"ThaMuseMeant, a quartet with an unbelievably original sound, is not your average rock band, and its difficult to place its music into any one category. It successfully combines elements of bluegrass, country, rock, swing, folk, jazz and jam rock. These, paired with melodic vocals and lyrics rivaling those of Bob Dylan, create a one-of-a-kind musical experience."
- Kari Freund Daily Lobo
On Silver Seed, Pelta's sultry gypsy-style fiddling brings fresh perspective to the image-driven lyrics of veteran members Moore and Curl. Curl stands out on this latest effort with vocals making her seem like the love child of Björk and Reeltime Traveler Martha Scanlan.
ThaMuseMeant tastefully channel swing, jazz and old-time styles in their original acoustic folk material. Given the geographical meandering of this now Portland-based troupe of musicians, it is astounding that their mesmerizing new album comes across absolutely focused and grounded.
"The people who love ThaMuseMeant are people who love songs, who love great pickin; and people who love poetry -- some of the old world talents. There seems to be less of that in the world lately -- I don't know, maybe we're old world revolutionaries."
-Nathan Moore interview
Tamara Turner, CD Baby review
Building on the sweet jangle of bluegrass but tilting its face to
absorb the rays of modern folkgrass, alt country and gypsy jazz,
ThaMuseMeant entangles a crisp rural twang, a lazy front porch
rumble, and a sneaky, creeping story quality of mischief, sinister
parlours and shadowy, back corners of smoky pubs, all wrapped up
within the unassuming voice of guitar, mandolin, fiddle and the
common country folk get-up. Standing out as a favorite among the jam
band and bluegrass scene, their ability to inject innovation into
well worn, exhausted genres, especially with Amiee Curl's spooky,
distinctive vocals, gives this gang of musicians the striking talent
to light a fire under the ass of good, ol' time music.
"your Silver Seed CD is one of the best I've ever heard."
president, CD Baby & Hostbaby
SILVER SEED REVUE
Thamusemeant had an eight year career in the 90s and mainman Nathan Moore has produced several solo albums as well as working with other musical projects; sadly for me it's only with this thamusemeant reunion record that I've come to hear of him, and them.
Silver Seed is an absolute cracker, different from anything I've come across and endlessly satisfying in musicianship and songwriting. Apparently the earlier incarnation of the band was quite rocky, but Enion Pelta on fiddle has taken the place of the drummer, and Nathan Moore now descibes them as a "string band" . That suggests the raucous pre-bluegrass sounds that are currently being revived, but notwithstanding a beautiful old-timey tune, "Invisible Banjo", that could have been lifted from a Union Station album, the overall sound is much more sophisticated and, somehow, European. The violin is in the lead a lot and plays melodies that sound to me like they're inspired by cabaret music or European folk music; whatever, it's the violin that at different times makes you want to dance or sing or smile or cry. And if that's not enough the singing of Aimee Curl and the playing of Nathan Moore and David Tiller are all wonderful, adding colour and depth to the whole, impressing with their own virtuosity without ever being flashy.
Silver Seed opens with "Sweet", a song by Skip Shirey, which amounts to a statement of intent as Aimee Curl's jazzy, maybe a bit Bjork-like,vocals and the band's turns at the mic set the tone for the sweet music to follow. The closing track("Been A While") celebrates the band's reunion nicely. In between there are three instrumentals by David Tiller who plays the mandolin and banjo wondrously. In fact he gets so many subtle, delicate sounds from his banjo I can't think I've ever heard the like, and you wonder why there were ever jokes about banjo players.
The other five songs are Nathan Moore originals, ranging from love to politics - on "Protest Song" he takes a pop at avowed Christians like George Bush who appear to have lost touch with Christianity - and his lyrics are elliptical enough to bear frequent listening as you tease out his meaning, or maybe simply enjoy his gentle hooks. All in all, a total joy and one of my top five*for 2004, no question.
*The other four, in no particular order, being:
Joe West: South Dakota Hair-do (also on Frogville)
Nels Andrews: Sunday Shoes
REM: Around The Sun
WrinkleNeck Mules: Minor Enough (actually from 2002 but I only heard it this year)
" In all my life, my ears, never before or since have ever heard such beautiful and intelligent music as with THAMUSEMEANT, it's classic and it rocks tantalizing to the senses as well as the soul.
Like a fine wine or the most expensive liquer TMM is truly Top Shelf. IT is unique in the brilliance of it all, Nathan Moore's prolific and prevocative lyrics, Aimee Curl and her upright bass combined with David Tiller and Enion Pelta's (Taarka) immaculate mandolin and violin create joys and heartfelt sorrows as you connect to the sensory tapestry that they weave. When I hear Silver Seed or the entire combo live especially when Aimee Curl sings or when Nathan & Aimee harmonize, he with the grity growl brimming with confidence and her of the unique and angelic -soulful sexy voice, a rare bird indeed; I can only imagine that if God heard Thamusemeant He would be pleased; and like me He must be very hard to impress."
THE SECOND COMING...................OF THAMUSEMEANT 2004
ThaMuseMeant disbanded late in the year 2000 after releasing five albums and touring constantly coast to coast. They resurfaced in Portland OR in October of 2003. Today, ThaMuseMeant is a four-piece band comprised of David Tiller (mandolin), Aimee Curl (bass, vocals), Nathan Moore (guitar, vocals) and Enion Pelta (violin). It's an exciting time as this band rediscovers itself, unleashing such sweet music into the air.
Referred to by some as "Acid Folk," ThaMuseMeant has a sound, a feeling, a style all of its own. They have performed hundreds of shows including: dates on the H.O.R.D.E. tour, SXSW showcases in Austin TX., High Sierra Festival, & exclusive nightclub appearances across the nation sharing shows with Greg Brown, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, The Tragically Hip, James McMurtry and many others. At the same time, they are also somewhat infamous street performers.
Stereo Review July 1998
Walking down Austin's Sixth Street one night at a recent South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, I happened across some buskers who were playing a killer "Matty Groves" as well as an original called "My Death Comes a Callin'" that included yodels to die for. A proper gig the next night confirmed my first impression: ThaMuseMeant, from Santa Fe, deserves to make a million hatfuls of coins.
The easy way to peg the quartet is to say it's a jam band, but this is laser-focused, song-oriented jamming. And although the band's name may seem awkward, it's an apt description of the amusement you get each time the four bring a song to a close, having gone exactly where the muse meant them to go. You'll find "Matty Groves" on their first album, 1995's Live at the Mineshaft Tavern, and "My Death Comes a Callin'" on last year's Breakfast Epiphanies, but the band hits its stride on Sweet Things. The many highlights include the slinky hook of "The Man with Saleable Eyes," the tough picking of "Innocent Again," and the loping twang of "I Love You (Oh Well)."
Most of all, the album shows how each member of a quartet can be equally indispensible. Nathan Moore is the acoustic-guitarist, co-vocalist, and songwriter, and he's a master of poetic reveries but also partial to direct lines like "Lord, if I know anything at all / It's that life is such a long fall / You can try flying, but you're better off / Just looking down for something soft." David Tiller is the multi-instrumentalist, dazzling to no end onmandolin. Jeff Sussmann is the drummer, holding everything together with quick hands. And Aimee Curl is the bassist and, as the other vocalist, the band's secret weapon, trumping Natalie Merchant and Edie Brickell with a voice both fresh and old-timey, as if recalled from a long-ago radio show. That said, here's hoping she doesn't get The Big Head and leave the band, for ThaMuseMeant is indeed a band and a marvelous one at that.
Here's the tribute compiled by Jambands.com when TMM stopped playing together.
Southwest Regional Report
Edited by Chris Gardner
First on my mind this month is the demise of Thamusemeant, who I was just catching on to as they beat a hasty retreat from Austin to Fanta Se many years ago. They offered something distinct, individual, and above all honest that will not be forgotten. Check out our fan tribute and Jed's review of their Colorado farewell.
What follows is a pile of love. Below you will see a smattering of bereaved but grateful folk from across the Southwest struggling through their words to say one thing in the end, "I found Thamusemeant, and I will never be the same." At times it is a testament to the power of music, at times to the power of poetry, at times to the power of love, and always to the band's ability to reach inside, jiggle your heartstrings, and flip your mind upside down with a giggle.
If you are in the know, enjoy. If you are saying to yourself, "Who the hell are these guys?" educate yourself here.
"Whatever the end is/Bring it on" - My Love
(Nathan, David, and Aimee at the Wetlands - photo by Matthew Crowley)
"....and then the memory turns inward with a strange, clutching brilliance and one goes over these scenes and incidents perpetually, in dream and reverie , while walking down a street, while lying with a woman, while reading a book, while talking to a stranger....suddenly, but always with terrific insistence and always with terrific accuracy, these memories intrude, rise up like ghosts and permeate every fiber of one's being....we walk with sensitive filaments that drink avidly of past and future...."
--Henry Miller Black Spring
Great art transforms us.æ From the mundane to the sacred, from the real to the unreal, great art assists in uniting heaven, hell, and earth; a point of reference toward the One, an axis mundi in the midst of this mad, chaotic and beautifully strange world.æ For the fortunate ones who had a chance to hear, see and feel what ThaMuseMeant, you know that this was a band not unlike the old time gospel hour. That's right, they gave FAITH to those who were perhaps once faithless. They told us to keep on keepin' on. They showed us that simple reasons are reason enough to believe.
When the lights went down, and Aimee Curl unfurled the first notes on her bass , and David Tiller touched bow to string, and Nathan Moore stepped to the mike, and Jeff Sussman started marking out territory with a beat, and the dancers began to shift and sway, great notions of faith uncovered themselves, our hearts woke up, and we all rubbed our eyes, slowly remembering what we keep forgetting over and over.
We loved ThaMuseMeant because they helped us remember to love ourselves, release ourselves, feel ourselves.æ Nathan Moore's prolific, prophetic and Steinbeckian songwriting gave us who love the Word mantras to mumble in the late night hours when things do not seem so sane. Like Robert Hunter or Bob Dylan, universal truths flew from Moore's pen. Quotables like, "Freedom, that's when somebody holds you/Freedom, that's when/somebody knows you too," made us go, "Ahhh, ain't it the truth!" and in a darkened venue, surrounded by believers, we, "drink avidly of past and future," and let that truth sink deep.
Its been said that music is a common denominator, bringing all walks together. TMM reminds us of our shared human experience with songs like, "One of Them": "no matter how hard you try/to draw a line between you and I," or "Innocent Again": "I as a child/with crazy hair and little hands." They advise us with songs like "Safe": "you can make everything happen for a reason/there's no tragedy that's not the way to go/that's why there's time/that's why there's seasons/that's how we roll on down the road."æ With the help of Tiller, the music itself tells us stories like "Man Chasing Woman (Doctor Chasing Nurse?)Round a Table".æ They tell us our secrets on "Grow Your Own": "lonely your just another face in the crowd/hungry you wander over fertile ground/you want to but you don't/shout out loud."
ææ The music of Tha Muse(not to mention Curl's hauntingly beautiful voice) assists us in our own act of creation and transcendence.æ It is this simple interaction between band and audience that heals.æ We take our memories of retributions, misgivings, missed moments, capped peaks, and bittersweet love--the whole dramatic comedy of our lives and together, we make it OK. We sway to the building harmonies, we sing along- our breath unlocking the mysteries of our body, and we are transported out of the ordinary.
æææææ And what else is there to say about such a band on the eve of their destruction?? Just that nothing ever dies, it is merely born again into a new form. The perfect demise of a band called ThaMuseMeant is simply more evidence of the Muse at work. Great art never stands still, it keeps us reacting and recreating ourselves....keeps us "movin by lovin" and i am left standing at the edge marveling, "Its wild, wild as can be...."
I was saddened to hear of ThaMuseMeant's recent breakup.æ Less than a month before, I had rediscovered their first album, and went on a search for their second. I listened to their music again, for the first time in years, playing it over and over for days on end; hearing it in new ways each time.
I'd first seen ThaMuseMeant in 1993 or 94, when they first arrived in Santa Fe.æ They used to play on the corner of Don Gaspar and San Francisco Streets, just out in the pinon-scented spring air, playing and singing. They were a three-piece then, just David, Aimee and Nathan. Two guitars, a mandolin, and raw chemistry. I saw them perform their first gig at Luna shortly thereafter, in the small pool room / art gallery / happy hour bar during a Tuesday night session. I was instantly captivated by the sound. Okay, I also had an instant crush on Aimee, but the sound was what got me in the first place. The rasp of Nathan's worldly-wise voice up against the ghostly whisper-song of Aimee's on "The Man With Saleable Eyes" was unlike anything I'd ever heard before,æ so intimate that it felt instantaneously familiar.
I heard them sing a lot that summer, and always went to their shows after work, with as many people as I could bring.
I heard "Cheers" for the first time in El Farol some time later, when I was going through a particularly rough time. It was comforting in a hard-edged way; the words "Hey I've been there myself. Here's to your health - Cheers." were at once reassuring and disquieting.ææ As if to say, "Good luck -- you're going to need it, man." Another first at El Farol was "Day of People", which has been, and will be, a favorite for many years to come.
ThaMuseMeant is one of the most versatile and creative bands I've heard. They will be sorely missed. I'm glad to have seen them live as many times as I did, I'll be listening to their recordings for many years to come.
David Lawrence Grant - Ex-Santa Fean
Troutbeck, New York
I first came upon ThaMuseMeant in Telluride, CO.æ I didn't make the show, but while waiting for late night String Cheese shows during the Bluegrass festival. It was the summer of 1998, and I was no more than knee deep in jambandom. Upon arriving in T'ride we strolled down main street and, with perfect timing, our friends stepped outside after TMM show. "Oh man we just saw the best band ever!" was the first thing out of their mouths. I paid it little attention and soon TMM was out of mind. But then, TMM bootlegs and Cd's started to float around me and I finally begin to dig Tha muse ic.
Fast forward one year.
It was again late in the summer. I had seen TMM three times now. I was living in Albuquerque, and after a long stint everywhere but NewMexico TMM was comin home! After an absolutely magical show in Jemez Springs, I was completely hooked. TMM was to play the next three shows in and around N.M., and I was gonna be there.
The first night was in Albuquerque, at Sonny's. That night, Nathan told us how he and the band had sat in the hot springs, and wrote this awesome song called "Grow your Own". That night was pretty wild. The second set was epic. The entire crowd was dripping with sweat, in full unashamed dancing bliss.æ That is what live music is all about; creating audible happiness.
The next night was in Taos. After a gorgeous drive from 'burque I sat my self down to a good helping of Mexican food and a Fat Tire. While I sat and waited for the show to begin, I could see Aimee gearing up for her solo set at The Thirsty Ear Festival the next day. TMM hit the stage with a bang. I remember a very inspiring rendition of "Fates" and "One of Them". The end jam of "One of Them" with soaring fiddle and thunderous rhythm had the crowd amplified. Adding to the sensation was the shared psychedelic adventure, thanks to some friendly locals. ThaMuseMeant stood tall that night, and left me eagerly awaiting the following night in Durango.
This evening was indeed a very special one for many reasons. A great friend of mine for the past few years was moving away. TMM was heading north.æ I was heading back to school. This night, the music was passionate. We got to hear some very rare songs too. That was the only time I ever saw "The Good Song" preformed live. They closed the first set with "Safe". I remember Nathan looking down from the stage and smiling at me as if to say "This is your treat for coming along for the ride." That week, and those four shows will always be some of my favorite memories.
I saw TMM many times after that, and desperately wish I could do so again. They had every piece that a band needs. Breathtaking vocals, truer than life lyrics, a fantastic drummer and a mandolin/fiddle prodigy. Theirs is the music that is closest to the heart. How many other bands sing so openly about love? "Take my advice, find your sugar shuffle and shuffle off into the night. There's nothin like lovin!" "Love don't grow on trees you chop down, gotta grow your own and pass it around." Nathan's lyrics are things I've always thought and felt but could never express.æ At times I felt as if I was singing through him. He writes for every man, woman and baby. I don't hesitate to put him in the same field as Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens. He will take his place among the great song writers in history.
Being a musician is one of the oldest and most noble occupations in our world's history. They help spread history, keep tradition alive. They are the gypsies that tell the people things they cant accept in any other way. To be able to spread love and tolerance and charity and gracefulness through sound vibrations and words is a gift from God.
I'll end this with the truest words ever said to me.æ Words that changed my life.æ "We are here on earth to believe in two things,æ God and Love" amen...
I first heard Thamusemeant at my goddess friend Geneen Reed's house in Mission Beach, San Diego. When I heard the beautiful voice singing the lyrics to "Broken Open"; I was right there, crying. The words she sang spoke to me that night and have continued to have that stirring effect on me. I did indeed state to Geneen that I fell in love with the singer, her fragility coming through, reminding me of the strength in being fragile.
I listen to the cd Geneen gave me, Grow Your Own, while i practice t'ai chi, or do handstands, or just dance in my living room!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR MUSIC; MY SPIRIT HAS BEEN AFFECTED AND THAT FEELS FINE!
Elizabeth A. Lang
I think what made Thamusemeant special to me was that they were my local jamband. People from Austin, TX, where the band spent some time hanging out playing clubs in the mid 90s, to Boulder, CO to Boston, MA knew of the New Mexico jamband. I was proud to say that they were from my town.
The last show I caught was on Mother's Day at a children's museum.æ I was thereæ with my whole family and several close friends.
Thamusemeant breaking up, on top of The Dukes, Albuquerque's triple A ballclub, leaving town, has all but solidified my determination that the Land of Enchantment, a once peaceful and happy place, is crumbling. Farewell Musemeant. I shall miss you.
Even though I live in NM, my first experience with Thamusemeant was a few years ago at the High Sierra Festival. I enjoyed them so much in the great outdoor setting it was, but my very favorite show was just this past Halloween at the El Rey Theater. It was so surreal! Their outfits and the reel footage running behind them... I hope they have some of that show on the video so I can recall on it from time to time. I am sure going to miss them, but I am very grateful to have had their wonderful music fill my ears and being. Peace, love and much music and happiness to all.
I saw ThaMuseMeant in Norman, OK back in 1999. I didn't know who they were. I had just seen an ad in the school news, so I went. My girlfriend had a scene rehearsal, so I went by myself. I was blown away by the sound and the presence of the band.æ Between sets, I ran over to the theatre and motioned for my girlfriend to come over, but I wasn't sure she'd be done and wanted to share this experience with her. So I head back. I bought two CDs and signed the guestbook. My comment was, "I wish my girlfriend could be here to hear this." Or something like that. In she walks. I was so happy. She only heard two songs but the last one of the night was "My Death Comes A Callin'". She's loves people who yodel, and the lyrics were a much improved from what's on the CD. She was so impressed by those that we went the next night to a coffeehouse where they were playing and introduced herself as the girlfriend whom I had wished could see them play. They were happy to meet her saying thing like, "Oh that's you."
Back in early 1995 (or late 1994, i forget exactly) my then fiancÚe and I saw Thamusemeant for the first time. Thamusemeant opened for Eliza Gilkyson and ended up playing for quite some time because Eliza was late getting to the show. We thought they were great! In fact, we were a bit bummed out when Eliza eventually showed up! Anyway, a couple of weeks after the show, my fiancÚe and i were trying to figure out what we were going to do for music at our wedding. We immediately thought it would be great to have this cool band we heard come play at our wedding. Yeah, like a cool band would come and play at our wedding? A friend of a friend of the band encouraged us to ask anyway, so, i ended up calling. I think i first spoke with Dave and explained the setup.æ They agreed! We couldn't believe it!
On September 9th, 1995 Thamusemeant played at our wedding reception held at the Fuller Lodge up in Los Alamos. It was fantastic! They sounded great! My only regret is that we didn't get a clean recording of any of the songs they played (including the song they played for our first dance). My wife's uncle, however, caught the band on video, so we do have a way to remember that special night (though the sound quality on the video is pretty hideous... oh well).æ As time went on, we continued to catch as many local shows as possible. Once our daughter was born, we couldn't get ourselves to evening shows very often if at all (hell, we couldn't stay awake past 8pm! ;-). As time slipped by, my wife and i thought it would be cool to have thee band back for our 5th anniversary. Well, time just flew by... on March 6, 2000 our second child was born: a little boy we named Nathan. With 2 small children time continued to fly by and the next thing we knew September 9, 2000 had come and gone. We really had our hands full during 2000 and now that the band is breaking up we're totally bummed we didn't find the time to follow through on a 5 year anniversary party and try to get the band to play it.
Anyway, we have some wonderful memories of the band and continue to enjoy listening to the albums they put out. We're hoping to either make the show in Taos or the one at El Farol. If we don't get to do it in person both Leslie and I as well as Emily and Nathan wish thee band members all the best.
Dave, Leslie, Emily and Nathan Rich
I first saw ThaMuseMeant at Berkfest 2000 in the Upper Lodge during a midnight set on Saturday. They played a set like I've never heard before. The lyrics were (and are) archaic and raw, intimate and personal. Nathan Moore's lyrics come from a place that no one else knows.
Anyway, I saw them jam that insane night. They took me to a beautiful place, where loving people and life isn't corny or sappy. I don't like mushy music, but I love ThaMuseMeant.
Later that night I heard that they were playing Sunday morning at the main stage, while Keller Williams played at the Sun Dance stage. I made up my mind to skip Keller Williams for ThaMuse, and for anyone who doesn't know, Keller is one nasty guitarist.
I caught some of Keller Williams set before ThaMuseMeant went on, and wouldn't you know it, David Tiller got on stage with Williams and jammed on his fiddle for a little while.
I talked to David Tiller briefly at The Wetlands when they came east. He spoke kindly and gently. These guys are for real. They put all their heart and soul into this music. They love it. It's a shame they didn't have more East Coast fans. I thought ThaMuse should have headlined the show at Wetlands.
ThaMuseMeant will be sorely missed. I only hope that Nathan Moore, Aimee Curl, and David Tiller get back together again someday.æ Who needs a drummer anyway.
Thamusemeant Says Goodbye to Colorado
Hannibal Brown's - Aspen, CO
by Jedediah Smith
Bands split up all the time for whatever reason.æ God Street Wine said they got sick of sleeping on couches and the bus.æ New Mexico's Thamusemeant is just splitting up. I was saddened by the news, though not because I had made any special connection with the band or because their music was especially moving for me.æ I think I just knew I would miss them. They were a good band, and they were at the core of my home state's jamband scene, which isn't a huge scene to begin with. I spoke with singer/songwriter/guitarist Nathan Moore last spring at a Mother's Day show in Santa Fe and asked him what separated Thamusemeant from other jam bands. In a word, he said, "Songwriting". I knew what he meant. Thamusemeant has always had a very strong songwriting technique. The lyrics are very literal and poetic. Moore's influences seem to have the folksy background of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, addressing blue-collar workmanship and romance.æ When he discussed his songwriting, I knew what he meant, but I hadn't quite "gotten it", or just made sense of an entire show...
...until Friday night. On February 9th, Thamusemeant played their final show in Colorado before a small crowd in an Aspen bar called Hannibal Brown's. I drove two hours to see them for one last time and was really excited just to be able to leave work and home behind, even for just a few hours. I arrived early and talked with a guy who had driven 20 hours from Oklahoma just to see the show. He was friends with the band and also sad to see them go. I scanned the crowd for some familiar New Mexican faces but saw none. The band soundchecked with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and a few other covers. Moore said, "You guys are here for the best part: us doing the songs we almost know," after flubbing a lyric, but they sounded good and really looked relaxed.
At the setbreak I took the opportunity to talk to some of the members of the band and try to explain some of my melancholy feelings on the night. They were all obviously sad to be splitting up but seemed in high spirits to be able to play one last time.æ "I'm glad I'm here but I'm kind of sad tonight," I told bassist Aimee Curl. "Me too," was all she said with a bright but shy smile. She wrote, "Chin up," on the poster I asked her to sign.æ The show was tight and the music was great. I was happy when they played "Why You Takin' the Moon," a personal favorite of mine from their third album Sweet Things, and Moore told the story of the band surviving an accident while on tour in the opening bars to the moving ballad "Safe".
I was really glad that I made it Aspen to see Thamusemeant. I don't know how many people in the small bar realized that it was one of their last shows. Some of them may never have heard of Thamusemeant before. I hope they don't forget. Perhaps it was the emotional goodbye of the night, but I think I finally "got it". I opened up to Thamusemeant and made a connection with the songs and with the show. It's too bad it took me until the last show, but better late than never. I hope Thamusemeant decides to reunite after an extended break, and I certainly hope it comes sooner than later. The jam band scene is losing some great songs.
THE SECOND COMING !!! THA MUSE MEANT IS BACK!!!!!!