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Album Review

Boris Garcia: It's Time For Tea


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Boris Garcia: It's Time For Tea
Following Once More Into The Bliss (Dig Music, 2008) and Around Some Corner (Self-Produced, 2017) with It's Time For Tea, Boris Garcia now fully transcends any glib labeling such as "progressive bluegrass, "Americana" or "jamband." And that is notwithstanding the production on all three studio projects by a kindred spirit in the person of Railroad Earth's Tim Carbone (who, tellingly, has also played with them live and on record). The Philadelphia-based fivesome with the ever-so-cryptic moniker has come into its own.

The 42-plus minutes of original songs here are as carefully crafted as they are broadly eclectic. Newly British-recruited British drummer Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention) no doubt felt right at home playing on the opening "Tea Time" with its Beatlesque background vocals. Further enhancing the spirit of Jolly Olde England is the piano: whether it is the latter percussionist or band mainstay Bud Burroughs on the ivories matters less than the a surprise turn from the acoustic heart of the arrangement.

There is an engaging undercurrent of humor in that track too. The tongue-in-cheek tone renders all the more accessible the four-square rock of "Everybody Knows" and actually heightens its marked contrast with the preceding quasi-waltz. The interplay of solos like that on "Wasted" is similarly fetching, as is the blending of acoustic instruments with Burroughs' keyboards, especially the synthesizer.

Carbone helps emphasize the unity of the band in formulating tracks like this and "Go Long." As a result, Boris Garcia never overextends itself instrumentally any more than chief songwriters Bob Stirner and Jeff Otto overreach when writing lyrics; the melding of verbiage with an undulating melody line is beguiling on the fanciful "Just Run Way."

Songs like that and "Love Me Only" contain their own center of gravity, too. The pedal steel lines circle gracefully around author Stirner's lead vocal on that cut, while his comrade Otto delicately picks the ukulele, illustrating how Boris Garcia is nothing if not an empathetic collective of singers and musicians. No doubt that virtue is one of the main reasons Carbone collaborates with them so fruitfully.

Economy is the byword on It's Time For Tea. The recording and mixing by Don Sternecker (plus mastering by Jim Wilson) ensure each of the sonic components receives its proper due, so there is little danger of Boris Garcia losing its sense of purpose or direction, much less its distinctive identity. How else could the group sound so carefree performing a song like this closer "Running Off The Road?"

Track Listing

Tea Time; Everybody Knows; Go Long; Wasted; Breathe; Love Me Only; It'sTime; Just Run Away; She Said To Me; Running Off The Road.


Boris Garcia: band / orchestra; Jeff Otto: voice / vocals; Bob Stirner: voice / vocals; Bud Burroughs: keyboards; E. J. Simpson: bass; Dave Mattacks: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Jeff Otto: ukulele; Bob Stirner: guitar; Bud Burroughs: mandolin, piano, harp, banjo, guitar, Marxophone; vocals; Dave Mattacks: percussion, piano; Tim Carbone: fiddle, hand percussion; Graham Ford: backing vocals; Joanne Lediger: backing vocals; Bill Patton pedal steel; Mike Robinson: pedal steel.

Album information

Title: It's Time For Tea | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Porchwerk Music

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