Tumbling Bones

NEW & Traditional American Music From Portland MAINE

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Biography

Tumbling Bones is an ensemble of young men inspired by old music. Drawing on bluegrass, pre-war folk, and a bit of the contemporary rock ‘n’ roll the guys were reared on, they make their music with nothing but acoustic instruments, tap-shoes, and—most of all—their voices.

 

Founding members Pete Winne (guitar, percussive dance) and Jake Hoffman (banjo, upright bass) met ten years ago when they were assigned each other as freshman year college roommates. Together they delved into the roots of rock ’n’ roll and formed string band The Powder Kegs, with whom they won an on-air contest in 2007 on A Prairie Home Companion on NPR. In 2011 Winne and Hoffman founded Tumbling Bones as a roots group with singing as the centerpiece and arrangements inspired by bluegrass gospel, jug band music, and classic R&B. Two years later, after moving to Portland, Maine, they joined forces with songwriter Kyle Morgan (guitar, upright bass). The new line up allowed the boys to do what they love best—sing in three-part harmony—and to forge a distinct sound combining Morgan’s voice and compositions with their collective passion for traditional American folk music.

 

2014 is proving to be the band’s most eventful year so far. They were recently selected for the American Music Abroad program, a U.S. State Department-backed cultural ambassadorship that will send the band to a few developing nations to teach, perform, and collaborate with local musicians over the course of a month in the coming year. Alumnae of the program include other folk ensembles such as The Lumineers, Della Mae, and The Boston Boys.

 

This Spring also saw the release of their debut full-length album Loving a Fool: a collection of original songs and traditional numbers (with the Tumbling Bones stamp). The record crosses both stylistic and chronological boundaries and includes full-steam ahead bluegrass, a ghostly suicide ballad, classic country, western swing, and rockabilly. Through stripped down songs and a cappella numbers the band reveals an anti-auto-tune attitude and reverence for old recordings.

 

They are touring the album this spring and summer in Ireland (April), Germany (May), England (May), and the east coast United States (June - August). Live shows feature a cross-section of the album material punctuated with Appalachian clog dancing.

 

"Tumbling Bones gives us everything – musicality, imagination, virtuosity, and that incalculable component that pushes their performances to new heights."- Fred Knittel, WXPN radio, Philadelphia

 

 “Bluegrass that doesn’t seek to mimic, but forges a path that’s full of rich harmonies, underpinned by an undeniably modern approach to arrangement”
- The Irish Times

 

"Listening to their music makes me want to jump up and dance and I can’t dance. Take one listen to Loving a Fool and you’ll feel like you’re front and center at the Grand Ole Opry.  Yes, they’re that good."

- Kathy Sands-Boehmer, No Depression