Seldovia Was A Dream…

We promised we wouldn’t tell anyone about Seldovia, the tiny, remote Alaskan village accessible only by boat or plane, across from the Kenai peninsula. I promised not to write about the deep blue waters and the river otters that carelessly float by, noisily eating shellfish, or the bald eagles that soar overhead with the frequency and brazenness of city pigeons, or the wholesome, warm hospitality offered up by the locals, or the warm golden-bronze sunsets that last for hours around solstice weekend. I said I wouldn’t write about these things, and the little village whose motto is “Alaska’s Best Kept Secret”, but apparently I lied.

The Seldovia Arts Council brought in Tumbledown House to headline the 20th Annual Seldovia Solstice Music Festival, along with The Sahnas Brothers, Emily Anderson, wonderful Western duo Noah Proctor and Kelly Baber, good friend and illustrious Alaska-based songstress Kat Moore, and local dudes Daryl and the Scribs. Oftentimes, we don’t really get a chance to hear the other acts at music festivals (much less interact, share stories, and stir the communal cauldron of inspiration), but the pace of this festival was quite different – as soon as people started jamming on the ferry across the water, I had the feeling there would be plenty of music all weekend.

As previously mentioned, Seldovia is really small: the term ‘village’ might even be generous and misleading. The town boasts 255 year-round residents from a variety of backgrounds, and has a really interesting history as most of the town was destroyed in the famous 1964 earthquake. The entire landmass dropped six feet (which seems absolutely insane to me) and the entire boardwalk and most of the homes and businesses were destroyed. We were put up in a gorgeous BnB on the new boardwalk, which overlooked a beautiful tidal slough. Our hosts, Suzie and Jerry couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating – we highly recommend checking out their website and staying in this house if you ever visit Seldovia.

The festival consisted of performances throughout the day at local businesses (inside of coffee shops or filling a patio that sits within the two blocks or so constituting the Main St.), along with more produced nightly performances at the local K-12 school. Several artists led workshops (we facilitated a songwriting workshop where we deconstructed one of our songs and discussed techniques for arranging, instrumentation, and composition) and there were ample opportunities to meet and connect with lots of members of the community, as well as music appreciators that traveled to Seldovia and camped or stayed in their boats.

Again, the opportunity to have such a level of engagement with the audience is unfortunately pretty rare: standard procedure involves getting to the gig, sound checking, having dinner, playing the gig, and going on your merry way. During this weekend, we chatted with locals in the coffee shops during the day and ended up drinking whisky over at Jerry’s place at night. We met some precocious kids that came to our workshop, one of whom got a private clarinet lesson from Thatcher. After the show on Saturday, we ended up with a lot of the other artists on the beach, still jamming around a bonfire at 3am, swimming and singing, as the sun put on its longest show of the year.

All in all, the weekend was pretty damn special. We’re no strangers to the charms of Alaska, but there is something uniquely alluring about Seldovia. We met some interesting folks, had a wonderful time performing our music for a new crowd, and ate more salmon than a Denali brown bear, but there is something more going on there. I’m increasingly convinced that the smaller music festivals are where it’s at, where the power of music to bring together communities of people, oftentimes with different political or ideological beliefs, is in full display. I think that’s what was really special about Seldovia: a lot of people came together that weekend and shared a really enriching experience that was centered solely around music. I said that I’d keep my mouth shut about it, but anyone that knows me probably isn’t surprised that I simply couldn’t.

For more pics and vids, check the Tumbledown Insta.

At the 11th Hour…

Alaska Tour 2019Next month we’ll be returning to Alaska for a short little tour, making this our 11th trip to that incredibly unique, beautiful, and rugged landscape. I took this photo at about 5 am in Homer. I was making my way back to the hotel and was so inspired by the morning light that I trudged down into a bog and stood in mud up to my knees to get this shot. We’ve heard great things about the festival in Seldovia and are so excited to see friends old and new and play music in unbelievably gorgeous settings. Hope to see you out there.

Happy End of 2018, Friends!

It’s the time of year when reflection is nigh and hopefully regrets are few. Although there is always room for growth of all varieties, we had a wonderful year here at Tumbledown Headquarters and 2019 already looks to have UPPER LEVEL SHENANIGANS in store (and you’re invited!). But first some reflection:

As has been our custom, January has been a great month for downtime and cheap travel for us, a great combo that invigorates our creative juices, and 2018 was no different. Tyler traipsed all around India and Gillian, newly married, honeymooned in China and Indonesia. This coming January has Tyler swooping off to Morocco and beyond, and Gillian is grateful to have free time to see some girlfriends and accompany her folks in Denver for her dad’s upcoming surgery. Perhaps a quick jaunt somewhere is in store afterwards.

February found us in Arizona for two fabulous shows: The Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale and The Elks Theater in our old stomping grounds, Prescott. How good it was to be back among the amazing friends we found there. It’s such a magical place full of wonderful people and we hope to return again and again.

By March, we were on the road with friends and bandmates, John Brothers Piano Company for a tour through northern Cali and up to Eugene, Oregon and Portland. We then jumped on a plane and played some Montana shows! The Ellen Theatre in Bozeman is a special time with our original supporters (we love you!) and of course we couldn’t play Great Falls, Montana without a trip to see the mermaids.

April, May, and June were a blur of local events including a very intimate, special wedding show for friends, another quick trip to Montana for a private soiree, and tons of planning and work on our other local artistic endeavors, including a live music stage Tyler and Gillian help run at a local music festival.

July found us playing for fantastic audiences in Vegas and Reno (we love how seriously Reno is taking THE ARTS. If you thought you knew Reno and didn’t like it, try it again; there is VERY cool stuff happening there these days). And then on to Alaska for our TENTH TOUR up there (Salmonfest!) complete with a full Bay Area band. It was a riot. It had been a few years since our last tour up there and it was SO good to see our wonderful friends again. Man, the people we have met through music…we are beyond blessed.

When autumn hit, it was our intense music conference season, and we found ourselves lanyard-clad and performing for music industry people from all over the globe, showcasing and attending Western Arts Alliance (LV, NV), South Arts Exchange (Orlando, FL), Arts Northwest (Eugene, OR), and Folk Alliance FAR-WEST (LA). This is always both exhausting and inspiring, but ultimately it’s great confirmation that we are members of a beautiful community. Conferences can open doors we didn’t know existed, and it’s also great talking shop with other musicians and seeing the varied talent out there.

That pulled us into the winter and much communication over the events of 2019! We have surprises in store that need finalizing but we can go ahead and encourage you to take a Valentine’s Day trip to the Yucatán, ‘cuz Tumbledown House is playing the Full Moon Jazz Festival in Merida, Mexico, baby! We are so excited to party it up on February 16th and hope all of you consider making a little trip south of the border to party down in the beautiful Yucatán. Stay tuned for more exciting tidbits as we roll into a new year.

In the meantime, we hope you are all safe, healthy, happy, and finding much inspiration and satisfaction from the world of music around you.

Happy holidays, friends.
Tumbledown House

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” –Charles Darwin

New Live Videos!!

This summer, we played some of the biggest shows of our careers, including gigs at The Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale, AZ, The Ellen Theatre in Bozeman, MT, shows for the Las Vegas Library District, and an exceptionally special performance in front of an at-capacity crowd of 1000 in Reno, NV for Artown!

We filmed the Artown performance and have released two live videos that we are very excited to share with you! The first is an introduction to the band followed by our song, Shaky Little Thing (from our latest album). The second video is an original song from our second album, called “The Racetrack Song”.

We just have a few shows in the Bay before we’re off for an EXTRAVAGANZA of industry conferences. We were selected as Official Showcase presenters and will be testing our sanity by attending the Performing Arts Exchange in Orlando FL, Arts Northwest in Eugene OR, and FAR-WEST Folk Alliance (LA) conferences back to back to back. What results this will yield professionally, financially, or psychologically, are anyone’s guess. Catch ya on the flip side!

All Quiet on the Western Front?

Well, dear readers, it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Please don’t mistake our online absence for inactivity! Let me assure you, we’ve been everything but quiet.

2017 was quite the breakthrough year for us. Through new relationships with booking agencies and contacts met (largely through the Western Arts Alliance) we’ve finally broken into the next level of venues (not literally). Last year, we began performing in more Main St. Theaters, Performing Arts Centers, and free, large, outdoor performances. We’ve expanded our ensemble and are currently performing with a much more lush instrumentation, including clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drums, and of course the kazoo. We’ve written some new songs, traveled to far away places (and dealt with the accompanied gastronomical complications), and hell, one of us even got married.

2018 is the year that we explode onto the national scene like a crate of fireworks in the back of a pickup driven by a haphazard cigar smoker. It’s the year we paint our names across the walls like a toddler with a new set of Crayolas. It’s the year that we look back on when we were older and ask ourselves ‘What the hell were we thinking?”, and we couldn’t be more excited.

First up, tours to Arizona, Montana, the Pacific Northwest, and Nevada! (hey friends, it’s been a while). More info on our local San Francisco Area dates below:

Arizona – February 16th and 17th

2/16/18 – KERR CULTURAL CENTER
Scottsdale, AZ
Tickets – https://www.ticketmaster.com/tumbledown-house-asu-kerr-cultural-center-scottsdale-az/venueartist/204827/2403604
FB Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/1547842751928039/

2/17/18 – THE ELKS THEATRE
Prescott, AZ
Tickets – http://www.prescottelkstheater.com/event/02fda1d9f7983617ff9111662de45907
FB Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/165879904002061/

Montana – March 16

3/16/18
THE ELLEN THEATER
Bozeman, MT
Tickets – https://theellentheatre.secure.force.com/ticket (scroll down)
FB Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/547836888935325/
(This will likely sell out)

We’re currently booking a tour in the Pacific Northwest for March 14th-17th. Stay tuned to tumbledownhouse.com (our better yet, our Facebook Page!) for announcements!

We’ll be performing in Reno and Las Vegas in July and will announce those dates as the time draws near! In the meantime, here’s our video we finished at the end of last year for our song, an Ode to Josephine Baker. May she serve as an inspiration to us all. If you’re not familiar with her story, stop everything and check out her unbelievable life story.

Rock steady babe,
Tumbledown House

Live Radio Show!

Tonight we’re performing on the Fog City Blues live radio show. Tune in at 9pm (PST) to hear us perform some of our new songs and talk about the absurdity of life, the universe, and everything! Live stream here: http://kalw.org/listen-kalw#stream/0

We have lots of fun shows coming up! Hope to see you somewhere down the line.

Cheers,
TDH

CDs and Downloads of our New Album Now Available!

Orders placed here are shipping out now, before the album becomes widely available for purchase through all major retailers in early December (Itunes, Amazon, etc.).

High Quality Downloads available through Bandcamp. (You can preview all of the tracks here as well)

For Physical CDs please click below for a secure Paypal transaction. $12.99 + shipping

J100We’re extremely excited to present our third full-length album, Sum and Substance. As per usual, the 9 original songs on this new album hail from a broad range of themes, moods, and genres. There is an upbeat swing tune with blazing horns about the life of Josephine Baker. There is a dark, backwoodsy song about experimenting with plant medicine in the Peruvian jungle. Another number describes the dating scene in San Francisco through animal safari metaphors. Our songs are dynamic and exciting, yet still cohesive and distinctly unique.

1. Shaky Little Thing
2. Ode to Josephine
3. Clever Crocodile
4. The Buttons In Me
5. Pure Medicine
6. The Devil’s Design
7. Sullied Acres
8. Midnight In The Barrio
9. Set You Down

A Successful Conference, New Album, and Upcoming Tours..

Last week we attended the Western Arts Alliance conference in Los Angeles. That’s right: while most of our friends were prancing around the Nevada desert, pretending they’re unicorns and pixies, we donned our fishnets and fedoras and went to rub elbows with many professionals throughout the Performing Arts Industry. 

The conference was successful beyond our wildest imaginations. We booked some amazing gigs and met some incredible people. About six months ago, we were selected by the WAA as ‘Launchpad Artists’, which gave us a scholarship, menorah up, and increased visibility at the conference. This was incredibly effective and we’re so very grateful to be a part of this program. 

that great conference in the sky

Lanyard Graveyard


This is a very exciting time for us. Our new album, ‘Sum and Substance’, is finished! We feel very strongly that it’s our best, most mature work to date, and reflects how much we’ve grown as artists and as humans since releasing our last full length. We’ll be updating our website, photos, and shooting a video to promote the release. New music heading your way soon!

2017 will see new tour dates to some of favorite stomping grounds! We’ll be returning to Montana for a show at The Ellen Theater in January, and will have tour dates in Arizona and Southern California (and likely Alaska) sometime after that. 

Thanks for reading and for following the wild roller coaster ride that defines our careers in music! Many fun things on the horizon. 

Alaskan Tour! Album! Local Shows!

Hello, you lovely misfits.

We are headed back up to Alaska this summer for our NINTH TOUR up there!  Can you believe it?  We can.  We’re already excited for our 10th!  We’ve been hopelessly addicted to the manic summer sunlight and the violent mosquitoes for years now.  Can’t get enough.  Here’s the skinny:

Friday, July 8th – 49th State Brewing Company– 10:30pm
Sat, July 9th – Denali Park Salmon Bake – 11pm
Sunday, July 10th – Fairview Inn (Talkeetna)- 9pm? (Full band birthday show!)
Weds, July 13th – SubZero Microlounge (Anchorage) – 8pm
Thurs, July 14th – TapRoot.  Full band blowout! (Anchorage) – 9pm-ish
Fri, July 15th – Kharacters Alaskan Bar (Homer) – 10pm
Sat, July 16th – Kharacters Alaskan Bar (Homer) – 10pm
Tues, July 19th – Kingfisher Restaurant. (Cooper Landing) 8pm-ish.

In other news, we are excited to tell you that we have begun recording our new album!  We went into Tiny Telephone the other day and had a fantastic time laying some tracks with our engineer, Rob.  Everything went smoothly and it was a whole lot of fun.  We can’t yet tell you a precise release date, or even a vaguely optimistic one, but you can rest assured we will be ramping up celebrations for it so you can find out all about it here.  Eventually.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of our new happy place.

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Until then, you can catch us in San Francisco and around the Bay Area.  Our regular full band shows right now are every 2nd Wednesday of the month at Blondie’s in the Mission (on Valencia, between 16th and 17th) and every 4th Friday of the month at Club Deluxe (near the famous corner of Haight and Ashbury).  Keep an eye on the Tour Dates page for all other performances in and around the Bay Area.

Thanks for stopping by, friends!

–Tumbledown House

 

“Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.” –PRINCE