Fresh Produce (ABCD Records)
By: Paula M. Sherman
Marven's Garden is a blues funk band out of Provo Utah that has a really cool sound generated among four talented musicians. Their unique sound offered on their release, Fresh Produce, is a confident compilation of twelve songs. When I received this CD, I listened to it immediately as I went about my business. The music was wonderful to listen to in the background. All the songs have a presence, and have a different feel to them. Some are catchy little tunes, and some are very relaxing. I was impressed with my first introduction with this band. But because I was working while I had my first earful, I wanted to let others listen to it. And the reaction was even better.
I played Fresh Produce for a group of friends that came over one night. I just slipped it in the mix of other music I had chosen, but I didn't put it on a shuffle. I let their music play through from beginning to end. Each song got a different reaction. My friends really enjoyed the music, and even asked what they were listening to. It was ironic, because I listen to a blues rock band named G. Love and Special Sauce a lot, and my friends know that. They wondered if that's were they were listening to. Now THAT'S a compliment! And in an article that came along with my promo pack for the band, Marven's Garden was compared to that band. So that will tell you how well these musicians can surround the sound.
This band's strength lies in their guitar work and songwriting. The music is well arranged, not sloppy at all. The vocals are pleasing, the lyrics are understandable and eventually will become a part of your vocabulary. This band provides toe-tapping, body swaying rhythms that change with each tune. The lead singer, Merrill Teemant, who also plays rhythm guitar and trombone; has a righteous east coast accent that adds to the flavor. Lead guitarist, Mike Cannell, who also plays sax; blends into the mix very well, but at the same time isn't overbearing. Leo Teemant plays the bass and weaves in some nice lines along with Cristina Cano on drums. All compliment each other very well.
Starting out with energetic tunes like "Is She Comin' My Way" and "Bevy and My VW", the stage is set for what will follow. "Can't Have Two" slows it down just a bit, with just a bit of the blues. And "Let It Rain" trickles in to relax the mind with a mellow guitar sound. Then "Santa Fe" bops in with some really nice rapid riffs. "Sank" is a simple yet pretty tune that also feels good, with a constant moderate melody. When I say, feels good, I mean the song feels like it fits like a comfortable pair of your favorite jeans. That may sound weird, but that is how it feels. "On The Corner" is a bluesy rap tune performed very smoothly. And another smooth slightly faster tempo song, "Tuesday" follows and slides into the pure blues feel of "A Favor". The tempo changes and presented is a slightly different type of blues song called, "Shat Jive". Then it slows down to a sweet mellow sound of "Standing On A Dime". The last two songs "Lonely Game" and "Two Twenty-Nine" keep that slow mellow pace and ease the listener to the end.
Fresh Produce is a delightful piece of work! And I give it a major thumbs up. I can imagine that since this studio produced release consists of so much enthusiasm and energy, this band must be great live. So if you're in their area, check them out and email me and let me know. I'm curious! I love listening to live blues bands. Fresh Produce is sold in local CD stores. For more information about this band, in case you'd like to get a copy of this release, go to www.marvensgarden.com.