The Grateful Dead did a lot more than spawn a number of their own internal spin-off groups and, later, looker-on ensembles like Phish. They continue to speak to young bands like Hot Buttered Rum (here) and this group, Ten Mile Tide, brothers in arms to the groove-n-jam oriented Rum. Riverstone is an example of high-spirited country-rock centered musicians who fall deliriously together and have a great time. In this year's Jam Off contest, a competition marked by intense rivalry in 200 entrants, these guys were one of only 10 bands to make the final cut, honored in the issuance of an anthology CD commemorating the event.
There's bluegrass, country, folk, and rock here, but I was struck by the wide sound they achieve. On the opener, Heartbeat of San Francisco, the track was oft reminiscent of something from Springsteen's Born to Run largely due to Matt Mitchell's keyboards, a cousin to David Sancious' work for Bruce (and the last time that big New Jersey ape saw greatness). Then The Trunk has the stripped-down funk, y'all, while coming off like a too-hip Sesame Street song (er, I don't think Big Bird bongloads, does he?), monkeying around until Happiness Directive pops up, a bouncy cut sounding like Phish on a lark. Train Rolls grooves off a progressive Terry Riley-ish ostinato with Steve Kessler floating his fiddle sweetly high above. Ten Mile Tide, like the Dead, is not a fundamentalist band—they've been listening to everything.
The core of the group is the identical-twin team of Justin and Jason Munning on guitars and vocals, and Justin recently went up against Bob Weir in a recent SF area magazine article fielding musician attitudes on file sharing. Weir was against (boo!) and Munning for (huzzah!), ironically taking back from Weir the Dead ethos for the band and explaining why the entire concept is a new way of thinking in the Electric Age. He was quoted again in the Denver Post for his sentiments and showed why Ten Mile Tide will succeed: they have the right spirit, the chops, the fun, and the artistry in a communal groove on all levels, just like those who came before them. There's a looseness here that will appeal just as much to the Dead-head cotillion (Restless and Wandering even has the old Faces reel to it) as to lovers of many other older sounds…but I sure would like to hear them take on a pure-jam eight-minute-or-more cut or two in the future. Everything about this CD tells me they're just itching to tear it up.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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