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Fables and Falsehoods , the second album from sultry songwriting duo Tumbledown House, enlists the talents of 10 other musicians (including three horn players from New Orleans Dirty Dozen Brass Band), for a whimsical collection of songs tinged with 1920 s big band and dark tango.
The new album explores diverse subject matter (one song is based on the original story of Pinocchio written by Carlo Collodi in 1883, another describes the only consecrated shrine dedicated to unrepentant sinners, which still stands in Tucson, Arizona) and showcases the duos talent for creating something vintage and familiar, yet refreshing, distinct, and exciting.
Partying Like it's the 1920's 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 phase, 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.
Tyler Ryan 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! Ladies and gents, this is how it s done. The tremendous talents of Chris Cundy, Adam Greenberg, Jake Fleming, Raquel Kober, Tom Murphy, Leslie Bahn, and Gregory Davis, Sean Lehmann, Roger Lewis and of course, Tyler, 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.
Gillian 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 s 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, 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 great slice of what I describe. Gillian s performance, far above solid, captures your attention again and again throughout the album. It s enough to make the Rocky Mountains do the Charleston. --The Bozone
Tumbledown House is the duo of Gillian Howe (vocals) and Tyler Ryan Miller (jazz guitar). The press release that accompanied this disc described the music as gritty saloon jazz; That pretty much sums things up. These two folks--along with a host of friends--present smoky jazz/pop tunes with plenty of instrumental improvisation in the background. Fables and Falsehoods is the second full-length release from Gillian and Tyler. They're taking music seriously--since the release of their debut album they've played around 250 shows covering some 20 odd states. It's hard not to dig the cool loose sound of Miller's groovy guitar mixed with Gillian's sultry and inviting voice.
The pair have a winning sound and style and they're obviously playing the kinda stuff that people want to hear. Ten classic cuts here including Windy City, The Thief, One Mistake Will Do, and The Great Escape. --lmnop.com