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"Exploring the Olive Tree Madmen: A Live Music Experience "

Nick, Colin, Mike, Coleman, Dan and: Buhtta"; Madmen indeed, but not in the conventional sense. These individuals are mad with passion, talent, and an unyielding love for music. Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing them at their residency venue, "(The Olive Tree Cafe in Greenwich Village in NYC), on a Monday night, and I can confidently say they did not disappoint. From the very first note, they were engaging and compelling. One of the most striking aspects of this group is their eclectic composition. Each member brings their own unique flavor to the table, allowing them to cover a wide range of musical styles with ease and authenticity.

Let's start with Mike Davis, whose soulful voice immediately commands attention. Reminiscent of the late Teddy Pendergrass, Mike possesses the ability to infuse a song with raw emotion, punctuating it with powerful howls and grunts that leave a lasting impression. Yet, he can just as easily turn around and caress your heart with a beautiful ballad; he’s incredible. He is a lyrical tenor and can reach inconceivably high notes just when you think he can’t go any further. One standout moment was his rendition of Jason Mraz's soft reggae tune "I'm Yours". When I hear an interpretation of a song and it’s so damn good, I think about the original artist and wish they could hear it. I’m sure Jason would be truly impressed with Mike’s version. He really did it justice.

Adding to the group's diversity is Colin Smith, whom I will affectionately deem, "Thee Irishman." With his haunting rendition of Raglan Road, an old classic Irish ballad, Colin transported the entire room to the streets of Dublin. At that moment we were all just patrons in an Irish pub.  In addition to his vocal prowess, Colin showcases his talent as a guitarist, providing impeccable instrumental support alongside his colleague, Nick Cassarino, hailing from Vermont. Nick transitions from delivering spirited country tunes to, particularly soulful melodies, paying homage to legends like Bobby Womack and BB King; stick around for "Emiline" and "Across 110th St"; you're guaranteed to stomp your feet or totally get into the groove of these.

The horn section of the Madmen, Dan and Coleman are very competent players who add passion and vitality to the bohemian personnel of the band; 2 guitarists, sax, trombone, and a small percussive setup..featuring drummer, Bhutta. Coleman(trombonist)even offers up vocals on Cumba Chero, a very upbeat Latin Cuban standard; fine job. The inclusion of a horn section offers yet another depth and layer to the already solid base provided by the guitars

When I’m in the mood for live music I don’t want my time wasted. That's a cynical approach to being a musician but, while it may sound odd...I don’t like to go out and hear music. Maybe it's because I’m a bandleader and played in a cover band for many years, and have heard it seems, every song under the sun; many times over. So, why would I want to go out to hear, Piano Man AGAIN? Because, as a musician and bandleader, you may find inspiration and fresh ideas by observing other performers and their approaches to music. Even if you have played in cover bands for years and heard countless songs, there's always something new to learn and appreciate from watching live performances. At least that's what I tell myself when I step out the door. Whether it's a new technique, a different interpretation, or simply the joy of witnessing live music being brought to life; it's an opportunity to connect with fellow music lovers and artists in a shared space. It's a chance to exchange stories, insights, and perspectives with people who share your passion for music.

"Look at these handsome devils"

Seeing a performer up close, witnessing their emotions, and interacting with them creates a sense of intimacy that can only be achieved through the live experience.

The Olive Tree Madman reminded me that it's important to remember the unique and irreplaceable experiences that live music offers. Each live performance is a chance to immerse yourself in the majesty of music, to be transported, and to rediscover the joy and wonder of the art form that you love. I would adamantly encourage you to give the Madman a chance, just to see where the music takes you. If anyone can provide a one-of-a-kind experience that engages all your senses, and offers you a personal connection to the performance, it's these wonderful guys. Their distinct qualities make going out to hear live music an irreplaceable and unforgettable experience. Thank you, Madmen, for reviving my spirit.

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"The spirit of music  is the spirit of freedom, collaboration and improvisation.  It's a constant reminder for us to find harmony within the chaos"

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