Tumbledown House brings ‘Speakeasy’ music to Homer

By Randi Somers
Homer Tribune

Tumbledown House

Tumbledown House

Billed as “Modern Speakeasy Music,” the Tumbledown House musicians, Gillian Howe and Tyler Ryan Miller, are traveling to Alaska from their home in San Francisco again this month for their fifth Alaskan tour, with four performances booked in Homer.
On their web page they write: “As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to climb, we begin preparing for our fifth Alaskan Tour. We can’t wait to see all of our Alaskan friends, play with some of our favorite musicians and perform in some of our favorite venues.”
Called a “Sultry Song-writing Duo” they usually recruit other musicians to join in their performance, and they know they will find plenty of willing talent here to join them on stage.
Here are the song titles from their two albums:
Midnight at The Openly Lewd (intro), Right Hand Man, Sweaty Tennessee, Brothers McGhee, Poor Man’s Song, My Papa’s Waltz, Old Potosi, St. James Infirmary, After A Fire, Jug O’ Rossi, Windy City, Little Castaway, The Thief, Master Cherry intro, Master Cherry Finds A Strange Piece of Wood, The Race Track Song,One Mistake Will Do, T-Bone Cologne, The Help and The Great Escape.
A Bozeman Montana reviewer summed up one album:
“Fables and Falsehoods is the brilliant, sepia-toned soaked offering from Tumbledown House that starts off like a black and white silent film and keeps rollicking along into a colorful tapestry of clever tales of woe and object lessons wrapped in a crushed-velvet punch. Gillian Howe and Tyler Ryan Miller, the duo who are Tumbledown House, spared no expense; left no rock unturned and climbed every mountain high to unearth a sweet, tasty, little gem of an album.
Lyrically speaking, the turns of phrase, puns and stories told are intriguing and clever — like the nod to Pinocchio on “Master Cherry Finds a Strange Piece of Wood,” or the obscure reference to the jazz innovator Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke in “Windy City,” which is the same song sporting the lyrics “dirty feet” and “kettle corn” — interesting in a 1920’s, Jazz Age kind of way. My favorite in this collection of lyrical acrobatics is contained in the song “One Mistake Will Do.”
Miller’s production work and talents on this album remind me of going to a steakhouse and having a perfect meal with impeccable service to boot! The musicians bring forth a vibe and stout musicianship that conjures up images of dancing girls, revelers and assorted shady characters, as flappers and gangsters parade to their soundtrack.
Howe supplies the narration with her pipes. Her vocal work is pure artistry; gorgeous in delivery and flow, dazzlingly original. Sometimes her voice is throaty and thick, like the taste of chocolate late at night; other times, it’s well-toned, muscular and breathy like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. And there are moments when her voice rises like fire roaring from a white-hot furnace, launching the lyrics into a meaningfulness which carries the music along and wraps around it in a sultry grand serpentine fashion; bringing the arrangements, tempos, verses and choruses into a splendid mix of camp and pomp that is both chillingly deadly and warmly seductive in the same breath. The song “T-Bone Cologne” is a great slice of what I describe. Gillian’s performance, far above solid, captures your attention again and again throughout. It’s enough to make the Rocky Mountains do the Charleston.”
They play Friday, May 24 and Saturday May 25 at Kharacter’s Bar on Pioneer Avenue. Both shows start at 10 p.m. Then Sunday and Wednesday they perform at AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse on Bunnell Street. There is no cover charge at either club.

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Posted by on May 22nd, 2013 and filed under Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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