OG Garden's Creativity Blossoms on "Revive Me"

The guys in OG Garden have a bet going on which of the four songs on their EP “Revive Me”—released today on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Bandcamp, and their website—will get the most streams. Lead vocalist Troy Garrick and saxophone player Kurtis Shaffer are happily surprised at my choice, the opening track “Hidden Languages,” though I tell them truthfully that it was a hard choice to make. 

The tracks don’t fit in any preset categorical box, but in the box that OG Garden has mentally made since forming last year to keep their sound grounded to their true sound. 

“We had two demos recorded that were on our SoundCloud for a while, earlier when we were formed,” Garrick says. “The EP was a long process of writing songs, performing them, getting a little bit of feedback through those performances on the vibe that a lot of people that came to our shows really enjoyed. The four songs that we selected are a combination of our initial fan base’s favorites and our own favorites.”

If you’ve seen OG Garden live in the last five months, you’ve heard the songs—“Hidden Languages,” “Boyfriend,” “Ego,” and “Revive Me.” Garrick notes that some features of the songs changed and were enhanced in the mixing and mastering process to give them a freshness for fans. These tried-and-true tracks are sound-defining, and the band has firmly established their sound in this cohesive conglomerate. 

Shaffer, drummer Micah Ritchie, bassist Byron Crenshaw, keyboard player Joey Listrom, and guitarist Hunter Strasser are all students of the jazz program at UNT. The only non-music major, Garrick said their ability to build off of each other in such an improvisational way is something he has picked up on, and meshes well with the group’s collective creation process.

“We usually just jam, and then when we find a seed of an idea that we like to try to harvest it and try to nurture it and see where it goes,” Shaffer says. “It can really come from anywhere. It can come from the drummer playing a certain groove and it inspires something else. There’s no one songwriter; it’s all collective.”

The tracks are ballad-like, and range in the stories they tell and how those messages are conveyed. For example, “Ego” is upbeat in telling about a person so consumed with themselves that they notice everything but know that they deserve only the absolute best, the “perfect tens” of the world. The favorite track of half the band, “Boyfriend” is the most soulful and reminiscent of imploring love R&B classics, even with the electronic flair from Listrom shining through. “Hidden Languages” and “Revive Me” serve as two juxtaposing bookends to the EP. Part of the reason “Hidden Languages” ends up being my favorite is because it’s a poppy, jazzy song about misunderstanding, while “Revive Me” is a song of yearning and a concrete solution to the issues presented in the first track. No matter the song, Garrick’s voice is deep and rich, yet soars over the precise and incredibly thoughtful instrumentation. Each song is different, but the sound is organic, changing, and yet, uniquely OG Garden. 

OG Garden is embarking on a big booking campaign now, with shows at Backyard on Bell and elsewhere in Denton in the works, and looking to expand their efforts into a full-length, story-driven album soon. Sofar Sounds is releasing a video of “10,000 Ways,” one of the album considerations. 

“We encourage people to go out and support us if they really are into it. Buy the album from us and stream it and put it on their playlists, share it with all their friends,” Garrick says. “If there’s one thing that our fans say to us, it’s that they want to see us succeed. I think they’ll do anything as much as we will to make sure that we get out there.”