Friday, May 29, 2009

Review: Mike Herrera's Tumbledown

Mike Herrera's Tumbledown is a side project for the frontman of the punk rock band MxPx. His self-titled debut is described as "Pop-Punk-a-Billy", so I wasn't too sure what to expect when I popped the CD into my player. Turns out that it sounds like what the Soggy Bottom Boys (the fictional bluegrass band from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?") may have recorded if they formed today rather than during the 1930s.

Tumbledown is a unique mash-up of punk, rockabilly, and country rock that may be likened to a collaboration between MxPx and Hank Williams. It is not something I would pick off the music menu routinely, but this style is refreshing to have every now and then. I don't think anyone could have pulled off the idea with greater success than Herrera. Herrera's voice is remarkably adaptive and makes this unusual blend of genres really work, at times with amazing results. He reminds me of a vibrant version of Mike Ness (Social Distortion). Lyrically, Herrera channels a lot of George Thorogood, with plenty of songs about hard luck, fightin' and drinkin' - if you ever need a good drinking soundtrack, "Tumbledown" more than qualifies. The energy and intrigue that imbues this project keeps it interesting, and the guitar work is extraordinary.

Check out Tumbledown if you like Stray Cats, Mojo Nixon, Beat Farmers, Social Distortion, or if you have a musically adventurous spirit that wonders what John Denver might have sounded like if he were adopted by The Ramones. I bet you are curious now, so go get a six-pack and check them out now.

iPOD-worthy: 4, 5, 8

Mike Herrera's Tumbledown on MySpace. Official site.

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