar live as they do on their studio albums, bands like Tea Leaf Green are where it's at for me. Some would call them a jamband, and I guess they are to a certain extent... but to me, if I had to label them, I'd say they're a sometimes folky, sometimes raucous rock band that know their instruments well enough to be able to jam with the best of them, while at the same time, not delving into the tiresome waters of musical masturbation that can leave you wondering when this 20 minute song is going to end. I wouldn't say they keep it short and sweet, but they keep it INTERESTING... you might find yourself in the middle of a 10 minute jam when seeing them live, but you don't realize it's gone on that long because you're wondering how the HELL they took it from the catchy song it was to this funk-infused rocker, and how are they going to bring it back again? For me, the live experience is paramount as their songs take on lives of their own.

When bands who are known mainly for their live performances go into the studio, however, it's a whole different ball game as every track is going to be crystalized in it's final state of production -- there are no excuses; no "off night"s, no technical problems, no reason why this CD shouldn't be everything they want it to be in representing who they are and what they're about. For many bands who shine live like TLG does, studio efforts can be a daunting task because they can't fall back on their virtuosity at extending a 5 minute song into a mind-boggling jam, they can't wow you with a seamless segue from one song to the next (or they could, but that's not conducive to you thinking of each song as it's own entity)... studio efforts mean that they need to rely principally on their songwriting and melody crafting. To Tea Leaf Green's credit, this is not even close to a challenge for them. As someone who's always focused on lyrics to convey just as much meaning and emotion as the music does, their songwriting abilities were one of the principal reasons that I was drawn to them.

This CD is a shining representation of why I, and thousands of others all over the country, love this band. I'm not going to give you a run down of my favorite lyrics (as someone already gave you a sampling in another review), but I am going to say that if you put as much emphasis on lyrics as you do on music, you need to hear this band and I can't think of a better representation (outside of seeing them live) than this CD. Buy it, you won't be disappointed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2005
A Tea Leaf Green performance is like an early work of abstract painting. The notes burst forth in bright colors and sharp edges, but behind the patterns is a solid base in representational art. The band's captivating power lies in the songs behind the jams. Lyrical and the instrumental pieces tell stories written in poetry both transcendental and down-to-earth.

Taught to be Proud showcases some of the band's best lyrical songwriting with themes that are in turn haunting, hopeful, resigned, resolved, steeped in history, and jubilantly present in the joys of the moment.

With this gorgeous album, the band presents an 11-song selection in a format inverted from the style of their live performances. Here, it is the jam that hides behind the song, still searing (5000 Acres), soaring (Morning Sun) or achingly beautiful (Flippin the Bird) but painted with a careful, controlled brushstroke.

Taught to be Proud is a classically styled album by a band that is more avant-garde than traditional. Buy it for a stunning snapshot of the band's artistry; see them live for full kaleidoscopic effect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2006
This is a mighty fine release! TLG is a band to keep an eye on.

My real rating for this is 3 1/2 stars, primarily because I think it is quite good...it's just not landmark (at least, not yet!). TLG are plenty talented and this is one release that I have been enjoying more with each repeated listen.

As other reviews have noted, there's a reasonable tendency to want to compare this to some of the classic albums of days gone by. I'll suggest it may be a little early in TLG's recorded history for that, but here's to hoping that they continue to live up to (and even to exceed) the promise that this release shows they have. I'll gladly give them credit for having come up with a cd good enough to have invited those comparisons!

If you're reading the reviews on this and don't have it yet, all I can tell you is that I bought it and having heard it, would absolutely buy it over again. Check it out!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tea Leaf Green is one of the fastest growing bands in the jam band scene and this album explains why. From the very first riff of the Garden III TLG lays down funky lines and fantastic songs (courtesy of keyboardist, singer and banjo player Trevor Garrod) that will blow you away. Though certainly a Jam band and by no means mainstream, their songs are incredibly catchy but remain very satisfying to listen to over and over again.The Rapture is an example of a song you'll immediately take a liking too, but has a quite original rhyme scheme and a unique cowboy funk rhythm.

This album is the culmination of a line of albums that just seem to keep better and better. Their last album, Living in Between is also a masterpiece worthy of pages of commendation. Also their live show is amazing and gets better every time I see them.

Check these guys out!!! They are the future of the jam band scene so get with it and buy this album!

P.S. They rep the bay!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2006
This album demonstrates everything that was good about 70s rock music - except it's from 2005, not 1975. What kind of diabolical time warp allows an album this stellar to be released 30 years too late? Who knows? Who cares? Call it fearful symmetry and just listen to this album.

For a jam band, there's not a lot of jamming here which - depending on your particular musical slant - might be a good thing. Or not. One thing's for certain, the musicianship is first-rate. Another thing's for certain, and it's that Taught to be Proud is chock full of memorable hooks and thoughtful melodies. At times they sound like the Jerry Garcia Band; at others, Paul Simon; and just when you think you've got them figured out, here comes what sounds like an amphetamine-dosed Pete Townshend guitar solo or power chord to push things over the edge - and all of that in the same song!
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on March 13, 2009
Out of all the Jam Bands, Tea Leaf Green has some of the most Garcia-Hunter flavored lyrics. Trevor Garrett has a very similar way of telling a story, very Americana. Taught to Be Proud is VERY SOLID album. From the lyrics to the playing, the whole album is great from start to end. This album has the ability for mass appeal. You don't have to know or like Jam Bands to enjoy this CD. As long as you appreciate "good" music and have "taste", you will find this in your cd player for a very long time.
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on February 6, 2007
I love this album. If you are a jam band fan you will love this CD/album. Some one I know thought it sounded a lot like the Grateful Dead when I played it for them. I bought this CD after seeing them for the first time live. They are a great band and are very "together" with their sound. Found this CD addictive and never seem to get tired of it. GREAT BUY!

I only put 4 out of 5 stars because they are still better live than the CD.
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on February 17, 2013
Really enjoy every song on this album. Great buy, definitely a must have for anyone who likes good music. Happy I bought it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2006
Without Apple's iTunes, I never would have found these guys. They are outstanding. Kind of in the same genre of String Cheese Incident or Perpetual Groove, but better!

This is a great album.
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