Great American Taxi are a rock & roll classic, a timeless mixture of gutsy pop, calloused hand country, blue-eyed R&B, and bare-knuckle barroom chooglin’ with songs for the everyman and woman grinding out the working week and anxious to shuffle the day’s cares away. The inheritors of the good times-bad times mojo of Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, and Lowell George-era Little Feat, GAT are boogie rock champs with big beating hearts backed up by thousands of gigs and highway miles – real music for real people living each day as best they can, dreaming about Friday nights and scoring a few breaks in this wicked world.
After some evolutionary changes, the core lineup now centers around Chad Staehly (keyboards, vocals), Jim Lewin (guitar, vocals), Brian Adams (bass, vocals) and newest member Arthur Lee Land (guitar, banjo, vocals) with guest drummer Duane Trucks (Hard Working Americans, Widespread Panic) joining them on the group’s latest, strongest studio effort, Dr. Feelgood’s Traveling Medicine Show, which was produced by Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone. Since the departure of founding member Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon), the band has refined and expanded their vision of what Gram Parsons called Cosmic American Music, a deeply felt, gently groovy kind of Americana that one can down a pitcher of suds to while contemplating life, the universe, and everything.
“If there is real intention and emotion behind the act of shaping sound, then real life is injected into the sounds, resulting in music and songs that can be embraced by the listener into a real experience that allows them to relate on an emotional level,” says Staehly.
“I love the improvisational conversation,” adds Lee Land. “Taxi’s interpretive approach makes each experience unique and the magic that occurs within the three-part alchemy of the music, the band, and the audience is a major turn on.”
“It’s a community thing and a form of creative expression,” says Lewin. “I like how music touches the past and winds a narrow path into the future. On a good night it can reveal hidden truths, psychic energy, and an occasional glimpse of spirit. And, I like the free beer.”
Dr. Feelgood’s Traveling Medicine Show roars out with a country roadhouse bounce, declaring, “We can run as fast as our heart beats.” Elsewhere there’s the bell bottom blues of “Sunshiny Days,” reflective shuffle “Home,” the classic AM radio jump of “Everybody,” the rawhide gypsy dance of the title tune, PBR raising anthem “Out On The Town,” and the shimmering sigh of closer “Mother Lode” – all part of a well-rounded journey that actually takes one somewhere.
With active solo and studio work, membership in other projects, and several lifetimes under their belts, the men of GAT approached their first set of non-road tested material – which features originals from Staehly, Lewin and Lee Land (who teams up with his wife Carol Lee for lyrics on all of his compositions) – with open minds and an eagerness to explore the full range of their collective talents.
“This band has done some miles. We have a museum’s worth of stories. But this lineup is especially strong, taking things to some really cool new levels,” observes Lewin. “The new members add a jolt of energy that really kicks the Taxi into gear. We’ve been having some pretty epic odysseys during the jam sections.”
Dr. Feelgood’s Traveling Medicine Show was recorded at Silo Sound Studios in Denver, CO in late 2014 and again in early 2015 with studio owner-engineer Todd Divel and Carbone producing.
“Tim has giant ears along with an amazing level of focus and attention that keeps the ship sailing in the studio without losing track of any of the details,” says Staehly. “Sometimes we had to rein him in a bit because he has so many ideas that it wasn’t possible to get to all of them, but luckily Todd allowed us to turn off the clock and go for as many of them as possible and really create some high art.”
The result is a feeling-filled, invigorating calling card for the latest chapter in Great American Taxi’s tale of American fortitude and active dreaming with many on-ramps for fellow travelers. Already veterans of the national club scene and festival circuit, the band has settled into switched-on maturity in style, ready to connect with fans, old and new, and give them a reason or three to smile and lift their heels.
“We have a crew of grizzled pirates that could steal a crown jewel from the head of a pig. I would trust these guys with my very life, if I still had one,” chuckles Lewin. “We team up to help each other musically climb from deep, dark valleys to high mountain peaks. Then, we kick each other off the cliffs. Keeps us on our toes.”