MP3 The Trance Plants - It´s Time
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13 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Roots Rock, REGGAE: Reggae rock
Show all album songs: It's Time Songs
In Portland, OR, 1996, anyone who knew about The Trance Plants thought they were definitely one of those "next big thing" bands. The group was founded by singer/songwriter and guitarist Pitt Reeves (then known as Geoff) after he left Tribe from the Oasis. Brian Gallo and Chris Lantaff (the Sheckies) were the percussion section, and Kevin Bayliss played flute, oboe, clarinet, and saxophone. Original bass player Dave King (yes, him, the guy who builds really awesome bass guitars) joined when he answered an ad, and was also the one who found the drummer, Matt Siroka, a recent Reed College graduate. The band was hot from the very beginning, and as the gig schedule got heavy, Dave realized he didn't have time for both playing bass and building basses. Thus, another bassist, Scott Taylor, was invited to see the band play, at the Egyptian Room, and after the show (opening act was Shredded Lettuce) he made his intention clear--the line-up was complete. From early 1995, through January 1996, The Trance Plants played almost every week, at venues like The Tugboat, Berbati's Pan, Laurelthirst Pub, The Caribou, Moody's, and Mt. Tabor Theatre, building a loyal following, and a reputation for amazing improvisational journeys intermixed with psychedelic reggae-rock-funk-raga songcraft. "George the Butcher" (a bluesy ska indictment of the original President Bush), "Don't Play it Safe", and their cover of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" were particular crowd-pleasers. Another was "Terwilliger Curves", a fantastic piece of original ska written by Kevin. Their journey reached perhaps its highest point when they appeared as the final act of the 1995 Harvest Jam (Silver Falls State Park, Silverton, OR) in September, where hundreds of festival-goers were treated to a mindblowing set--certain bandmates blew their own minds as well, including Pitt, who managed to re-arrange the setlist on the spot in order to play a few songs sitting down. The band was accompanied on percussion by about fifty hand drummers, as many audience-members had brought their own djembes and congas to the festival. Somewhere a videotape exists of this show (ask Stoneground Productions).
Other gigs followed, but the excessive burning of combustible plants and friction between bandmates began to wear away at the fabric of the band. After their run of playing a month of Sundays (5) at the now defunct Belmont's Inn in January 1996, the end was near. Pitt pulled the plug shortly thereafter. Not wanting to go down without a struggle, Pitt decided to carry on with the band's name, and with Kevin pledging support, he went into the studio to record a stack of new songs that hadn't yet made it into the Trance Plants' set. Through spring and summer of 1996, Pitt worked alone at Karl Brummer's Anonymous Noise studio in SE Portland, laying down the basic voice, guitar, bass, and Hammond organ tracks that would eventually serve as the foundation for the Trance Plants only CD release, It's Time. Fortuitously, Karl recommended Tim Ennis as a session drummer. Tim shared Pitt's love of early ska, rocksteady, reggae, and blues, and had an intuitive sense of what the music needed, as well as providing some excellent hand percussion tracks. It was also the beginning of a cherished friendship that continues to the present day. Other sessioneers were Kevin on flute, oboe, clarinet and saxaphone; Adam Weiner provided Indian Raga-derived percussion on two songs; and the great soul singer Sam Watson provided vocal harmonies on a few songs.
The album continued the melding of musical styles that defined the sound of the original band, but raised the compositional aspect to the next level. Also, the song "She Mrs. and He Mr. Too" and "All One Race" represented a break from the older dependence on reggae rhythms, moving towards a more modern rock sound, suggesting possible new directions the band might have gone had they stayed together. A new arrangement of "Don't Play It Safe" was the only piece of music from the original live sets that made it onto the album. Moonska Records agreed to distribute the CD, and in their catalog, described it as the first time anyone had combined reggae and ska with 70's-era prog-rock. John the Hobbit called it "indubitably funky". The album was also listed in The Church of Northwest Music's Baker's Dozen (KBOO 90.7 fm), with "Chant Earthlings" as the featured song. Another song, "It's Up to You" got radio airplay from Seattle (KEXP 90.3 fm) to WLIU fm in Long Island, NY. The ska tune "Technical Difficulties" became a favorite of one DJ in Long Island and had frequent play in the Pacific NW as well.
Despite the positive reactions to the CD upon its release, Pitt was unable to sustain the momentum. Due to a series of family health crises, and his own need for personal renewal, he retreated into a long period of inner reflection and writing dozens of new songs. The Trance Plants It's Time represents the culmination of an important phase in the creative development of an emerging musician.
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