Enter Ted Garber.
Listen to a song like “Giving Tree,” with its blues-y, jazz-y vibe and get lost in the vocal performance. Part folk narrative and part scat-rap, Garber not only captures the New Orleans atmosphere with the lyrics, but with the sounds. With harmonica wailing at the most opportune times, the music has that shuffle amidst the oppressive humidity of the Deep South. Brass sections crying out their Dixieland wail while the gas lamps burn through the night. And, maybe more important, the music has an organic quality to it as it captures a soulful essence. Lyrically calling for mankind to be good to mankind, Garber is speaking on a universal level, maybe even in a metaphysical karmic sense, that life would be whole lot better, in every facet, if we just gave a little bit to each other, one good deed, etc. He hits the nerve with the line, “Don’t gotta’ be no Rockefeller just to help another fella,” which gets me thinking about the clan of homeless folk living in my neighborhood park. See? The power of conviction.