You know you've got a truly unique sound when the media assigns you your own genre. The Tea Party is a perfect example. Going beyond blues and prog rock to incorporate Celtic, Middle Eastern and Indian influences, the Canadians' eclectic work has been dubbed "Moroccan roll." After a hiatus in the 2000s, the band has reunited and is back on tour across North America to promote its latest album, The Ocean at the End.
The Tea Party's background
Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows all grew up together in Windsor, Ontario. But it wasn't until an epic 1990 jam session in Toronto that they came together to form The Tea Party. The group released their self-titled debut the following year on their own label, Eternal Discs. In 1993, they signed with EMI Music Canada and released Splendor Soils.
One of their most commercially successful albums, The Edges of Twilight, followed in 1995, achieving double-platinum status in Canada and scooping up several Juno Award nominations. Transmission (1997) was greeted with a similar reception, rising to No. 3 on the Canadian Albums chart. In 1999, Triptych earned the group a No. 1 Canadian single with the song "Heaven Coming Down."
The Tea Party disbanded in 2005 due to creative differences. It was six years before band members would come together again for a series of tour dates, and they've been touring ever since.
The multi-instrumentalists of the Tea Party
Part of the Tea Party's eclectic, constantly surprising sound comes from the instrumental versatility of its musicians. Jeff Martins plays the guitar, sitar, banjo, mandolin, hurdy gurdy and sarod, among other instruments, while Stuart Chatwood handles bass, keyboard, harmonium, tambura and cello.