After a few wonderful weeks on the road, we’re taking a short break to revitalize our minds and bodies, align our chakras, and focus our Qi by partying really hard, dressing up in silly costumes, and drinking into the early hours of the morning with old friends in Northern California.
Just to recap, we left Montana in mid September and played a few dozen shows, traveling northeast up to Maine, then south on the east coast until we reached D.C. For the most part, the tour was relatively uneventful. We played some great shows, met some great folks, and further explored this gorgeously immense nation. This time around, the effects of the recession were more notable: venue owners seem to be nervous, people aren’t going out as much and seem to be watching their dollars more carefully. We met many musicians who’ve been doing this crazy gig much longer than we have that are currently struggling. So, if you support live music and wish for artists to continue writing creative independent music, go out, get drunk at a bar, and buy a CD, maybe even a T-shirt. Just remember that The White Album couldn’t have been written while John Lennon was working at Dairy Queen or delivering pizzas.
After our tour we headed over to Mountain View, Arkansas for the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance, or SERFA. The conference was held at The Ozark Folk Center, which is a state park dedicated to the preservation and celebration of traditional folk music in the region. It’s an absolutely gorgeous, wooded park with cabins that provide all sorts of modern creature comforts. The conference itself was very educational and productive for us; there were workshops throughout the day and TONS of music every night.
Now, I’ve never thought of Tumbledown House as folk music, but we do have a few ‘folk-esque’ qualities: we tell stories of working class folks in days of old, and our guitar/vocal combo seems to be the standard for folk instrumentation. However, we play amplified music, use effects, and sometimes sing about hookers, which maybe isn’t a topic widely appreciated in conservative southern states.
So, considering all of these things working against us, I was a little surprised when we were offered an official showcase. It could have been my imagination, but I felt a pall settle over the audience when I plugged in my guitar, which I ran through my usual guitar rig consisting of octavers, loopers, and a guitar and bass amplifier. We were starting to wonder what we were doing here and why were granted a showcase.
We were introduced and were very grateful that Kari Estrin, the SERFA president, prefaced by saying that we were a bit unorthodox. After our first song, it was obvious that people appreciated what we were doing. After the show, people were talking about our performance. I’m sure at least a few of the other artists were wondering what the hell we were doing there, but the majority of them were extremely supportive. We left feeling incredibly inspired and invigorated. A few days later we were notified that we were granted an official showcase at the International Folk Alliance conference, held in Memphis in February. This is a HUGE deal for us, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Whilst on the road, we filmed some footage from a house concert in Newton, Massachusetts to use in a video contest for concertsinyourhome.com. We’d like to thank my sister Julie and her wife Susana for their work in helping us put the event together, and Karyn and Joel for opening up their wonderful home to us. Here’s the vid I made:
Our next show is at The Ukiah Brewing Co. on Saturday, November 6th. From there we’ll be traveling back to Prescott, Arizona, finding a place to live, and once again starting anew in a new town. We’re very excited for 2011 and hope that we all have a fantastic year.