Woods Tea Co.
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Woods Tea Co.


Band Folk Comedy


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"DVD Review MArch 2009"

By ART EDELSTEIN Arts Correspondent
ermont's popular folk music quartet Woods Tea Co. recently released its first-ever CD/DVD
album, "A Lively Evening With." This combo release is a must-purchase for fans and those who
enjoy pure, unencumbered folk music.
Woods Tea Co. has a long performing history. I'm not sure how far back the band goes into
the 1980s but it, along with Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys, are two of the longestrunning
Vermont folk acts.
Two summers ago Woods Tea lost a founding member Rusty Jacobs to an untimely death.
That was a hard blow to the band as Jacobs was a fine singer, band luminary and
whistle/guitar-player. His was a hard slot to fill. The band soldiered on for a year with fill-in
musicians. Late last spring the band announced that East Montpelier singer-songwriter Patti
Casey would join, thus becoming the band's first female member.
On this new live album/DVD we hear and see what a smart choice Casey's inclusion was. The
performance recorded and filmed at the Barre Opera House early last fall is excellent with both
superb sound and video production.
Casey, who most recently was the only woman in the Bluegrass Gospel Project, again
surrounds herself with men, and stands out for both her talent and her ability to fend off all
the testosterone. Here she joins band founders Mike Lussen and Howard Wooden, and Calais'
Tom MacKenzie. After years as a Chittenden County-based band, Woods Tea Co. is now firmly
based in Washington County as well.
The CD on this album is 15 tracks long. The DVD includes 21 tracks. There is well over two
hours of entertainment here, and all of it is worth spending the time to listen to and watch.
Woods Tea Co. is one of the few bands that have retained the "folk" in folk music. The band
eschews trends that combine folk roots with pop themes or other more contemporary musical
Here we have guitar, acoustic bass, hammered dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, bouzouki and
flute/whistle instrumentation. The singing is tight and harmonious. The themes range from sea
chantey to Irish ballad along with fine contemporary material from both Casey and MacKenzie
and other writers.
I liken this band to its precursors such as the Kingston Trio, Brothers Four and the Dubliners.
With Casey the band has a new and excellent voice, a fine songwriter, and a
flute/whistle/guitar player who also clogs. Her presence on stage gives the band a more
inclusive look. Her male cohorts never overpower her, nor is she there as eye candy. Casey is
a savvy performer who knows how to cleverly tone down what might otherwise be a more
"salty" and less sophisticated male presentation.
The band also knows how to best use a woman's presence. Casey sings the brilliant Pete
Sutherland penned "Sink the Cheerio" a song about toilet training a young boy. Casey, who
has a son of her own, delivers this clever lyric deadpan.
Woods Tea knows it is not at its core an instrumental band. This is not the Duhks, for
instance. But, it does use its members to the best of their ability. MacKenzie is the strongest
instrumentalist and he gets the lion's share of the melodic work. Wooden is a solid bass
accompanist while Lussen and Casey provide strong rhythm on guitar and bouzouki. What we
have is a quartet that won't overpower the listener with any player's singular brilliance;
instead we get a strong team effort. The result is a very pleasing overall sound.
The DVD shows how well the band works as a unit, surprising since Casey was such a recent
addition to the lineup. There are no awkward moments and the show was virtually flawless.
The band recently finished a West Coast tour, the first with Casey on board. I'm not sure how
well-known they are beyond New England, but if this CD/DVD is an example of their abilities
they should gain a far-reaching fan base.
There are too few groups today whose music retains the elements of simplicity, harmony and
good taste as well the Woods Tea Co. does. "A Lively Evening With" is an excellent example of
how good a band can sound in a singular performance. - Times/Argus

"Pacifica, CA Show Review - MArch 2009"

If you took Emmylou Harris, Garrison Keillor mixed with Kenny Rankin, Doc Watson and Everett Ulysses McGill – changed their names and their faces but kept that certain something that kept sending you back to compare them to the aforementioned well then, you’d pretty much have Patti Casey, Howard Wooden, Mike Lussen and Tom MacKenzie OR the members of the very talented, Woods Tea Company. Here’s a list of some of the instruments they know their virtuosic way around. Patti Casey on vocals, including yodel, guitar, flute, pennywhistle and clogboard. Howard Wooden on vocals, bass, guitar and bodhran. Mike Lussen on vocals, five string banjo, bodhran, bouzouki and guitar. Tom MacKenzie on vocals, hammered dulcimer, banjo, guitar and ukulele. They played Saturday night at Pacifica Performances. They did traditionals like “This Little Light Of Mine,” “The Cat Came Back,” “There Were Roses” and “Glencoe Schottische.” They did songs from their own individual compositional notebooks like “Ghost of Pekin Brook” and “My Monday” (Tom MacKenzie), “Handsome Patrick” and “Old Man” (Patti Casey). They told silly stories between songs and made their audience answer geography questions, clap in time and sing choruses, loudly. They even made their audience tear up when their 4-part harmonies layered notes like four lilies on the water. They are so extraordinarily worth seeing and hearing (yes, you might also catch them on NPR) that my advice is to fly out of your lounge chair and get yourself a ticket to these fun-making toe-tappers who roll out music like a dream. - Jean Bartlett, Managing Editor


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After building a solid reputation in New England, Wood’s Tea Company started touring on the concert circuit nationwide, eventually playing in all of the lower 48 states. Notable performances include New York’s Lincoln Center (twice), the Chautauqua Institute (three times), appearances on PBS and national Public Radio, who labeled them “Vermont’s hardest working folk group”

Folk Music Quarterly described them as ‘…one of the hottest up and coming acts,” saying “…sidestepping pretension and going for the grit, this New England group gives a lusty performance, every time.” A few years ago, the Irish Heritage Foundation honored the group with their “Outstanding Innovation Award “…in appreciation and recognition for their creative contributions to Irish music.”