The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra leading the pack

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March 29, 2013

The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra
Follow My Lead, Lead Me To Follow (2012)
Produced by David Travers-Smith

Reviewed by Noah Cebuliak

The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra is a dynamic folk-roots outfit hailing from Victoria, whose latest release, Follow My Lead, Lead Me To Follow, spans multiple genres and moods, delighting those who may have grown weary of the typical Canadian folk album. They’re up for a VIMA this year for “Island Artist of the Year” and they’re my personal pick for the award.

Follow My Lead is TTMO’s third full-length studio release since its inception in 2008, and is the band’s most polished and varied effort to date. The album has a distinct feel of being influenced by the exotic and the foreign, with dashes of celtic, gypsy, tango and flamenco, while at once retaining an accessible and catchy vibe. “Canoe Song,” “Lives Be Brave,” and “What We See” are my favorite tunes, all exhibiting best the crisp production of David Travers-Smith (Snowblink, The Wailin’ Jennys) combined with great songwriting and tasteful instrumentation that exemplifies the record as a whole.

Follow My Lead isn’t just a nice folk album with world flavors though–there’s a real sense of urgency present in the songs, a desire to tell stories that are meaningful, direct and distinct. These are traveler’s anthems, describing the wonder and disbelief of being alive and of being a citizen of this vast country, making it a clear choice as musical accompaniment for your next road-trip through the mountains.

Indeed, what’s so refreshing about Follow My Lead is that it’s not just a barrel of love songs with pretty metaphors and weeping violins (though there are some wild fiddle sections)–here TTMO seem to have matured far beyond the typical subjects into deeper waters: being a student of Life, pondering our ancestors, praising and respecting our mother Earth.

Apart from releasing a solid album in Follow My Lead, Lead Me To Follow, The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra is also involved in many community initiatives around land use and sustainability, indigenous arts and culture, and youth at risk. Beyond creating inspired and unique original music, as well as having become known for their juicy live shows, TTMO is a band that demonstrates their love for their community of which they have grown. In today’s music scene, it is rare to find bands that are committed to using their positions of visibility for the benefit of the entire society–through their music and values, The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra leads the field.

Watch for The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra on tour and at festivals this summer. Follow My Lead, Lead Me To Follow is available now on Bandcamp, along with their entire catalogue at www.tequilamockingbirdorchestra.bandcamp.com.

 

Noah Cebuliak is a Montréal-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who leads the indie-folk-pop trio Ghost Lights. He independently released his debut EP in November 2012. Check out www.ghostlights.ca.

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