Tumbler (the most important music is the music you make for yourself)
Album Review: Come to the Edge by Tumbler
Release date: July 26, 2016
Styles: Alternative rock/folk rock
Harry Grace/vocals and guitar
Richard Grace/vocals and guitar
Dave Needham/guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Production: Dark Horse Studio, Epsom
Come to the Edge by Tumbler is a truly unique album and each song inspire thought and a natural need to listen to frequently. The band Tumbler is made up of three generations of musicians, The Boldness of Youth, giving way and fond memories to Adulthood which transforms into the Wisdom of the Golden Age, remarkably sound in concept, creation and creating an album that tells stories within stories, some of dreams come true, self-doubt, lost loves and more.
Tumbler, being from the other side of the pond, does not fall into the normal place of The British Invasion, yet, the sound is very strongly, in my opinion, influenced by Bands like The Kinks, vocals liken unto Ray and Dave Davies, youthful dreamy lyrics like The Cure or The Big Geraniums. This group has been descried as Alternative Rock or Folk Rock, but I would see it more as Storytelling to the international language of music, which passes all borders.
“Popish” but not “pop”, steady in rhythms and eloquent, perfect verses timed to hit that emotional apex in the listener’s heart, this is some3thing that needs to be felt, the lifelong lessons. In one person, memories fade of our youth, thinking we are immortal, no need to worry about anything, in adulthood, we tend to focus on work and future, losing some of our spirit in the process, in our later years we spend more time in regret and lament of things unseen and undone. In Tumbler, we can experience it all, this “Generational’ group can weave song and story into one living piece of art.
Tumbler was born two years ago, when a lifetime of family music and weekend kitchen concerts turned into something more. Harry started taking the music seriously. Dave happened along. A whole bunch of songs left the kitchen, took flight and turned into an album. We called it ‘You Said’. Reaction was gratifyingly positive. In a world that already has over 37 million songs, it turns out there was room for a few more. In honesty though it didn’t change anything, we’d already started on a second album before the first was released.
The thing is, you can’t help learning. Through the course of making ‘You Said’ we discovered some useful stuff and developed some new ideas. Out of all the material available we began to understand what songs suited Tumbler best. Meantime Harry was growing as a writer and performer.
‘Come to the Edge’ emerged out of all of this. Now it’s done we hope you have as much fun listening to it as we had making it.
A bit about each artist and their contributions to this soundtrack of lifetimes:
Long ago, back in a different world up in industrial north-east England, the plan was to write songs and build a life in music. But things don’t always work out as planned. Out on the road, the lady he loved hit rock bottom and nearly died. So, they headed for home. Marriage, kids and a proper job ensued. It lasted nearly twenty years.
A second marriage lasted ten years and produced another three sons. Ex-wives became friends, six sons grew close, and songs and guitars held family together. Weekends with dad became the scene of kitchen concerts, singing together and playing material written over the years. Four out of the six lads learned guitar. Jim and Harry started writing too.
Songs may come from within but to live they need to be shared. Maybe not always profound or important, sometimes their job is just to celebrate the joy of being alive. Other times though, when life brings troubles or fears, songs can bring solace like old friends.
Fifth of six sons, Harry always had stage presence. As a little kid at school he was the one who didn’t just know all his lines at school plays and concerts, but also knew everyone else’s and helped prompt when they stumbled.
He learned the guitar early and wrote his first song when he was eight. As a teenager music became central to his life. His brothers got used to hearing him sing around the house pretty much all the time. Spare money went on guitars – first a six string, then an acoustic base, then a bright shiny national guitar, then electrics. He started playing in bands – bass, lead vocals, drums, whatever needed doing.
Tumbler came about when Harry suggested recording some of the vast collection of his dad’s songs. Getting into the studio added a new dimension to his writing and performing. For Harry, songs come easy if the content is there. Sometimes that spark arrives from friendships or relationships. Other times there’s a more playful genesis, like telling the story of Harry Potter through a song, or the time he wrote a song with his brother Jim about alien invaders stealing our thoughts while we were asleep “to fuel their machines”.
The search for meaningful content inspires endless enquiry. Big questions of philosophy increasingly occupy Harry’s interest and look set to fuel his future writing direction. However big the ideas get though; Harry will always be first and foremost a born performer and entertainer.
Dave brings an extraordinary array of talents. A self-taught musician and brilliant guitarist, he tours as lead guitar with big names like David Essex. But he has also always had a passion for the studio, and over the years has built his own business producing and recording for others.
Dark Horse Studio in Epsom is in what used to be a stable block. Dave did the conversion himself. It offers every kind of state-of-the-art equipment, much of it put together by Dave. Out of these homely surroundings he has produced gold discs, worked with a string of household names and makes stunning music.
For Tumbler, Dave is a true catalyst. Always the song is the starting point (“without a song it’s all just muzak”) but for Dave the big interesting journey is from raw song to finished record. How to capture the essence? How to maintain interest, energy, momentum? How to balance every individual part?
Such things can’t be taught; they must be felt. But they also need knowledge. There probably isn’t an artist or band out there that Dave hasn’t taken the time to listen to, learn from and grow through.
Dave’s other talent is getting the best out of people. Every artist he works with gets encouragement and professional respect. He’s on their side. He helps them achieve more than they thought they could. With Tumbler, he gets to relax and each one of these talents gets to shine. – Also, he keeps tortoises.
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