By March 3, 2022 Read More →

UnpluggedView: Tumbleweeds

UnpluggedView: Tumbleweeds
by Aaron Rowan

I binged my way through Amazon’s ‘Jack Reacher’ series last month. I admire the character, that heroic hulking hobo who wanders around the country at will with no permanent address. In the show he comes to a small town because of a local musician he wants to learn more about, and, well, it reflects the kind of existence I’d love to have, living full-time on the road exploring this great big land and the music it has to offer. While I hold onto that dream, let’s meet some good people who actually manage to live it.

For the last decade, The Rough & Tumble – multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler – have been rambling back and forth across the country, bringing their ramshackle style of dumpster-folk/thrift store-Americana to audiences wherever they will have them. In the early days, they were just two friends playing music together at a North Carolina coffee shop inside a permanently parked double-decker bus every Friday night. Any songwriter will tell you it’s maddening for their songs to be relegated to background noise. You have two options when this happens: blend into the background or sing louder. The Rough & Tumble chose to sing louder. They are songwriters and storytellers who have their listeners in stitches one minute and falling apart at the seams the next. As Scott & Mallory put it: joy and sorrow, comedy and dramas all have the same punchline, it’s just the setup that’s different. In 2015, the bandmates-turned-spouses decided to hit the road. They sold everything they could, bought a camper, packed up their instruments, and rode off into the endless sunset, touring relentlessly ever since. The duo was voted The Listening Room Network’s 2019 Artist of the Year, and their song ‘The Hardest Part’ won the Independent Music Awards Best Americana Song of 2019.

Now, the pair are ready to bring their rich Americana sound to Modesto after a two-year setback. March 25, The Rough & Tumble are the features at my ‘Friday Night Folk Flight’ series at The Dragonfly Art For Life. It’s half listening-room concert, half a paint-and-listen event, but the creative energy in this space is always crackling. The duo take the stage at 7:30 pm and as always it’s a $10 admission plus extra fees for anyone who feels like connecting with their own artistic side.

March also marks the start of what I hope will be a shift back towards heavily featuring original Americana/folk songwriters. On 3/11 we have Us4Love, local winners of the ‘Best Band Composition’ at the Valley Talent Project and 4-time MAMA Award nominees; and on 3/18, it’s BanjerDan, banjo player & multi-instrumentalist with witty and entertaining original songs rooted in straight-ahead bluegrass and branching out to include folk, country, blues, oldies, and other styles. If you appreciate original songwriting, don’t miss these evenings of sound and color. Reserve seats at or 209-543-5306.Intimate performances. Infinite playlist. MODESTO UNPLUGGED.

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