Fans of MxPx are either going to love or hate frontman Mike Herrera’s alt-country side project, Tumbledown. I don’t really see an in-between, because it’s so vastly different from anything he’s known for. Put that aside, though, and Mike Herrera’s Tumbledown is a solid, enjoyable record. I’m not typically a country person, but this strikes me in the same way that Bright Eyes’ shift to country in Cassadaga did. It’s refreshing to see an artist step out of their mold and create something unexpected.
In the typical country fashion, all the songs on Mike Herrera’s Tumbledown have a story. The song “Butcher Of San Antone” is by far the best example. It’s a grungy tale about a character that is essentially the Western version of Sweeney Todd. Their single is “Homeward Bound,” which is twangy and full of rock influences, and showcases Herrera’s unique voice. From the lyrics influences such as Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are evident, yet it’s obvious that this project was meant to be lighthearted: Beer and women are common themes throughout. Herrera is backed by Jack Parker on lead guitar, Marshall Trotland on stand-up bass, and Harley Trotland on drums and cymbals. The stand-up bass is anything but subtle, and perfectly accents the bluegrass/country feel. A mandolin makes an appearance on a few songs, and combined with folksy guitar solos, each song is thoroughly danceable in true punk form.
Through Tumbledown, Herrera has successfully captured the punk rock energy of MxPx and turned it old school, and the product is a taste of country for the non-believers.
In A Word: Thirsty