Woods Tea Company is an American folk music group based in Vermont. They perform a wide variety of songs, including sea shanties, folk songs, Irish drinking songs, and Celtic music. The group is known for their energy, musical talent, and their dry sense of humor between songs.
Woods Tea Company was started in 1981 in Burlington, Vermont by Bruce Morgan and Rusty Jacobs. The band got its name from a wooden storage box owned by Jacobs that had "Woods Tea Co." printed on its side. Mike Lussen joined the band several years later.
Bruce Morgan left the band in the late 1980s. Howard Wooden officially joined the band in 1992, and Tom MacKenzie followed a year later. In 2000, MacKenzie left the band, and was replaced by Chip Chase.
The band became a regular feature at Colgate University, where the students knew the band's material. Between songs, students often shout 'Arrgh!' to poke fun at the group's sea shanties. To honor this, MacKenzie wrote a song called "Aargh!" for the students.
The band suffered several losses in its third decade. On October 6, 2006, Chase died from a massive pulmonary embolism. He had been hit by a pickup truck while riding his motorcycle several weeks earlier. A year later, on August 15, 2007, Jacobs died of a heart attack.
Following the deaths, MacKenzie started touring with the group, and eventually rejoined the band full-time. In late 2008, Patti Casey became the band's newest member. In June of 2010, Mike Lussen retired from the group.
There are currently three members of Woods Tea Company:
Howard Wooden - vocals, guitar, bass, bodhran,
Tom MacKenzie - vocals, hammered dulcimer, guitar, banjo, keyboards, ukelele,
Patti Casey - vocals, guitar, penny whistle, flute, bodhran,
Mike Lussen - vocals, banjo, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran,
Bruce Morgan - Vocals, guitar, mandolin, concertina,
(D) Chip Chase - vocals, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bodhran,
(D) Rusty Jacobs - vocals, guitar, tin whistle