Remedy Tree: the Cure for What Ails You
by Stephen Pitalo
“If I had some remedy, I’d take enough to please me,” wrote the Black Crowes back in 1992, but Southern bluegrass fans are definitely pleased with Remedy Tree, a six-year-old band whose style is garnering them adulation. Whether you call it “new modern bluegrass”, or “progressive acoustic” or even “high energy jam grass”, it’s experiencing success and notice amongst fans and critics alike. But founder band founder Gabriel Acevedo hears it differently.
“Remedy Tree is Americana-folk with influences from ‘old-time,’ bluegrass, and even hints of classical music,” he said.
As the 2018 Florida State Fiddle Champion, Gabriel started the band three years earlier. After moving to St. Augustine in 2014 with his wife Abigail, Gabriel wanted to perform his growing collection of original songs. Abigail grew up as a singer and guitarist in the Morse Family Band, so she joined him onstage playing guitar, and then stand-up bass. With the addition of a cellist, Remedy Tree was fully formed by 2015.
“We are not very strict when it comes to genre specifically. Though we definitely operate under the folk umbrella, I would describe us as lyric-driven, Americana-folk with influences of bluegrass, old-time, and even hints of classical.”
Gabriel explained how he started writing songs when he was about 11. “Back then my inspirations were more bluegrass driven: Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Dailey and Vincent, and Kenny and Amanda Smith were some of my early musical heroes. The more I wrote, the more I took to the indie-folk movement, and gravitated toward Mumford and Sons, Peter Bradley Adams, and Matthew and the Atlas.”
His current favorites include Mandolin Orange, Town Mountain, and The Steel Drivers, but today he “still pulls from everywhere for inspiration.”
Gabriel serves as the main songwriter for Remedy Tree, but Abigail’s sister, Leah Lynn has collaborated with Gabriel on several songs for the band.
“I’ve written songs in the middle of a busy kitchen, singing to myself in my head,” said Gabriel about when the inspiration strikes. “Lots of times I’ll come up with an idea and write it down, then sit down later and finish the thought. That being said, I think the best of my inspiration happens when I’m in my studio alone in perfect silence, just me and my thoughts.”
Back in 2017, the band’s tour across several states in the Southeast was a landmark moment for the band to congeal.
“Our tour was all self-booked and we mostly camped along the way,” Gabriel said of their unconventional traveling style. “We found some amazing campsites. Our tour spanned nine days, and we played small venues throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, including The Cave in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; the North Georgia Folk Festival in Athens, Georgia; and the Blue Plate Special, in Knoxville Tennessee.”
Gabriel takes the stage life of Remedy Tree as a responsibility more than a vocation.
“The platform that music gives us to impact the world is performing,” Acevedo commented, “since it is the biggest thing we have. Even if we play an empty bar, if there’s one person that enjoyed and listened, and was touched in a positive way, that makes it all worth it. We are greatly blessed to have that opportunity.”