The Tumbleweed Wanderers, a rock ’n’ roll and Americana band with roots in Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco and the surrounding areas, are experiencing change of scenery and lushness of the country as it tumbles and wanders from state to state performing at some incredible venues.
Its 2014 tour began with summer outdoor concerts and festivals at the High Sierra Festival in Quincy and the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival in Bristol, Tenn., where it had a chance to jam with hundreds of fellow musicians and friends all under the same sky and accommodations.
Tahoe Onstage caught up with lead band members, Rob Fidel, (vocals/guitar/banjo) and Jeremy Lyon (vocals/guitar), before a performance in Boulder, Colo. Members told us that they enjoy outdoor summer concert settings and these two festivals have been their tour highlights, so far.
They have many more venues to touch in Salt Lake City, Seattle and Portland before they land back at one of their favorite places to be and venues to perform, Lake Tahoe on Friday, Oct, 3, in the Crystal Bay Casino. They have many fond memories and experiences in the Sierra and are looking forward to the fresh air and sharing honest music with Lake Tahoe friends.
Rob Fidel and Jeremy Lyon say inspiration comes from many sources including being outside, randomly performing on the streets and staying connected with people. It is important for them to write and perform music that is real and honest.
“People know what is real and what they enjoy,” Lyon said.
Fidel chimed in that the feel, groove, and reaction of the audience keep it relative and relatable.
Lyon began playing guitar at age 7, had a band in middle school and started singing in his college years. He and Fidel collaborate and write the songs for the band and can explain where and how every song was derived.
Fidel said he fell in love with music while in college and knows that this is the only thing he wants to do. “You do what you want in life,” he said.
The two agree music plays the lead in their lives and they wouldn’t want it any other way.
When asked what other passions they have, they both mentioned they enjoy family and friend time and look forward to recharging and spending the holidays with them before they start their next album’s promotional tour in 2015.
The Tumbleweed Wanderers has recorded the basic tracks of a full 11 song album at the same studio used by its favorite band, My Morning Jacket. The new album includes a two-year collection of collaborative music that captures raw, expanded, developed, psychedelic and maybe even a bit darker and denser due to the time they had to layer and capture their unique sound, Fidel and Lyon said.
The title and album will be released early next year, however, the Tumbleweed Wanderers have performed many of the new songs from this album on this tour. The first single is called “Bad Blood.” Every song Fidel and Lyon write has an inspirational beginning, and this song is no exception. Written by Lyon while visiting his folks one day while sitting at the piano, he started to write and play with the melody, and it took off from there.
“It’s one of the darkest songs on the album,” he said.
When asked what it feels like to be on tour and performing at all these great venues, Lyon said, “It’s a mind trip!” He remembers their beginnings of performing on the city pavements outside the venues they are now inside taking the stage.
“Our hard work is paying off and I think of where we were just two years ago, to where we are now,” he said.
We asked how it feels before taking stage and if there is any nervousness and Fidel replied, “It’s like a shot of espresso. Playing in local places and surrounded by friends and family makes it easy and fun. The only thing that can make me nervous is the unpredictable factors. There is that extra 10 percent you can’t plan, like an amp blowing out, but also good things can happen that can change your life.”
That is exactly what Tumbleweed Wanderers did for two individuals attending its concert in the Fox Theater in Oakland two years ago. Rob said they received an email a few months ago from a woman who requested the band to play at her wedding. She wrote, meeting for the first time at that Tumbleweed Wanderers concert and dancing to the music with her future fiancé changed the course of their lives and attributes their connection to the music, dancing and that special night at the Fox Theater.
The Tahoe Onstage phone interview with Rob and Jeremy ended by Rob giving a shout out to Tahoe, “We are excited to come to Tahoe. Be prepared for some good ol’ rock ’n’ roll and lots of movement. We encourage dancing!”
The Tumbleweed Wanderers
When: 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
Cover charge: free