Easy Being Green
Forest and the Evergreens join the local soul fray with horns ablaze
By Travis HoewischerPublished April 1, 2012
If you’d met the members of Forest and the Evergreens off stage, with their average age just slightly above legal drinking level, you’d be tempted to muss their hair.
That urge, however, is quickly washed away the second after they plug in. The fresh-faced and even fresher sounding funk/soul outfit is making a dignified rattle in the Columbus music scene as of late, with a horn section that heralds soulful vocals and zip-lock grooves.
Even frontman Parker Muntz is a bit sheepish when asked about the band’s uber-positive reception in just a year.
“Um, I don’t know,” he says, shuffling back and forth with a smile. “We’re not trying to impress anyone, we’re not trying to take over the world.”
Well, they’re halfway there. As earnest as your after-prom band, but as tight and tenacious as some of the city’s headliners, FATE (see, they’re so new this is probably the first time anyone’s abbreviated their band name) pairs energetic soul with the the coarse-but-cool vocals by Muntz, reminiscent of Ray LaMontagne or Amos Lee, with maybe a few of the remaining redeemable parts of John Mayer tossed in.
A little cleaner than reigning king of Ohio-bred soul, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Muntz is savvy enough to know that boyish good looks and his sweet croon won’t be enough to win over the local music scene bar crowd. Armed with Mike Twice’s machine gun percussion behind him, he looks like far more of a capable bandleader than his inexperience would indicate.
A year ago, Muntz and Twice started playing with bassist Andrew Balazs, and rhythm guitarist Mickey Drury, later adding Adam Bidwell on trumpet and Dominic Carioti on tenor sax, fleshing out the songs that Muntz had never really found a way to make work as a solo performer.
“Now, I’ve experienced the utmost fireworks, this extraordinary thing – I can’t do them any other way now.”
The band says they may have been paid the highest compliment locally when they were approached by George Elliot Underground drummer Brian Mayes, who chatted them up at a gas station after bumming a lighter.
They jumped in a car and played him their demo, which won Mayes over, despite his leaning towards Black Sabbath and other akin hard-rock material.
“He was trying to stay stonefaced, like, ‘I’m not gonna show you that I like ya,’” said Bidwell. “It was damn good to hear,” added Muntz.
It’s easier to take over the world one reluctant drummer at a time.
Forest and the Evergreens will perform as part of the (614) Magazine Live Music Showcase, April 13th at Skully’s Music Diner, with all proceeds benefitting Jazz Arts Group. For more information, visit www.614columbus.com or www.skullys.org.