Tumbleweed Wanderers’ infectious harmonies quickly gain widespread attention.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
For some bands, finding the right producer can be an endless trek. Not the Tumbleweed Wanderers. After visiting touring indie rocker John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco, their search was over.
“We could automatically sense positive vibes,” says singer/banjo player/guitarist Rob Fidel. “Being in the studio can be a really stressful environment and he made a comfortable atmosphere for us.”
Guitarist Jeremy Lyon adds another key detail: “He also likes to embrace weirdness.”
Vanderslice – whose past clients include Death Cab for Cutie and The Magnetic Fields – also records using the old-school analog-to-tape method, yielding a more natural sound that falls in line with the aesthetic the Wanderers were going for on their full-length debut.
In addition to fields of standout instrumentation, highlighted by harmonica and Hammond organ, So Long is a symposium of harmonies that sources its influence from both new (Fleet Foxes) and classic (Crosby, Stills and Nash) styles.
“The rich harmonies add a lot and really help fill out the sound, which I think is the reason we got into doing them,” Lyon says.
Fidel chimes in: “I think harmony, especially in folk music, is coming back.”
The blues-funk expedition “Roll With the Times,” comes complete with a horn section, call-and-response vocals, and Sharon-Jones-and-Dap-Kings-style, get-out-your-seat-and-dance orchestration. The album bookend “Freedom Town” brings an R&B, Boyz II Men essence – complete with finger snaps – completely different from any of the other tunes before it. It works really well.
The Weekly caught the Wanderers as they were driving from Colorado to San Francisco to play all three days of the Outside Lands Festival – a week before their Friday show at Alternative Café – alongside Stevie Wonder, Metallica and Jack White.
“I don’t expect all 100,000 people will come see us,” keyboardist Patrick Glynn says, “but it will be the best opportunity for exposure that we’ve ever had.”
TUMBLEWEED WANDERERS and LIA ROSE perform at 8pm Friday, Aug. 17, at the Alternative Cafe, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. $10. 583-0913.