Mike Savino, known under his performing name, Tall Tall Trees, struck yet another strong banjo chord with his new album A Wave of Golden Things and it’s difficult to avoid overplaying such an album. This Long Island native has had quite a way of taking you to a place that evokes the most “down home” southern feel with every album he puts out. While Moments had a more playful approach that made you feel as if you were running through the woods as a kid again, this newest album takes on an entirely different atmosphere embracing that true indie-folk/ bluegrass blend that we’ve seen so strongly from Savino in the past. Others have referred to his style as a “one-man psychedelic indie -folk orchestra”, and it would be hard to deny anything less after listening through A Wave of Golden Things.
Throughout the entire album, Savino provides an overwhelming (in the best way) sense of texture throughout each and every song. To be considered a “one-man band”, quite frankly, it’s incredible how he is able to produce such layers of sound, emotion, and atmospheric changes. When you first give it a listen, you may notice striking similarities between Tall Tall Trees style and Shakey Graves. If you’re someone who loves to listen to this type of music for every mood you’re in, look no further.
A Wave of Golden Things kicks off with “The Wind, She Whispers” which immediately puts forth a bright note and washes you over with a wave of joy and a “can do” attitude. Lyrically it takes you on a storybook journey that makes you simply want to know more. You know that scene in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty where he’s long-boarding through the mountains? Well, if you don’t, just imagine feeling light, free, and gliding along- that’s how this album starts out by hitting us with this sunshine track first. “Oh my love, shine, shine, shine…” what more could you ask for in a pick-me-up track? Not to mention, you get an entire five minutes and twelve seconds of this to kick start the album.
Sliding effortlessly into the next track, “Expectations”, we get an easy-going feel of “just being”. No more anticipating, just living. Again, if you want to feel good, these are good tracks to start with. Instrumentally, this is where you’ll start feeling and hearing that banjo’s strong influence kicking back in that we’ve seen from Tall Tall Trees in past albums. After “Expectations”, you’ll get to “Happy Birthday in Jail”, where the banjo folk has made its full on appearance. Somehow even through how folky each song truly is, the bluegrass still really shines through it all, yet Mike almost evokes a feeling of being out on an island just enjoying the sun and breeze- feelings you would normally catch from listening to reggae, not bluegrass or folk. Honestly the way he approached this entire album makes it hard to not want to grab a drink and hit the beach in general.
As you move onto the latter half of the album, you’ll start noticing a slight change in pace and mood. Mike shifts into just the slightest bit more somber notes lyrically and slows the tempo just enough for the listener to truly feel the change in the story. Something about this album to note is just how cinematic it is. If you sit down and just play through this album from start to finish, you’ll feel as if you just watched an entire film full of ups, downs, and everything in between. For an artist to create so many emotions through only eight songs is truly incredible, but also makes the listener crave more by the end. Once you get to track eight, it truly puts the period on the end of the sentence to close out the story, however, it will make you want to seek out more- maybe that’s a good thing though?
If you haven’t listened to Tall Tall Trees before reading this review, let this be your sign to start now. If you want to hear what freedom, being as light as a feather, and dancing in the rain feels like, A Wave of Golden Things is the album to listen to. Mike Savino has done a beautiful job blending influences of rock, reggae, indie-folk, and bluegrass all together to create the most whirlwind of an album and story, in the best way. If you really want to feel all of the feelings you could imagine through one simple album, get your hands on this album as soon as you can load up your car, and drive to the woods or the beach and turn the volume all the way up.