If America is the melting pot of cultures then Boerne-based outfit Tangible Green is the Statue of Liberty of folk rock. Incorporating genres of years gone-by with intelligent precision and musical acuity, former UTSA student Josh Huval is the mad scientist behind Tangible Green.
Equal parts Neutral Milk Hotel and Bright Eyes, Tangible Green has begun to stir up a buzz in the Central Texas music scene as they begin playing shows in support of their debut album Sleeping on Speakers, released via Bleeding Hearts Records. Delicately sprinkled with an array of influences ranging from jazz and blues to Cajun, Sleeping on Speakers is an astonishingly well-blended mix of sonic and thematic ingredients that bakes into a spectacularly structured album rich in technical marksmanship.
In true Cajun form, Tangible Green is a family affair. Alongside front man Josh Huval is his younger brother Dan, who plays bass and handles a large amount of the band’s recording, mixing, and mastering process. The Huval brothers’ musical propensity comes as no coincidence. While the entire extended Huval family has a musical inclination, Josh’s uncle Brazos Huval helped shape not only Tangible Green’s musical approach, but also the very foundation of Cajun folk music.
Josh explained, “My uncle was Grammy nominated three times. He was in this band called Steve Riley and Mamou Playboys and they are one of the more influential Cajun bands in the world. They were one of the first to go out with Cajun music and lay it on the line and kind of say ‘this is what Cajun music is, this is what we’re about.’ They played at the Newport Folk Festival the same year as Bob Dylan did and just got their music out and exposed it to the rest of the world outside of Louisiana.”
The extent of his family’s profound influence on Huval’s music stretches beyond their Cajun background. It was through family members that he first discovered the classic jazz and blues tunes that would come to mold his own musical repertoire. “I was exposed to the music at a young age through my family, but I really found the appreciation on my own. I knew what the music sounded like but not exactly what it meant.” Huval continued, “As I got older and had more life experiences I really found out that music was all about emotion, not necessarily the technical aspect of it but the sentiments behind the expression. This led me to look at Jimi Hendrix as my most major musical influence, really because he took old techniques, made it his own, and presented it in a new modern way that has sustained through time. Even if you don’t listen to Hendrix directly you still feel his presence in a chronological, influential manner. I also listen to a lot of older blues stuff, guys like Robert Johnson, people that did music because they loved it– authentic and artistic.”
Tangible Green’s music takes a life of its own on stage. In between songs band members will pepper in improvised jam sessions and awe-inspiring solos, all while staying true to the flow of their songs. The cohesiveness of Tangible Green’s music, both live and recorded, is something that Josh Huval takes great pride in. “With music, just like math, science, and language, it’s all about communicating. If you want to communicate effectively you must have a well-formulated sentence and not be chopped up with commas and other punctuation. Some bands make the mistake of not having a smooth progression. They want to incorporate a lot of different styles which is great, but you can’t just say ‘Oh I want to play stoner rock here, reggae here, and jazz here.’ You have to find a way to mold it all into one and not just chop pieces up. Your music has to be a functioning body.”
For a band draped in art and musical appreciation it seems as though the sky is the limit for Tangible Green. The band’s debut album Sleeping on Speakers is available for download on a donation basis at http://bleedingheartsrecords.tumblr.com/sleepingonspeakers.