|A tree in winter - naked, the leaves have fallen, it almost desparately stretches it's thin branches to the cloudy sky. A good many people associate dreariness with such an image, others think of loneliness, hopelessness, emptiness or even romanticism. But at any rate, Devon Graves of Dead Soul Tribe was fascinated so much by this spectacle of nature that he used it as a basic idea for his new album "The January Tree".
With the predecessor "A Murder of Crows", a dead crow - on a pylon with electric cables, it's wings stretched as if it were crucified - served as starting point for a fascinating concept, a unique symbiosis between poetic lyrics and suspenseful and dramatic music. This time it's similar: "A tree in winter is a mirror image of today's world. A leaf is only a leaf but it is a small wonder that a tree lives with the help of his leaves. It is just the small things which decide over life and death and the level inbetween", philosophizes the father of a family. Graves, who was born in San Diego and who moved to Vienna because of the love he found, can easily be counted as one of the authentic artists of the current music scene. The album's title, "The January Tree", was established even before a tone of music was composed or a line of song lyrics was written. Graves had the inspiration which forced him to continue and to intensively search for the meaning of his idea. Almost for a year the pensive musician experimented with riffs and melodies. "I had a kind of basis in my mind but for a long time I didn't find the appropriate and expressive words, so I initially arranged the music without song lyrics."
As with the debut work "Dead Soul Tribe", as well with "A Murder of Crows", Devon Graves did almost everything himself on "The January Tree": he plays guitar, bass and more flute than before, plus keyboards and piano, he sings and produces. However, this time drummer Adel Moustafa is responsible for the basic structures of three songs. "'A Murder of Crows' remains an important work but I wasn't able to direct my ideas on the really right ways then. 'Angels In Vertigo', 'Some Things You Can't Return', and 'Feed' are great songs but the rest of the album is more like some additions. In retrospect, I think the differences in quality are too big. With 'The January Tree', I had finally found the self-confidence to create almost an hour of homogeneous music without any quality differences."
Apart from elements typical for DST, such as the clashing of the most different moods, the big dynamic, unusual rhythms, and an almost mesmerizing aura, on "The January Tree" can also be found "Just like a Timepiece", a song which was released on Graves' solo album "The Strange Mind of Buddy Lackey" back in 1993. After this album the singer caused a sensation - still using the pen-name Buddy Lackey at the time - with his band Psychotic Waltz whose four albums made them a legend and which was idolized by fans of progressive music. Graves left the band in 1997 to free himself. "At the time I had the feeling to be the weakest link among great instrumentalists and songwriters. In order to be able to keep going and to work creatively I had to leave the band." One can find quite some similarities between Dead Soul Tribe and Psychotic Waltz: the music is progressive and dynamic, original und natural, individual and profound, in short: an infectious hot and cold bath full of authentic emotions. "I particularly feel being influenced by Zappa, Jethro Tull and Iron Maiden," says Graves. "But I also find Tool or A Perfect Circle tremendously stimulating. There are no limits, only the striving for a music which for me sounds most beautiful."
From Deadsoul Tribe official website [http://www.deadsoultribe.com]