Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Great American Taxi, whose current album Reckless Habits is climbing the Americana radio airplay charts, has donated a free download of a song, “Appalachian Soul” culled from its debut album Streets of Gold, to raise awareness of the plight of coal miners and their communities in West Virginia. The track is offered free to radio stations that agree to direct listeners to GreatAmericanTaxi.com, which in turn links to West Virginia Council of Churches website, which collects donations for the miners.
GAT frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, comments: “Great American Taxi sends our thoughts out to the families and communities effected by the mining disaster at the upper big branch mine. We hope that their unconquerable Appalachian spirit and families can help them navigate these difficult times. The country and the world share in their grief. We need coal. We need our miners to be safe. We need understanding on all sides of this contentious issue of our national energy policy. We would like to make Taxis' tribute to that Appalachian spirit available as a download here and suggest a donation to the WV council of churches to assist the families of our fallen brothers. Let's all come together and honor the families who have paid that ultimate price for our energy needs and hope that this is the last such disaster we must face.”
In the past five years, Great American Taxi has become one of the best-known headliners on the jam band circuit, their uninhibited sound a swinging concoction of swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky tonk, gospel and good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll. That loose, anything-can-happen feel is the hallmark of Reckless Habits, the band’s second album, which was recorded in Loveland, Colo., with producer Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth) bringing the feel of an onstage performance to the recording process. The new album was released through Thirty Tigers on March 2, 2010.
Blurt called Reckless Habits “a giddy combination of boogie, blues, bluegrass, nu-grass and honky-tonk, it's as readily infectious and genuinely freewheeling as its eclectic content might imply. Hopefully this Great American Taxi will continue to take listeners along for similarly spirited rides in the future.” Country Standard Time called it “a well rounded album that fully pays homage to Gram Parsons and his vision of a cosmic American sound that incorporates all the pages of the American Roots songbook.”
When banjo player Mark Vann of Leftover Salmon died of cancer in 2002, that band desolved. Salmon singer/guitarist/mandolinist Vince Herman had a few rough years and survived a broken neck before joining keyboardist Chad Staehly for a superstar jam to benefit the Rainforest Action Group in Boulder in March 2005. “We put together a dream band of the best local musicians for a one-off gig,” Herman recalls. “It worked so well we had to do it again, and again, and again.” And so Great American Taxi was born. The current lineup includes Herman, Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.