Then our new videos should be worth a novel. Maybe not Steinbeck, but Dan Brown at least.
With the help of Bryan Matuskey from AZeventVIDEO.com, we have several new videos featuring our incredibly talented backup band. We hope to be playing more and more gigs with other musicians in the future and hope the videos will help us in our goal. Please feel free to forward or repost these vids to anyone you think might be interested.
Triplets of Belleville
In other news, we set off tomorrow for a beautiful summer in Montana, including a side tour in Oregon for a few weeks in July. Check out our shows page for a list of performances. We’re beginning work on our new album, “Postwar Jukebox“, and in general, are very happy, healthy, and slightly stressed out.
We’re extremely excited to announce that we’ve begun working with the dapper fellows over at The Monolith Agency, a booking and publicity agency based out of Anchorage. Working with a booking agency is a huge step forward for us, and possibly a landmark in any artist’s career.
We had a stellar experience in Alaska last summer and are really looking forward to returning and seeing some of our favorite places and people. Here are the dates we’ve secured so far; we’ll probably add a few more as the tour gets closer:
5/26/11 Subzero – Anchorage, AK 9PM
5/27/11 Kharacter’s – Homer, AK 10PM
6/2/11 Taproot – Anchorage, AK 10PM
6/3/11 The Salmon Bake – Denali, AK 10:30PM
6/4/11 The Salmon Bake – Denali, AK 10:30PM
6/5/11 The Fairview Inn – Talkeetna, AK 9PM
6/6/11 House Concert – Anchorage, AK 7:30
(email us for info/directions)
Fri. 2/18 Official showcase, Knoxville Room – 6:30PM
Shedding Dog Music Showcase, Room #1728 – 11:30PM
Concerts In Your Home Showcase, Room #1927 – 1:30AM
For those of you unfamiliar with the Folk Alliance, it’s an annual event that draws hundreds of acts from all of the country to strut their stuff for record labels, booking agents, industry professionals, and each other. It’s four days of madness, all contained in the downtown Marriott hotel in Memphis.
This will be our first time at FAI, and we feel very honored to have been given an official showcase. In addition, we’re currently working with The Monolith Booking Agency on another Alaska tour, slated for May.
All in all, 2011 is looking like a fantastic year for us. We hope the same for you!
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.
We’re cooped up in a cozy little coffee shop in gorgeous Madison, Wisconsin and thought we’d share a few updates from the road. Thus far the tour has gone swimmingly: we’ve played some great shows, met wonderful folks, seen amazing sights, all without catching ourselves on fire! Not once!
As we travel through the Midwest, we’re looking forward to seeing some old friends and making our way to New England, where we’re sure to gorge ourselves on chowda and make fun of people’s accents.
We recently printed some new shirts, designed by yours truly. Fashion experts claim they are “rustically modern; glimpsing into the past while paving the way toward the future” and “a triumph in design and a welcoming addition to any fall wardrobe”. My next door neighbor claims they are “pretty damn cool”. We’ve printed up a number of colors, including navy, chocolate, and charcoal. Here’s the front and back design, modeled by the dead sexy Ms. Howe. Click on the images to see a bigger pic.
I know, right?!? After (read: if) we get off the road we’ll set up an online shop where you’ll be able to purchase these suckers. If you’re interested now, please send us an an email and we’ll work something out.
In other news, brilliant up-and-coming director/filmmaker Nicholas Duarte has produced a short film titled “What you Need” that will feature Tumbledown House’s music. Here is the trailer which features our song “My Papa’s Waltz”. Nick’s a fantastically talented individual and has done short films and ads for such small time clients as Adidas and Heinz.
You can view more of Nick’s videos at his website. I highly recommend the six minute wrestling movie he did for Adidas.
That’s it for now folks. Thanks for tuning in! Check out our shows page to see where our misadventures take us next.
My wonderfully intuitive and insightful girlfriend bought me a Flip video camera for my 30th birthday. This will no doubt prove to be an invaluable tool in documenting Tumbledown House’s adventures, and will also provide hours of ridiculously silly entertainment and countless gigs of worthless footage.
I managed to capture a lot of the aforementioned footage during my 30th birthday weekend, which included an ideal camping spot, voraciously starving mosquitoes, The National Folk Festival (in its last year in Butte, MT), and ended, as all birthdays should, with some drunken karaoke at a shithole bar called ‘The Party Palace’.
As this is my first foray into video editing, it’s still a little rough, but hopefully you’ll notice a glimpse of promise and talent, budding through the choppy and poorly thrown together shots, that just needs to be finely honed and nurtured, like a young Spielberg or Almodovar. Then again, maybe not.
At the beginning of August we leave for our tour in Alaska, which will likely provide tons of source material for our next movie. Stay tuned.
In Montana, June always brings one last good snowstorm. It’s as if mother nature just needs to relieve herself one last time before our two beloved months of solid, sunny weather. Everyone here knows this and is somewhat prepared. We were not, however, prepared for what happened yesterday:
Here’s a pic I found, taken by Andy Meehan, of the hail that fell in our fair town yesterday. Now, it didn’t take much research to find out that this isn’t that uncommon, especially in parts of the country such as Oklahoma or other places I wouldn’t want to live. But, for this Arizonan, I found the experience downright morbid and unsettling.
The hail fell hard, breaking windows, denting cars, and scaring the shit out of dogs throughout Bozeman. Our beloved van, Rocinante, had two of her own windows damaged. Keep in mind, these aren’t “Let’s just run to the auto glass store and replace them” windows.. No, they are much more like “Wow, I haven’t seen these manufactured since the early 90s” RV conversion windows. I believe her resale value just took a dive comparable only to BP’s stock value. Our once pristine trailer is now riddled with dimples (of the unflattering variety) and landlords all over town are facing a barrage of complaints. I wouldn’t be surprised if the damage caused reaches into the millions.
The forecast today and tomorrow calls for more thunderstorms, so I must go now to buy plywood, food supplies, and rosary.
Last week we picked up a documentary on Pete Seeger called ‘The Power of Song‘. It was especially moving, full of great archived footage, and worth recommending to anyone. We were inspired to dig up some old union music and add it to our repertoire. Now, for some of you this song may be familiar, but apparently it wasn’t too well known in the mines I worked in growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Here’s a great video of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing 16 Tons:
There are a couple of hilarious things about this video. The obvious, of course, is that a man with a mustache like that would name his fists ‘iron’ and ‘steel’. Maybe Subscooby said it best in the comments of the Youtube video when he remarked “it seems a little incongruous, a song about back-breaking labour being sung by a guy who looks like he would be more at home sipping martinis while smooth talking Miss Sweden 1955”. Indeed, I couldn’t agree more.
A little bit of research (read: visiting the wikipedia page), revealed that Sixteen Tons was claimed to have been written by Merle Travis, although another man named George S. Davis (who had actually been a coal miner) claimed that he was in fact the true author.
The song refers to the truck system in which workers were paid in vouchers redeemable at the company store instead of cash. This system prevented them from saving any money and forced the laborers into debt bondage. We found this all very fascinating, and there’s a good possibility that more union music can be heard at TDH shows in the future.