Trees on Fire
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Trees on Fire

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | SELF

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | SELF
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Tree-huggers, take note: Trees on Fire will be sharing headlining duties with Corey Harris and the Rasta Blues Experience for tonight’s Earth Day concert at the Jefferson Theater. It’ll start a busy weekend of Earth Day activities for all ages.

Harris will perform with the Rasta Blues Experience and also will join Trees on Fire for a song.

Harris will be sharing musical styles from his explorations of African, Caribbean and North American musical traditions.

Trees on Fire got its start several Earth Days ago in a picnic shelter in Meade Park. Tonight’s show will include some new songs the band hasn’t performed before.

Tickets are $17, $15 in advance. - The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA)


This video was shot during a live performance at Charlottesville's historic Jefferson Theater on December 3, 2010. The song "By Design" is an unreleased track and will see the light of day in late 2011 or early 2012. - Jack Looney Photography (vimeo)


Trees on Fire creates passionate music that reflects the current problems of today’s world and inspiration lyrics that make you want to take a stand. They are known as hybrid-rock geniuses for their ear-catching fusion of reggae, hip hop, rock, electronica, classical, klezmer, and funk and have been titled “razor-sharp and innovative." - OBX Nightlife


Autumn occupies a precious space in the collective heart of Trees on Fire. During this bittersweet season, van-bound band members hurtling down the highway to play a show in a city inevitably less cool than Charlottesville will often find inspiration in the orange, yellow, and red hues streaking past. Murmurs of “man. . . .the trees do look like they’re on fire. . .” and “these trees don’t go to sleep quietly; they flame out” can be heard in the van. We are thrilled to join in the fun at the highly anticipated sophomore Festy Experience. It’s our favorite fall festival for sure! We have been recording and performing exciting groove-tastic new songs all summer and are looking forward to flaming out with our hometown crowd one last time before the freeze sets in. - Festy


Trees on Fire and their hometown crowd will celebrate the release of Organica at Charlottesville's Jefferson Theater on April 24, 2010. The quintet's first full-length album connects the dots between rock, dance, roots, and pop music. Recorded in Virginia and Louisiana, Organica takes listeners from the heights of the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains to the buzzing swamps and bayous of the bottom-land. The exciting original music the band has captured on this recording is only a part of the legacy they hope to leave behind.

The band has raised awareness and funds for a number of organizations over its four years in existence, including Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Building Goodness Foundation, Climate Ride, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and others. Trees on Fire was voted "Greenest Regional Band" by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and had a song featured on Sierra Club's national website earlier this year. The band will donate 5% of proceeds from its debut album to both Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and Appalachian Voices in an effort to keep their important work moving forward.

"ah-CHAFF-ah-lie-yah" Our first trip to Louisiana included a jaw-dropping boat tour of the Atchafalaya Basin guided by Basinkeeper Dean Wilson. Huge eerily hollow cypress stumps told the sad story of logging for lumber and mulch. Dean told the uplifting story of fighting and winning legal battles to protect the swamp. His watchful eyes are still needed to ensure the safety of America's largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest. Our day ended at Dean's swamp-side home with crawfish, music making, and our strong desire to help. 5% of Organica album sales will support the Basinkeeper's sustained efforts to keep cypress trees in the swamp and out of mulch shredders. Please visit www.basinkeeper.org and become a member. Don't buy cypress mulch. America's "River of Trees" and many generations of hundreds of species will thank you!

Appalachian Voices The true cost of energy generated by coal acquired from the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining dwarfs the amount we pay each month in our electric bills. Damage to the environment and public health are devastating, permanent, and well documented. Producing energy without trashing our environment and our health is a complex and elusive goal. Trees on Fire firmly believes ending mountaintop removal mining and preventing the construction of new coal-fired power plants are obvious steps in the right direction. We pledge 5% of Organica record sales to Appalachian Voices and urge you to visit www.appvoices.org. - Jefferson Theater


Trees on Fire has been scorching the local music scene for the past five years, so it’s hard to believe the group just got around to releasing a full-length album this past spring. The band’s debut, “Organica,” was worth the wait.

It’s full of the eclectic sounds - roots rock, reggae, electronica and funk -and high energy that make the five-piece outfit such a fun live act.

“We haven’t put much music out there since we started playing live, so were ready to get more people acquainted with our sound,” said guitar, keyboard and sax player Rob Mezzanotte.

The band - which also features Brian Wahl on bass, Paul Rosner on drums, Blake Hunter on guitar and Justin Esposito on a handful of different instruments - made part of the album at home in Charlottesville with producer Rob Evans at Dave Matthews’ Haunted Hollow Studios. They also fused some swampy air into the
mix by traveling down to Lafayette, La., and cutting tracks at the famous Dockside Studios, which has hosted the likes of B.B. King, Taj Mahal and Dr. John.

According to Mezzanotte, the band was influenced by Dockside’s mellow vibe, with a back porch right on the bayou, to give “Organica” even more cultural variety than the group usually incorporates. The musicians even recorded a klezmer track that didnt ultimately make the cut.

“The album is a blend of all of our different ideas,” he said. “It’s eclectic, but it ties together in a way that makes it work. We’re testing a lot of grounds. We have so many different influences and interests that we find it hard to stick with one thing.”

Something that has held firm since the band started gigging around town back in 2005 is its steadfast positive message. When members harmonize on the breezy chorus of the optimistic pop-friendly foot-stomper “Live Life,” you can tell it’s coming from a genuine place.

More proof comes from the group’s ongoing environmental conservation efforts. The band is donating 5 percent of “Organica” sales to nonprofit organizations working to end mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachian Mountains and preserve Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin -an ecologically diverse swamp the band enjoyed during recent studio sessions.

This fall, Trees on Fire plans to tour heavily behind the new album, but not before a headlining slot at tonight’s Fridays After Five at the Charlottesville Pavilion.

“It’s taken us a little while to gain some identity, but now we’re ready to push forward,” Mezzanotte said. - The Daily Progress


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- In typical rock ‘n’ roll fashion, the Virginia-based band Trees on Fire is taking an uncompromising, rebellious stance to promote a relevant and important cause they passionately believe in. The band’s five members are out to put an end to global warming and the destructive practice of mountaintop removal in the eastern United States.

Mountaintop removal is a form of surface mining for coal that damages the environment by causing extreme topographical and ecological changes. Trees on Fire’s new EP, Organica Volume One, makes no apologies as it explores these issues and other themes centering around building a better planet. The music aims to challenge corporate and political leaders to take notice of the increasing need for energy policy change.

Organica Volume One is the first in a series of EPs by Trees on Fire, its three tracks highlighting the group’s signature blend of rock, classical, hip-hop, electronica, reggae and more. Tracks include "Into the Fire," "Take a Seat" and "Birds and the Bees." Band member and songwriter Rob Mezzanotte says he hopes Trees on Fire’s songs will make a profound impact in the immediate future and for years to come.

"I feel like (our music) is a reflection of the current crisis we’re all in right now around the globe and the need to make some better decisions," said Rob Mezzanotte, who sings and plays guitar, saxophone, keyboards. "There’s a lot of injustice that needs to change. We’ve got to realize that we’re all connected through a fine thread with our ecosystem and everything that’s in it."

Over its three-year career, Trees on Fire has become known for its razor-sharp four-part harmonies and organic world rhythms infused into eco-promoting songs. In 2007, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine named Trees on Fire "Greenest Regional Band."

The group has built a large following playing on the East Coast, but also has gained popularity through its Web site and other Internet sites. Trees on Fire’s lineup includes: Mezzanotte, Blake Hunter (guitar, trumpet, vocals), Paul Rosner (drums, vocals), Brian Wahl (bass) and Justin Esposito (keys, violin, accordion, guitar, vocals).

"Organica Volume One" is available at www.treesonfire.com, iTunes, Amazon and Napster. "Organica Volume Two" will be released on April 22 (Earth Day). - Indie 4 Life


Trees on Fire
Organica, the debut full-length album by Charlottesville, Virginia’s Trees On Fire, takes listeners from the heights of the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains to the buzzing swamps and bayous of the bottom-land. Formed in 2005 amidst these ancient hills, Trees On Fire has developed a varied sound that includes reggae, rock, electronic, klezmer, and funk and the band counts Radiohead, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Bach, and Miles Davis among its influences.
Organica was produced by Rob Evans (Dave Matthews Band, Tim Reynolds Trio) and Eric Heigle and recorded at Haunted Hollow Studios and Dockside Studios (BB King, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, Mark Knopfler, Leon Russell, Sonny Landreth.) The exciting original music captured on the album is only a part of the legacy the group hopes to leave behind as Trees On Fire's members are all deeply embedded in environmental preservation activities.
The commitment of the members of Trees On Fire -- Justin Esposito (keys, violin, accordion, guitar, vocals), Rob Mezzanotte (guitar, sax, keys, vocals), Brian Wahl (bass), Paul Rosner (drums, vocals), and Blake Hunter (guitar, vocals) -- to achieving sustainable practices in our society and Trees On Fire’s ability to bring people together via song and environmental activism is unmatched. As one enthusiastic listener put it, "y'all are culturized!" It’s no wonder these guys eat habanera peppers to get jacked up for a show. - Charlottesville Pavilion


Charlottesville - Trees on Fire recently played at the Jefferson to mark the release of their full-length album Organica. When I first moved to Charlottesville three years ago, I heard them play at the Batesville House (where they lived at the time), and I remember being exceptionally impressed, not only at their talented instrumentation, but also at the energy and style of the music they produced. I had never heard a comparable sound to that of Trees on Fire before. I also remember their performance with a number of bands at the 2007 Crozet Music Festival, including artists such as Terri Allard, the Rogan Brothers, Downbeat Project, and Lester Seal. I was a complete stranger to this community, having just moved into the Ivy area, and my roommate was the only person that I knew. However, the weekend of the Crozet Music Festival, she was out of town. It was a beautiful day, and I had the fervent desire to acquaint myself with the area, so I got into my car and drove down to Crozet by myself, knowing not a soul. When I first arrived at the Crozet Park, I did not have the fifteen dollars in cash that it cost to get in. I had only three dollars on my person; however, to my relief the attendant let me in anyway. Thank goodness he did, because this sparked my introduction to Charlottesville and the many intriguing community affairs available to the public. Two of the bands that I had the privilege to continue to explore since that day have been Trees on Fire and Downbeat Project, which leave a nostalgic imprint in my memory as my first acquaintance with this part of the Virginian territory.

Since my first awareness of Trees on Fire, I have seen them periodically; however, one show spawned my prolonged interest when I saw them play at Rapunzel's in Lovingston, Virginia. At that point, Trees on Fire was a band that instantly sparked my attention, and I knew I was witnessing something immaculate. With their many attributes and influences, ranging from the Beatles to Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin, I characterize their sound as circular, rocking roots with a little reggae funk twisted around an assortment of superb vocals, beats, and lyrical enlightenment. The band members include Justin Esposito (keys, violin, accordion, guitar, and vocals), Rob Mezzanotte (guitar, sax, keys, vocals), Brian Wahl (bass), Paul Rosner (drums and vocals), and Blake Hunter (guitar, horn, and vocals). I always knew Trees on Fire were energy oriented; however, the show at the Jefferson marked their transformation from chill funk to rockin' funk mingled with organic soul, which makes their new CD's title, Organica, very appropriate. The record features 15 songs recorded at Dockside Studios in Maurice, Louisiana. The album combines rolling, Appalachian undertones along with a spice of that Louisiana flavor. It was produced by Rob Evans, Eric Heigle, and Trees on Fire. The group's first album, The Green Room (2007), hinted of reggae rock with softer moods and intonations. However, on March 24 at the Jefferson, it was as if the songs from their first release were charged with electricity, enabling them to break out of their crust and surge with a newfound power.

One of the finest attributes that Trees on Fire possess is their ability to produce compositions that bring out each band members particular talent and skills. In my opinion, "Around This Town" compliment Blake Hunter's rhythmic voice and his expressionism, while "Into the Fire" complements Paul Rosner's powerful, pointed drumming. "In the Middle" presents Justin Esposito as an expert violinist, as well as "Bulgars," while "Live Life" projects Rob Mezzanotte's crisp, clear
vocals. Lastly, through every performance I have observed that Brian Wahl is steadfast throughout, maintaining the beat beautifully and projecting the songs forward. Songs such as "Falling Down," "Spinning," and "Take a Seat" show how each voice carry and blend nicely, giving birth to rich undertones, layered harmonies, and sweetly nurtured melodies.

The first sounds I always recognize and feel myself gravitating towards are the beats that erect of pyramid of rhythm. The bass and drums are something that always lures me in and keep me moving along. The drummer, Paul Rosner and bassist, Brian Wahl, provided a strong backbone, which were solid as they were versatile. As I studied both artists, I witnessed neither a single inconsistency, nor an unintentional variation. Brian maintained the beat harmoniously much like the motion within a current, while Paul built upon this stability, providing the musical pathways that drifted one's imagination into many facets of musical possibilities. He also provided a strong spine that was infallible as it was curvaceous. Paul's ability was intricate and calm yet laden with power and precision.

Trees on Fire's enriching and complex style of music is due to each member's extreme versatility in their musical realm of study. For instance, as well as being a proficient violinis - Magazine33


TREES ON FIRE Organica (Self released)
Eclecticism. I love it. I demand it. I promote it. But sometimes, at the back of my mind I wonder. Is it a lack of focus? Is it a case of “Jack of all trades, master of none?”. If it’s executed properly it should work right? Like Queen, for example.

Well, this is Trees On Fire’s strength/weakness – depending on your perspective.

This debut album – within the first four tracks – had my head spinning as it began with a U2-channeling rocker (Into The Fire) then turned the tables upside down with a breezy world music nugget (Live Life), urban hip hop jive (Rosa) AND a dance track (Just Because)!!!!

The rest of Organica basically follows this format as the band careens wildly genre-wise and surprising me with their musical choices. That said, my main caveat is that it’s form over substance too many times. The problem that Trees On Fire are dredging out the worst of 80s pop-rock. Y’know, bombastic vocals, cheesy electronics, pseudo-epic arrangements. All they need is the big hair and the pictures complete.

So I guess the jury’s out somewhat but given the aforementioned eclecticism, you are bound to find something you may like amongst the 14 tracks found on Organica. - Hip Hop | Power of Pop - Music, Film, Comics & Book Reviews


Discography

"Live Life" - Single

"Rosa" - Single

"Just Because" - Single

"Freedom" - Single

"Bottom" - Single

Organica (2010) - Album

The Green Room (2007) - Album

Photos

Bio

“[Trees on Fire’s] music is a reflection of the current crisis we're all in right now around the globe and the need to make some better decisions,” says Rob Mezzanotte (vocals, guitar, saxophone, keys), whom shares the same sentiments as his band members: Justin Esposito (keys, violin, accordion, guitar, vocals), Blake Hunter (guitar, trumpet, vocals), Paul Rosner (drums, vocals), and Brian Wahl (bass). “There's a lot of injustice that needs to change. We’ve got to realize that we're all connected through a fine thread with our ecosystem and everything that's in it.”

Trees on Fire first sprouted its roots in 2005 amidst the hills and woodlands of Charlottesville, Virginia. The quintet, lauded by many as “hybrid-rock geniuses,” has been scorching the music scene since its inception. Daily rehearsals, frequent live performances, and collective ecosystem platforms cultivate the band’s undeniable chemistry. The mix of two former opera singers turned prolific songwriters, two symphonic virtuosos turned rock ‘n’ rollers, and one irrefutably tasteful percussionist creates a dynamic blend of sounds.

Known for its ear-catching fusion of reggae, hip hop, rock, electronica, classical, klezmer, funk, and beyond, Buzz News Reporter Ken Payne hails Trees on Fire’s “razor-sharp four-part harmonies and organic world rhythms… original, innovative grooves [with] inspirational messages...” It’s no surprise the band’s high-energy and multi-cultural melodies lure and stir the senses of wide audiences, while Dave Matthews Band's Boyd Tinsley attests “[Trees on Fire is] a band to watch for sure."

Organica (2010), Trees on Fire’s debut full-length EP delivers “chill funk to rockin' funk mingled with organic soul,” says Helen Brown, Director, Vice President and Correspondent of Magazine 33. Produced by Trees on Fire, alongside mastermind producers Rob Evans (Dave Matthews Band, Tim Reynolds Trio) and Eric Heigle, Organica, as Brown describes, “takes listeners from the heights of the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains to the buzzing swamps and bayous of the bottom-land.” Recorded at Dave Matthews’ Virginia Haunted Hollow Studios and Louisiana’s hidden gem Dockside Studios where such artists as BB King, Taj Mahal, Mark Knopfler, and Sonny Landreth have recorded, Organica is the first in Trees on Fire’s imminent EP trilogy.

Trees on Fire’s first release, The Green Room (2007), similarly captured the band’s genre-blending tendencies. Pulling from such diverse influences as Bob Marley, the Beatles, Bach, Chopin, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Buckley, Cake, Radiohead, the Meters, Beck, Iron and Wine, Led Zeppelin, Stray Cats, and Miles, Trees on Fire creates an authentic earthy sound, revealing the band’s burning passion to not just spread love, goodwill, and great music, but to expand, explore, and enjoy every minute of the experience.

Organica and The Green Room reflect only a part of the legacy the band intends to leave behind. Tracks such as “Falling Down,” “Into the Fire,” “Take a Seat,” and “Birds and the Bees” explore themes that also cultivate a better planet and challenge corporate and political leaders to notice the increasing need for energy policy change. Trees on Fire particularly seeks to help eliminate the devastating practices of mountaintop removal, coal mining in Appalachia, and clear-cutting of the Atchafalaya River Basin in Louisiana. As a testament to Trees on Fire’s commitment, the band also donates five-percent of the proceeds from its album sales to two key organizations, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and Appalachian Voices, which dedicate resources to preserve the earth’s invaluable natural landscapes.

Recognized for raising awareness and funds for a number of other organizations, including Sierra Club, Building Goodness Foundation, Climate Ride, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and others, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine has voted Trees on Fire as the “Greenest Regional Band” and Sierra Club has acknowledged the band’s efforts on its website. Kid Pan Alley, an organization which inspires children to create music by pairing them as songwriters with professional musicians, further featured Trees on Fire on its compilation CD, along with tracks from Cracker, Jesse Winchester, members of Everything, and actress Sissy Spacek.

“Trees on Fire’s stellar written and recorded tunes compliment the band’s dedication to promote sustainable environmental as well as valiant community service practices, exhibiting one of the various reasons we selected [the band] as the winner of our Music Division competition,” states Gabrielle Bailey, Senior Public Relations Associate of Silver Starr Art Studios LLC. Trees on Fire 2010-2011 nationwide tour, coming to a city near you. For more details about Trees on Fire and their blazing music, visit www.treesonfire.com.