Greenlight Caravan
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Greenlight Caravan

Lafayette, Louisiana, United States | SELF

Lafayette, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Band Rock Funk

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"Muse's Muse"

CD REVIEW: Greenlight Caravan - Mother Earth Revival
By Chip Withrow - 12/31/2008 - 01:22 PM EST
Artist: Band: Greenlight Caravan
Album: Mother Earth Revivial
Label: Smashing Grass Records
Website: http://www.myspace.com/greenlightcaravan
Genre: Rock/Soul/Funk
Sounds Like: Black Crowes, Stone Temple Pilots, Tower of Power
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Room 909, All These Midnight Colors, Pocket Full of Regrets, Spiders Streams and Kerosene
CD Review: For my last review of the year, I am writing about perhaps the hardest rockin’ album I heard in 2008.
Combining Black Crowes’ soulful swagger with the metallic crunch of Stone Temple Pilots and the jazz-funk of Tower of Power, Greenlight Caravan has crafted a uniquely retro-but-fresh hybrid that fits right into 2009.
The opening title cut percolates with a percussion intro and then explodes into a wake-up call reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane’s “Volunteers.” Next is “Room 909,” a monstrous cut peppered with horns, punchy organ, and John David Fontenot’s stinging lead guitar.
“Evolver” slinkily waxes and wanes between lush layers of guitars and Mark Clark’s big, bluesy vocalizing. It ends in another searing Fontenot solo – my only qualm is that I wish Eugene Botts’ Hammond organ were louder in the mix on the outro.
There is plenty of keyboard on the smoking rocker “All These Midnight Colors” – pounding Jerry Lee Lewis piano licks abound here, and the background vocals are cool, too.
On a set full of great cuts, “Pocket Full of Regrets” is a standout. It shows the acoustic softer side of Clark’s songwriting (he penned or co-authored every song) and builds into a bold chorus. The lyrics are evocative, and musical psychedelia also rears its trippy head here.
“Resolution” showcases more nifty guitar work – funky rhythm and soaring leads. (Again, the organ could be louder, but I’m a Hammond nut.) “Lay Down Low” is danceable, horn-heavy fun with vocals that veer between almost-rap and falsetto sing-along.
“Idle Hands” is a quirky twist in the road – bouncy reggae-fied jazz-blues. Then comes another monstrous slab of soulful rock in “Song For Sister Green Eyes,” which features a deep-groove interlude.
“Spiders, Streams and Kerosene” (great title, isn’t it?) has a jangly Allman Brothers-style vibe. It’s propulsive, and the piano is prominent. Another of my favorites. After a great song like “Spiders,” closing the CD with two mellow tunes seems anti-climactic, but they are both pretty. “Free” is stripped down and melodic, and “Through the Blue” is a laid-back take on the rootsy feel of “Spiders.”
As I’ve stated in other reviews, one of the highest compliments I will pay an act is that I really want to see and hear them perform. Every song on Mother Earth Revival is a winner, and I would love to watch and listen to Greenlight Caravan bring them to life onstage.
- Chip Withrow


"Muse's Muse"

CD REVIEW: Greenlight Caravan - Mother Earth Revival
By Don Sechelski - 12/23/2008 - 09:49 PM EST - http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-greenlight-mother.html
Artist: Band: Greenlight Caravan
Album: Mother Earth Revival
Label: Smashing Grass Records
Genre: Guitar Funk Rock
Sounds Like: Little Feat, Eagles, Spin Doctors
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Paracleto's Umbrella, Pocket Full of Regrets, Lay Down Low
CD Review:
Greenlight Caravan is a hard driving, funky rock band from Lafayette, Louisiana. Their new release, Mother Earth Revival is a great collection of guitar based, groove driven songs. Mark Clark sings lead vocal and plays a variety of guitars, synths, and percussion. John David Fontenot plays a wicked lead guitar, provides background vocals, and a variety of other percussion. Eric McClanahan plays bass, background vocals, sitar, and percussion. Eugene Botts plays a variety of keyboards and sitar, while Mark Anthony Guilbeau shares drumming duties with Eric Pierret and Mike Burch. Mark Clark is listed as the primary songwriter but several the band members have songwriting credits.
One of my favorite cuts on the CD was Paracleto's Umbrella. Fontenot lays down a powerful guitar riff before the band falls into a throbbing, churning rhythm that's bound to get the dancers up. This is groove music reminiscent of the late 60's band Little Feat. The opening percussion of Mother Earth Revival takes me back to the many hippie festivals I've attended. I'm sure these guys must rock a live show.
Evolver is a slower moving ballad encouraging a friend who is making a recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Clark's vocal and Fontenot's guitar do a great job of avoiding the cliché pitfalls and make the song honest and moving. Pocket Full of Regrets is another slower tune that highlights Clark's soulful vocal. Resolution is a funky number in the style of classic guitar rock from the Doobie Brothers. Lay Down Low gets downright funky with some great vocals and a popping hot horn arrangement courtesy of guest, Jon Smith,formerly of Edgar Winter's White Trash. Idle Hands boasts a tasty lead guitar over a rockabilly arrangement for a nice change of pace. Some soulful keyboard work from Botts sweetens the mix.
Mother Earth Revival is a revival of some great rock traditions, especially the great mix of funk and guitar rock. If you like funky guitar rock that stands out from the crowd, check out Greenlight Caravan's CD Mother Earth Revival.
- Don Sechelski


"Where Y' At Magazine - New Orleans, LA"

Greenlight Caravan
Mother Earth Revival
Smashing Grass Records/Atomic Groove Tunes, BMI

Get ready for a revolutionary musical journey as Greenlight Caravan takes the listener on an unforgettable trip, blending funk and soulful Southern guitar rock infused with earthy licks into a psychedelic world of groove-filled jams. Mother Earth Revival brings out deep musical influences from the 60s and 70s that can easily be heard throughout the record, while also gently caressing some special Southern roots. In turn, the quintet from Lafayette, Louisiana has created some deep original musical conversations in each composition that firmly stand high in quality and technique, with each musical component complementing the other one perfectly. This can often be heard in the combination of congas, horns, slide guitar, Hammond organ and even a sitar that works and truly makes each song come alive into its own identity. “Resolution,” “Lay Down Low,” and “Idle Hands” easily demonstrates this unique blending technique of layering several instruments together, which makes the song and this band sound fresh and new while still having this vintage-like feel. This band is driven and it can easily be heard from the start on the title track, “Mother Earth Revival,” as they grab the listener and willingly hijack them on the journey together. Best advice--simply sit back, enjoy the magical musical ride and leave the rest to the Greenlight Caravan. Can’t wait to see these guys live!

~Sheri McKee
Where Y’At Magazine
New Orleans, Louisiana
- Sheri McKee


"The Independent"

TRAIN ROLLS ON
The Blowtard Whistle ceases to trumpet its hideous alarm when the Allman funk and jamotronic sounds of Greenlight Caravan come out of the speakers. In fact, it whimpers in morbid silence and awe at the gymnastic chops and gravy train ramming grooves of these Lafayette dude rockers. Like I said, its half jam, half rock, half funk, half earth dude (as can be inferred from the title of the CD, Mother Earth Revival). That’s too many halves and not enough have nots, but who’s counting when you get 14 pretty killer tunes of local rock and roll, played well and lightly seared? The album even features guest appearances from Joe Smith of Edgar Winter’s White Trash band — proudly stated in bold in the liner notes. Do it. Buy one at CDbaby.com or possibly Barnes & Noble. — Dege Legg
- Dege Legg


"Offbeat Magazine"

Though they seem to claim every rock-funk group in history as influences, this jam band from Lafayette actually come down philosophically and musically squarely between the snide earth-mama misogyny of the Black Crowes and the sexy-yet-socially-aware street lamentations of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, both circa Bill Clinton’s first administration. The world is in peril, this album seems to say, but it’s oh so funky.

Nothing new here, then. But sincerity, like personality, goes a long way, and in this crumbling century, so does hard work. Greenlight Caravan, like all good jam bands, gets most of its point across in the groove, and the clockwork combo of Eric McClanahan (bass) and Mark Anthony Guilbeau (drums) is a breath of fresh air in a genre where sloppiness has become an unfortunate badge of authenticity. Other good news: John David Fontenot’s psych-drenched guitar leads are rich with history (the best cut here, “Paracletos’ Umbrella,” sounds like Ernie Isley attacking “American Woman”).

The worst thing about Mother Earth Revival, then, is its embryonic state. God knows, there are worse things to aspire to than a hybrid of Southern Harmony and Musical Companion and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but too often leader and vocalist Mark Clark simply chooses between the former (“Lay Down Low”) or the latter (“Evolver”). If they ever do find or synthesize an identity, this quintet has the raw talent to make it work.

- Rob Fontenot, Jr.


Discography

Debut CD - Mother Earth Revival. The CD consists of 14 tracks. Various tracks play on KRVS - Lafayette LA, KLSU - Baton Rouge, LA and 96.5 Planet Radio to name a few.

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Bio

“Man, I wonder how many babies have been made to Barry White’s Greatest Hits” asks Greenlight Caravan vocalist and guitarist, Mark Clark. “It’s one of the great mysteries of life” he grinningly states to lead guitarist, Eric McClanahan. “My parents had a vinyl copy of it and I remember the cover looking like a shiny bar of sexy, solid gold baby”. McClanahan jokingly replies “it’s more likely that I was conceived to a Judas Priest record”.

Clark and McClanahan, the group’s primary songwriters, obviously don’t take themselves too seriously and exchange banter like only two old friends could. They are full of hilarious one-liners and stories that never seem to dry up. The two met in 2002 through a mutual friend and began to hone their playing and songwriting skills by performing in various bands together until McClanahan moved back to Shreveport, Louisiana in late 2005 after finishing school at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. So, in early 2006, Clark decided to record one of the tunes they had written together along with a few that he had composed himself. “I called up my friend/producer, Ivan Klisanin and asked him if he wanted to do it and ended up talking about ideas for hours” says Clark. “I didn’t have a band or even a name idea at that point, but I made my way over to Ivan’s studio a few weeks later all by my lonesome with my trusty old 1972 Guild F50 acoustic and we recorded the rhythm tracks to Idle Hands, Pocket Full of Regrets and Through the Blue”.

Almost two years would pass, but fate would have its way during the summer of 2007. Clark and McClanahan went on a camping trip to Tennessee after talking a few months earlier for the first time since he left to move to Shreveport. “I hadn’t seen Mark in quite some time and on our way up, he let me listen to the songs he had been working on and I couldn’t believe how talented he had become as a songwriter/lyricist in such a short time” says McClanahan. “The songs had so much depth to them and they just blew me away, I knew I wanted to be a part of it right away”. A few months later, he moved back to Lafayette, Louisiana (the band’s home base) and Greenlight Caravan was born. From there, the quintet has been rounded off with a rhythm section as diverse as Lafayette itself with Mark Anthony “Tony” Guilbeau on drums, Joshua Patrick on bass and Matt Shumaker on percussion.

Those are the humble beginnings of what would become Greenlight Caravan’s debut CD, Mother Earth Revival. It has since landed a spot on Dege Legg’s coveted “Top 10 albums of 2009” list in The Independent and has earned them much critical praise. Sheri McKee from Where Y’At Magazine in New Orleans, Louisiana says you better “get ready for a revolutionary musical journey as Greenlight Caravan takes the listener on an unforgettable trip, blending funk and soulful Southern guitar rock infused with earthy licks into a psychedelic world of groove-filled jams”. “This band is driven and it can easily be heard from the start on the title track, Mother Earth Revival, as they grab the listener and willingly hijack them on the journey together” says McKee. “Best advice--simply sit back, enjoy the magical musical ride and leave the rest to the Greenlight Caravan”.

The name, Greenlight Caravan, was derived from a painting that Clark once saw in an art gallery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “The painting was of a vintage motorcycle with ‘Life needs more green lights’ written across the top” he says. Once I saw Green light, I almost immediately thought of the word Caravan, probably because I was listening to Van Morrison’s Moondance quite a bit around the time (it has a song called Caravan on it). According to Clark, the name has connotations of moving forward, positivity, environmental references and most importantly, the color green (he has an almost humorous infatuation with the color itself). He jokingly says “take a look around, green must be GOD’s favorite color too pal”!

GLC, as the locals call them, are known to incorporate lots of crowd involvement in their performances, they even provide various percussion instruments for everyone to shake beat or just dance around with. Drummer, Tony Guilbeau says “It’s one thing to have a great recording that we’re proud of, but we really enjoy playing live and putting on a great show”. “I love playing in this band, we have such a good chemistry and we want everyone at our concerts to have an even better time than we do and go home as completely exhausted as we do too”, he says with a smile. While they are certainly no strangers to “good times” music, they also add atmosphere and dimension to ballads and more folk-oriented songs. Bassist, Joshua Patrick says “we try to have a good balance of fun, upbeat songs and ballads to keep things interesting”. Mother Earth Revival is chock full of raunchy guitars riffs, but has plenty of acoustic based material as well.

While performing, they all seem to be in their element, grinning from ear